Entrepreneurship, the answer to Balsall Heath’s female housing resident community.

Sundas Hussain

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Objectives: Positioning entrepreneurship as an avenue to employment for social-housing female residents, of longstanding unemployment, this paper is part of on-going research in Balsall Health, Birmingham, UK. This paper seeks to represent a housing association’s unemployed female residents’ views and support needs of earning an income through entrepreneurship, and explores challenges faced throughout their everyday lives. The paper presents early findings, as this study is part of a wider area of research, reveals an innovative and fresh research design methodology and aims to contribute to the joining up our understanding of the fragmented parts of entrepreneurship, through a particular focus on support needs of female social-housing residents. Prior work: ‘Entrepreneurship is not a field known for its consensus’ (Audretsch et al., 2007:3) and as the field is fragmented (Keating and Higgins, 2016) it becomes essential to research and fill these gaps. The scholarly literature, encompassing entrepreneurship, addressed includes female entrepreneurship and ethnic minority entrepreneurship. Some of the core ideologies that emerge include the highly established gender superiority debate in entrepreneurship (Narayanasamy et al., 2011), where female entrepreneurship contends that entrepreneurship is masculinised and replete with male researchers (Marlow, 1996). It is further identified that ethnic minorities face comparable challenges to women within entrepreneurship, such as origin, faith, culture and family bonds (Clark and Drinkwater, 2000; Fadahunsi et al., 2000; Heilman and Chen, 2003; Ahl, 2006; Kwong et al., 2009). Although there is much research related to housing associations in the UK, focus is on them as an organisation in relation to its residents or employment issues. Yet there are no studies found which examine entrepreneurship for their residents as an alternative. This research looks to give precedence not to the housing association but to its female residents. Method: The paper presents a qualitative research design methodology which adopts a narrative data collection technique, digital storytelling; a powerful mode of expression that can augment and empower a writer’s voice (Kajder et al., 2005; Gazarian, 2010). As digital storytelling is a fairly new and innovative research technique, it incorporates semi-structured interviews, visual imagery and audio data to ultimately allow a gendered analysis of entrepreneurship theories. Amongst the capturing of the research objectives: expressing the voice of these female social housing residents, the viability of entrepreneurship and exploration of their prospects alongside the study of existing local support in developing and assisting them through entrepreneurship. The research methodology then discusses grounded theory analysis. In particular Corbin’s constructivist grounded theory, as the debate centres on Charmaz’s stance that it is impossible for the researcher to approach/undertake enquiry truly unbiased; inevitably there are always preconceived notions (2008). Finally, the five-step approach, used by Bang et. al (2013), to be employed is presented. The grounded theory analysis allows theory to be derived from the data which ties into Raes’s practice-based theory (2004) for theory development. Results: As this research is in its data collection phase, early indicators are derived from this study; such as invaluable support provided by local community organisations to these women, tackling mental and physical health, which is necessary in preparing them to enter entrepreneurship and ultimately accessing pre and post start-up support; although there are no solid findings at this stage. It is anticipated that one of the final outcomes of the research is to retain practical legality, in addition to theoretical, to enable the housing association, Accord, who are the stakeholders of this study, to support their unemployed female residents into work through entrepreneurship. Originality/value: This paper seeks to contribute early indicators of the necessary entrepreneurial support for female social housing residents through the exploration of social justice, economic development and growth, amongst starting to formulate an outline of framework for Accord. Its contribution to academia includes an innate understanding of inclusive entrepreneurship support from a gender perspective and recommend prospective solutions to their support needs. Finally, the paper’s main innovation not only addresses micro level aspects of entrepreneurial support, but provides directions for meso level such as institutions for business support and changing ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventInstitute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship 2017: ‘Borders’, prosperity and entrepreneurial responses - Ireland, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Nov 20179 Nov 2017
Conference number: 40


ConferenceInstitute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship 2017
Abbreviated titleISBE 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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