Date of Conferral







Kathleen D. Barclay


AbstractAfrica has the highest rate of women entrepreneurs worldwide, and women in Nigeria outnumber men in entrepreneurial endeavors and make contributions to economic growth. Yet, women entrepreneurs in Africa and Nigeria face barriers that restrict business growth and hinder opportunities for sustaining profitable businesses. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore the strategies female entrepreneurs in Nigeria use to overcome barriers to sustaining profitable entrepreneurial business ventures. The conceptual framework for the study was based on integration of the 5M gender-aware entrepreneurship theory–market, money, management, motherhood, meso, and macro environment–and women empowerment framework. Data was collected by semistructured telephone interviews with 15 purposively sampled female entrepreneurs in Nigeria who have sustained their businesses for 5 years. Transcribed interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. Five thematic categories that encompassed 13 themes emerged. The study findings showed that Nigerian female entrepreneurs used collaboration, mentorship, innovative financing, technology, mind-shift, persistence, innovation, networking with businessmen, education, and management skills as strategies and processes to overcome barriers to sustaining profitable business ventures. The result of this study may provide an original perspective to gender and entrepreneurial literature and practice. Positive social change implications include policy initiatives towards cultural reforms with provision for funding, training, and mentoring programs to empower female entrepreneurs to overcome barriers to business success.