Unveiling the path to success: an exploratory study on migrant women entrepreneurs


Migrant Entrepreneurship
women entrepreneurship
individual level
contextual level
multiple case approach

How to Cite

Floris, M., & Atzori, R. (2024). Unveiling the path to success: an exploratory study on migrant women entrepreneurs. Piccola Impresa Small Business, (3). https://doi.org/10.14596/pisb.3881
Received 2023-05-31
Accepted 2024-01-27
Published 2024-04-15


Purpose. Building on the theoretical embeddedness construct, this study stresses the joint role that contextual and individual factors play in successful migrant women entrepreneurship, uncovering which factors can sustain migrant women entrepreneurship.

Design/methodology/approach. This paper conducts a multi-case study of a sample of 4 successful migrant women entrepreneurs.

Findings. Results show that when the context denotes resistance towards migrant women entrepreneurs, soft skills, especially "self-esteem" and "self-efficacy" can balance the negative effect of context. This mismatch between personal expectations and received stimulus from context produces a cognitive response that follows an individual perspective based on “self-investment”. While, when the context is perceived as favorable to the migrant women entrepreneurship development, individual factors seem to amplify the contextual factors, creating a centrifugal reaction. In this case, personal expectations and received stimuli from the context match and generate a cognitive response that follows a business perspective based on conceiving firm development strategies.

Practical and Social Implications. Findings can help migrant women entrepreneurs and practitioners (consultants and other entrepreneurs) to identify the main factors that can sustain or inhibit entrepreneurial behaviors, by anticipating possible concerns and issues and, above all, trying to remove potential context barriers. Moreover, findings call into action also policymakers to promote ad hoc entrepreneurship education programs to strengthen the individual level, to contrast possible adverse effects due to hostile contexts.

Originality of the study. Previous studies have investigated the context and the individual levels separately, while this study argues that the two levels coexist and deserve to be jointly analyzed. Additionally, this study focuses on successful migrant women entrepreneurs, considered enlightening because they are embedded in multiple contexts: the country of origin and the host country. By uncovering how they perceive the context (friendly vs. hostile), results show different cognitive responses to overcome difficulties and achieve success.



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