Document Type : Original Article
Sari Branch, Islamic Azad University
Natural Resources and Watershed Management of Golestan Province
Purpose- Women as half of the human resources in rural areas play an important role in entrepreneurship development in rural communities. The reinforcement of rural women entrepreneurship is an effective approach for two development indices, that is., increasing employment and reducing unemployment. So, given the significance of the sustainability of small and medium-sized businesses of women in the rural economy and rural development, it is important to identify the factors influencing the sustainability of the entrepreneurship process among them. In this respect, this study aimed to explore the factors affecting the sustainability of the business of the entrepreneur women who were members of rural microcredit funds in Mazandaran province.
Design/Methodology/Approach- The research was a descriptive one. The statistical population was composed of 776 entrepreneur women who were members of 26 rural microcredit funds in Mazandaran province, out of whom 260 women were sampled based on Krejcie and Morgan’s table. The main research instrument was a self-constructed questionnaire whose face and content validity were confirmed by a panel of experts. Also, average variance extracted (AVE) and composite reliability (CR) supported the convergent validity and the reliability of the instrument, respectively. Data were analyzed by structural equation modeling using the partial least squares technique in the Smart PLS3 software package.
Finding- Based on the results, the sustainable businesses of rural women who are members of rural microcredit funds were positively and significantly affected by the infrastructure, educational-skill, policymaking, economic, and environmental-geographical factors (with coefficients of 0.412, 0.219, 0.175, 0.165, and 0.137, respectively) at the 99% confidence level and by personality and attitude (0.183 and 0.162, respectively) at the 95% confidence level. These factors captured 92.3 percent of the variance in sustainable businesses.
Research Limitations- The dispersion of microcredit funds across the counties and the difficulty of identifying entrepreneurs in them, which would constitute the statistical population, were the main limitations and challenges of the research.
Practical Implication: The most important approaches to developing sustainable businesses among rural women include identifying motivated entrepreneur women, providing adequate facilities, raw materials, and inputs, creating job opportunities for small home jobs in villages to motivate women businesses, promoting communication between rural women and successful entrepreneurs, arranging visits of successful businesses, holding short-term applied skill development courses, and creating proper conditions for the use of the Internet and cyberspace for marketing their products.
Originality/Value- Based on the results, various factors significantly influence sustainable businesses of women who are members of rural microcredit funds. Therefore, organizations and officials can contribute to the development of women’s businesses in rural areas through supporting the women by material and spiritual motivations, encouraging them, and reinforcing their commitment and responsibility.