The Way to Entrepreneurship: Education and Work Experience for Female Entrepreneurs, Jiaocheng County, Shanxi Province

Minglu Chen


This paper examines the education background and work history of a newly emerged group of entrepreneurs in the People’s Republic of China (PRC)—women. Based on interviews with 62 women entrepreneurs in the north China county of Jiaocheng, Shanxi Province, conducted between October 2003 and May 2004, it compares and analyzes the situation of women enterprise owners, wives of male enterprise owners and those who take leadership positions in the enterprises as workshop leaders, share holders, managers and defacto managers. The results suggest that higher education is not an important element in the making of these women entrepreneurs, but literacy still matters for those who are seeking higher positions in private enterprises or setting up their own business. The interviewees’ work experience corresponds to their education background, as most of them used to be engaged in jobs requiring less education. This paper also reveals the situation of one specific group formed by widowed women taking over their husbands’ enterprises after their death. It suggests that these women had experienced considerable hardship in running the business.


China; female entrepreneurs; Jiaocheng County; Shanxi Province

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