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Grassroots women-led micro-entrepreneurship in Minas Gerais: Mapping of the barriers and action strategies

According to the World Economic Forum, globally only 1 in 3 small, medium, and large business are owned by women. Latin America & the Caribbean have the highest rates, with 50% of business owned by women. Yet women entrepreneurs, especially those from marginalised communities often feel that they are not adequately supported (Ariffin et al., 2020). In the context of socio-economic vulnerability, entrepreneurship makes it possible for women entrepreneurs to improve their health and provide better food for their families (Hanson, 2009).

However, barriers such as lack of access to professional qualifications, finance and networking, legal discrimination and family responsibilities emphasise the importance of focusing on the context rather than the individual (Moreno-Gavara et al., 2019; Rudhumbu et al., 2020). In this sense, support actions and guidance material are indispensable, especially when made available free of charge. In Brazil, there is not enough research on women entrepreneurs 'on the margins' of the political and economic system.

This project funded by the FUNDECC - Fundação de Desenvolvimento Científico e Cultural (Minas Gerais – Brazil) is a partnership between the Universidade Federal de Lavras, Universidade Federal da Uberlandia and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (King’s). It aims to identify the barriers and needs of micro-entrepreneurial and aspiring women in peripheral regions of the state of Minas Gerais, in order to co-produce guidance and support material for women-led micro-entrepreneurship, in collaboration with SEBRAE, marginalised micro-entrepreneurial women and financial agents. Interviews and focus groups will be held with women, SEBRAE and financial agents, in order to map needs and barriers, analyse existing strategies, and identify potential areas of support for the empowerment and sustainability of peripheral female micro-entrepreneurship.

As a result, the aim is to enable the co-production of guidance and information materials to improve the synergy between women, SEBRAE and financial agents. The study aims to contribute to empowering micro-entrepreneurs from peripheral Minas Gerais by providing free guidance and support material. Furthermore, it aims to fill a gap in the literature and promote the survival and sustainability of small businesses, as well as potential transformation in local communities.

Project status: Ongoing