Academic journal article Business Renaissance Quarterly

An Initial Look at the Characteristics of Hispanic Women Business Owners and Their Businesses

Academic journal article Business Renaissance Quarterly

An Initial Look at the Characteristics of Hispanic Women Business Owners and Their Businesses

Article excerpt

Hispanic women business owners were profiled in this exclusive study, using on extensive questionnaire that focused on human capital, network structure and financial capital issues. The study is based on responses from 43 Hispanic women business owners from 13 states, who were assessed on over 45 different variables. The different factors assessed included the following: personal background information; business organizational characteristics; financial performance indicators; source of initial start-up of funds; patterns of network relationships; business problems and motivating factors or reasons the women exited the mainstream labor market, as well as effects of increasing numbers of minority female business owners on the general quality of life in the workplace.

Introduction

Recent statistical reports show that Hispanic womenowned businesses grew 39.3% from 1997 to 2002, compared to 16% for all women-owned businesses during the same period (The Center, 2004a). Table one's statistics reinforces the integral role that Hispanic women business owners are playing in the area of women entrepreneurship in particular and the area of entrepreneurship in general (see also table 2). The specific objectives of the current study were to determine the statistics on a sample of Hispanic women entrepreneurs with respect to: (1) personal background information; (2) business organizational characteristics; (3) financial performance indicators; (4) source of initial start-up of funds; (5) patterns of network relationships; (7) business problems and (8) motivating factors or reasons the women exited the mainstream labor market.

Before embarking on the presentation of the statistical analyses, it is important to provide some clarifications related to the definitions of the business owner and the entrepreneur and to review the relevant literature related to Hispanic women business owners. The relevant literature can be taken from a three-dimensional vortex of sources. This includes the literature related to: Hispanic women business owners, including Hispanic women; ethnic entrepreneurship, especially as it relates to Hispanic business owners; and women business owners. This comingling of literature from various sources is necessary to get at what this paper ultimately focuses on - Hispanic women business owners.

Definitions and Clarifications

The businesses analyzed in this research study were women-owned businesses. In order to define a woman business owner, one can borrow from two definitions of the small business owner, since in both instances the owner is heavily involved in the day-to-day operation of the business. The Small Business Act states that a small business concern shall be deemed to be one which is independently owned and operated and which is not dominant in its operation (US Small Business Administration, 1978). A small business owner is thus the person who owns such a business entity. A business owner can also be defined as an individual who has a financial capital investment in a business that is greater than $0 and annual sales/revenue of at least $1000 (Bates, 1995; Devine, 1994a; 1994b).

Carland, Hoy, Bolton and Carland, (1984) alternatively defined a smalt business owner as an individual who establishes and manages a business for the principal purpose of furthering personal goals. The business must be the primary source of income and will consume the majority of one's time and resources (Carland et al, 1984). The owner perceives the business as an extension of his or her personality, intricately bound with family needs and desires (Carland et al, 1984). In a similar vein, an entrepreneur could be defined as an individual who perceives an opportunity and partakes in the necessary functions, activities and actions associated with the creation of an organization to pursue that opportunity (Bygrave and Hofer, 1991; Gartner, 1989; Sexton and Smilor, 1986). In the context of this paper, all the women who participated satisfy dually the definitions of business owner and entrepreneur since they owned and were at least one of the parties to form or create the business. …

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