The study purpose was three-fold. First, it explored the challenges that hindered increased participation of women entrepreneurs in the Engineering sector. Second, it determined whether entrepreneurial opportunities were exploited by applying already acquired knowledge, skill and expertise through innovation. Thirdly, it probed if out of these opportunities women engineers independently created new firms. Based on the the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship, a qualitative research methodology was adopted, using convenience, quota and judgement sampling techniques. Data analysis was through means of content analysis. The findings were based on nine responses gathered through in-depth structured interviews.
Key findings affirm that entrepreneurial background and experience play a critical role in women engineersÕ ability to identify and exploit opportunities and that knowledge was spilled over from their incumbent organisations. There was, however, no evidence of commercialisation of a new idea by any of the firms that were started. Access to market, due to limited networks, remained the greatest challenge facing women entrepreneurs. Enterprise development including strategic partnerships were found to be prerequisites for institutional support and market growth.
The study delineates limitations, contributions to the field and further research to be done in the Engineering sector with a gender lens.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2017.