This study aims to shed light on women’s entrepreneurship in Turkey by focusing on the profile of women entrepreneurs, key drivers behind their decision to establish their own business, challenges they face while initiating and running their business and support mechanisms for women entrepreneurs.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted by ten successful women entrepreneurs in Turkey. Survey forms were also sent to the representatives of four different organizations that support women entrepreneurship. Three completed survey forms were received back from these organizations. Four key areas that originate from the research question (i.e. profile, drivers, problems and support mechanisms) have constituted the basis of the semi-structured interview guide and that of thematic analysis.
The results have revealed that there are important similarities among Turkish women entrepreneurs with respect to their personality traits or characteristics. Successful women entrepreneurs in Turkey were described as being persistent and determined, patient, mentally strong and visionary and innovative. The interviews also revealed that exploiting unique opportunities in the business environment, working for the good of society and being independent in one’s decisions and actions are the major factors behind Turkish women entrepreneurs’ decision to become entrepreneurs. On the other hand, finding and managing capital emerged as the most important problem for women entrepreneurs in Turkey despite the existence of various support mechanisms. Finally, the findings showed that the majority of women entrepreneurs in Turkey use traditional ways (i.e. governmental and non-governmental support mechanisms and banks) to get financial support. Family members and business partners are the other sources of financial support, which may also provide moral support to women entrepreneurs.
The generalizability of the findings is limited, as the study is exploratory, rather than causal in nature.
This study provides certain recommendations to the interested parties, such as policymakers, to create a proper economic, social, political, cultural and legal environment for women in which they can freely and willingly go into and run business.
The paper fills an important gap in the literature by systematically reviewing the extant literature on women entrepreneurship in Turkey and combining and comparing the prior findings with qualitative data derived from the interviews with ten successful women entrepreneurs.
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