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Research article2020Peer reviewed

The role of spatial context for women's engagement in rural entrepreneurship in Tanzania

Wilson, Merezia; Rutashobya, Lettice Kinunda; Gaddefors, Johan; Melyoki, Lemayon; Otto, Opira


This paper intends to explore the role that spatial context plays in women’s engagement in rural entrepreneurship. Positioned in a social constructivist perspective, spatial context is taken not as a background, but rather as an entrepreneurial milieu with its elements constructed and experienced. This paper argues that in order to understand how spatial context influences and is being influenced by women’s engagement in entrepreneurial activities, scholars need to move away from considering spatial context as merely geographical locations, which allow for free flowing social relations and exchanges, and look at it as an active ingredient that may influence the entrepreneurial process. The paper theorises entrepreneurship as not merely an economic process but also a social-spatial process which draws from spatial structures as entrepreneurs embed within their context. The qualitative examination of women’s engagement in rural entrepreneurship finds that spatial context plays a key role in shaping the process of engaging through thinning and/or thickening women’s entrepreneurial agency. However, recognition, realisation and utilisation of spatial resources depend on the entrepreneurs’ understanding of the spatial structures. This paper’s contribution lies in its illustration of the role of spatial context in entrepreneurial processes, in particular for marginalised rural women. The paper furthers the understanding of spatial context as an entrepreneurial milieu for enhancing literature about women and entrepreneurship


spatial context; rural entrepreneurship; women; embeddedness

Published in

Business Management Review
2020, Volume: 23, number: 2, pages: 48-70