Isolated but virtually connected: the experience of self-employed African women during the crisis

Xiong, Lin, James, Imaobong and Hardwick, Jialin (2022) Isolated but virtually connected: the experience of self-employed African women during the crisis. In: European University Network on Entrepreneurship conference (ESU), 11-17 September 2022, Seville, Spain.

Isolated but virtually connected: the experience of self-employed African women during the crisis
Conference paper 1 - EU Entrepreneur network conf -Sept.2022.pdf - Abstract

Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Research on African women entrepreneurs operating UK micro and small businesses demonstrates how the agency in enterprising works ethnicity and identity through social capital that fosters businesses. It showed that the shared "otherness" of ethnic identity is accompanied by a shared sense of ethnic responsibility and social obligation. In time, this spilt over into bridging social capital and connecting to the wider community. This study builds on previous research and provides an understanding of how self-employed women migrants in the UK operate to counter the perceptions of socially constructed values. Social capital may depend on frequent interaction and social proximity, both are difficult during times of isolation and social distancing. The COVID-19 crisis thus works as a stress test for the utility of social relations and social capital.
Combating social exclusion is one of the most important issues at the present time, and particularly affects those currently socially marginalised. But social exclusion need not be a permanent condition. Entrepreneurship has been shown to facilitate economic and social integration. Recent studies report how gender and living situation relates to the use of digital communication for social connection and changes in digital media use may outlast Covid 19 pandemic. Women-led businesses are looking at new ways of working using digital platforms. We examine the complex nature of social exclusion and inclusion; the strategies, practices, and the process of women employing online digital platforms to connect to the wider community and facilitate social integration. We also examined how they responded to developing theory, explanations, and accounts of effective practices to facilitate social inclusion for marketing.
Our research sample is based on self-employment and intersectional characteristics including gender and ethnicity. Our sample conforms to the criteria: each self-employed woman owns the business and operates the business for at least 2 years. We identified suitable respondents through purposeful sampling, which links the sampling strategy with the purpose of the research project, which is more concerned with what people do. We consider our potential respondents are subject to the intersectional nature of exclusion and disadvantage associated with being identified as female and migrants, cultural strangers. We interviewed sixteen female migrant entrepreneurs before and after the COVID-19 outbreak to examine their entrepreneurial enactment and how they mobilised their ethnicity and identity to overcome disadvantages through social resourcing and the use of digital resources for marketing. Data were analysed thematically using the constant comparative method which involves a recursive sense-making of the data to identify emerging categories and themes.

Keywords:Social inclusion, Coping strategies, Marketing, Digital platforms
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N500 Marketing
L Social studies > L391 Sociology of Science and Technology
N Business and Administrative studies > N100 Business studies
N Business and Administrative studies > N211 Strategic Management
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:51810
Deposited On:03 Oct 2022 14:20

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