McElwee, Gerard and Meaton, Julia (2017) Barriers to rural women entrepreneurs in Oman. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research. ISSN 1355-2554

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the barriers confronted by rural women entrepreneurs in Oman. The study focusses on women living in rural and mountain areas who aspire to move beyond their traditional family roles. It identifies several problems including accessing funding for new ventures and innovative activities, a lack of skills-based training and limited family support.

Based on 57 responses to a semi-structured questionnaire, and face to face qualitative interviews with ten women entrepreneurs. Quantitative responses are evaluated and ranked in terms of their mean score, standard deviation and the intensity of each factor shaping rural women entrepreneurship. Five qualitative cases are presented.

Although Oman is arguably one of the more progressive Arab countries regarding gender equality and women empowerment, the findings exhibit socio-cultural concerns which hamper women entrepreneurial venture creations and their subsequent success. The findings of the research are discussed using the three dimensions of entrepreneurship identified by Wenneker and Thurik (1999). The three dimensions are: conditions leading to entrepreneurship, characteristics of entrepreneurship and outcomes of entrepreneurship.

Practical implications:
Suggests that Omani policymakers should consider how women entrepreneurs can be better supported so that they can diversify household income by starting new ventures while simultaneously contributing to the socio-economic development of the region. A number of suggestions on how this can be achieved are presented.

Research on rural women entrepreneurship in the context of an Arab country is scarce and the study can provide an overview of the obstacles and the support required for the development of the rural women entrepreneurship in this region.

pdfOmanwomen5th June2017.pdf - Accepted Version

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