Training Women for Success: An Evaluation of Entrepreneurship Training Programs in Vermont, USA

By Bauer, Ken | Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, January 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Training Women for Success: An Evaluation of Entrepreneurship Training Programs in Vermont, USA


Bauer, Ken, Journal of Entrepreneurship Education


ABSTRACT

This paper evaluates the outcomes of two entrepreneurs hip training programs operating in the state of Vermont, USA. As part of an Applied Research Methods course at the university students conducted interviews (n=43) with alumna of two programs: (1) the Women's Small Business Program (WSBP), which is run by Mercy Connections, a non-profit organization based in Burlington, and (2) the Micro Business Development Program (MBDP), of the Vermont Community Action Agencies. Interviews with these entrepreneurs focused on their motivations to start their own businesses, their definitions of success, the challenges and barriers they faced, and the effects that training had. The findings presented here provide empirical evidence and augment previous research on the factors that motivate women to become entrepreneurs and suggest concrete and actionable ways that public agencies and private organizations can better address the needs and motivations of aspiring entrepreneurs.

INTRODUCTION

Before delving into the case at hand - the effects that two training programs have had on women aspiring to be entrepreneurs in Vermont - it behooves us to recognize the greater significance of micro-businesses in the American economy. According to Census Department data, ninety percent of all U.S. businesses employ fewer than five workers, the basic definition of microbusinesses (SBA, 2005). The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) defines micro-business as a business with five or fewer employees, which requires $35,000 or less in startup capital, and does not have access to the traditional commercial banking sector. For the purpose of this study, micro-business is defined as a business with five or fewer employees, including the owner. The AEO estimates that there are over 20 million micro-businesses operating in the U.S. and that microbusiness jobs represent 16.6% of all private (non-farm) employment in the United States. This percentage is higher in rural communities, where micro-businesses are the primary creators of jobs (Birch, 1987). Recent economic trends heighten the need for micro-businesses in the American economy: in particular, lower paying jobs and less secure jobs are increasingly common in America, which pushes individuals to supplement their low-paying and often insecure jobs with selfemployment (Klein et al, 2003; Edgcomb & Klein, 2005; Servon, 2006).

Women are becoming important players in the micro-business sector of the US economy and women-owned firms now account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. businesses (Langowitz 2006). The number of women entrepreneurs is increasing at an extraordinary rate, growing at four to five times the national pace of business formation between 1997 and 2002 (Loscocco & Smith-Hunter, 2004); in Vermont, there has been a 94.3 percent increase in the number of women-owned businesses since 1987 (http://www.mercyconnections.org/). Given the increasing importance of micro-businesses to the American economy as well as women's manifest interest in entrepreneurship, there is a growing demand for training programs that can prepare individuals to succeed.

While self-employment does not require an advanced education (Dumas, 200 1 ), it does entail a set of technical and personal skills that lend themselves to practical training. Those who lack the resources or education to start their own business can look to micro business development programs for help. Micro-business development programs train aspiring entrepreneurs through classes, individual counseling, technical assistance, post-start-up support, loan packaging services, and referrals to outside resources (Schmidt et al., 2006). These programs assist an estimated 150,000 to 1 70,000 people each year (Plummer, 2006). At the national level, clients of micro enterprise training programs predominately comprise women (60 percent), low or moderate-income (60 percent), and ethnic or racial minorities (50 percent); a significant proportion of these clients come from very lowincome situations, with about 30 percent below the poverty line and 1 1 percent receiving welfare (Plummer, 2006). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Training Women for Success: An Evaluation of Entrepreneurship Training Programs in Vermont, USA
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.