Gender and the Environmental Nexus Surrounding Success of Central Florida Women Entrepreneurs

Gender and the Environmental Nexus Surrounding Success of Central Florida Women Entrepreneurs

Author: 
Felicia C. Young
Program of study: 
D.B.A.
Abstract: 
The purpose of the biographical narrative inquiry study was to determine if women entrepreneurs in the Central Florida area were affected by gender and industry environments, which may have influenced the amount of startup capital received to start a successful new business venture. How women entrepreneurs perceived their environment was important, as understanding how gender and industry environments affected new businesses brought awareness to future women entrepreneurs who may have challenges receiving startup capital. The sample for this study consisted of 10 women entrepreneurs who have successfully started their business in the Central Florida area. The women entrepreneurs were located using data from the Orlando Business Journal, the snowball sampling technique, and through networking events in the Central Florida area. Data collected for this study was achieved through digitally recorded, semistructured, telephone, and face-to-face interviews. The collected data used Nvivo 10® software to analyze and recognize themes or patterns in the response to the interview questions by each participant. Four themes based on the four research questions were developed. The four themes were: (a) becoming an entrepreneur was the opportunity for a better life, (b) receiving start-up capital or investments was not gender-specific, (c) maximizing growth and entrepreneurial success were minimally affected by gender and industry environments, and (d) networking is required to gain and maintain new business opportunities and social relationships. Findings from this study revealed the encounters and opinions on the startup challenges women faced when becoming an entrepreneur in Central Florida.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to my wonderful, loving, devoted, supportive parents, my father, Marvin O. Johnson, and my mother, Corinne C. Johnson, who have been my cheerleaders throughout my entire educational and life journey. From a young girl starting my first day of pre-k, to finishing my doctoral degree, they instilled in me the importance of receiving an education, and to be the best woman I could be. Thank you for both always believing in me and not allowing me to give up ever. I will never forget my dad’s favorite saying, “The strong will survive, and the weak will always fall down by the wayside.” I love you both! This dissertation is also dedicated to my loving husband, Michael D. Young. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to fulfil my dream of receiving my doctorate. This road has not always been an easy one, but you were right there with me along the bumpy way. God could not have given me a more loyal husband than you. I am a better because of you, and I look forward to all that God has instore for our future and us together. I love you.
Acknowledgements: 
First and foremost, I would like to thank the almighty and powerful God for His grace and mercy in guiding me along this journey. Without Him, none of this would be possible. To my sissy, Carla, thank you for the distractions when I did not want to work on anything school related. You are the best big sister a little sister can have. To my stepsons, Malachi, Gabriel, and Jordan, you can achieve anything in life your heart desires. “You must never doubt your ability to achieve anything, become anything, overcome anything and inspire everything.” – Tasha Hoggatt. To my family, friends, and church family, it is with the upmost respect that I thank you for your love and support during this doctoral journey. All of your thoughts were greatly appreciated and received. To my pastor, David S. Jacques, thank you for the word you spoke over my life in 2010, when you knew this day would come before I was even sure. I will never forget all that you have done for my family and I. To my chair, Dr. John Sienrukos, thank you sincerely for coming on board when you did. I am eternally grateful that you took on the role of becoming my chair. Your words of encouragement allowed me to not quit. To my committee members, Dr. Pearl R. Smith and Dr. Marianne Greenfield, thank you for standing by me and not giving up on me. Your dedication to this study was immeasurable. Last, but not least, to the women entrepreneurs who participated in this research study, a big thank you! Without your honesty, and heartfelt stories, this dissertation would not be possible.