An economic crisis usually results in a large number of unemployed persons and families with decreased income. It is particularly difficult to find new jobs in rural areas, far from cities and urban centres. Residents of mono-functional settlements have lost their jobs after the local manufacturing enterprises were closed and the limited potential of such areas creates little hope of finding a new job.
Several studies have demonstrated the importance of women’s employment in rural-urban migration. The general tendency shows that if a woman has a job, the whole family stays in the rural area. Similarly, studies have indicated the financial success of rural municipalities to be dependent on the presence of employable women (women of working age). Therefore, women as potential entrepreneurs are essential for rural areas and because of this and according our 10 years practice we decided to adress our model to the women who live in rural and remote areas of Estonia.
A 2008 survey on entrepreneurship (Eesti VKE Arengusuundumused, Saar Poll 2008) showed that only one third of SME owners in Estonia were women. Women have unused potential for establishing new small enterprises, which would create jobs for themselves and others in the area. Gender stereotypes and traditional thought models (i.e. entrepreneurship is men’s sphere) produce obstacles, which increase women’s uncertainty, giving rise to a need for more support and encouragement for women starting their own businesses. Sociologists at the University of Tartu carried out a study in 2004 and one of the findings was that entrepreneurship is a way of surviving in rural areas.
Creation of workplaces for themselves and their relatives is the only way for women to avoid unemployment after losing their previous job, without changing the place of residence. Furthermore, it was found that women can conduct business in a sustainable manner and are capable of minimizing risks by spreading the activities; they are flexible and can adapt to changes. There is a high level of co-operation between women entrepreneurs (especially in the field of tourism).
All the aforementioned studies indicate that, in many cases, women must overcome major barriers in themselves and among their relatives. However, women are sustainable and success-oriented business owners, who plan their activities carefully to minimize risks. Enterprises founded by women are small but provide jobs for themselves and their family members, thereby saving many families from falling into social risk groups or from moving away from the rural settlements.
An economic crisis usually results in a large number of unemployed persons and families with decreased income. It is particularly difficult to find new jobs in rural areas, far from cities and urban centres.
Residents of mono-functional settlements have lost their jobs after the local manufacturing enterprises were closed and the limited potential of such areas creates little hope of finding a new job. We have identified the main needs that have arisen as consequences of the economic recession in rural areas:
• need for new jobs in rural areas;
• need for additional income in families (in case of decreased salaries)
• need for local solutions to ensure successful employment
• need for training and support systems for reviewing the financial management in households
• need for supportive and encouraging advice to reassess strengths and weaknesses of an individual in a critical situation and to discuss the possibility of, as well as the skills and motivation required for becoming an entrepreneur
• need for basic knowledge on entrepreneurship
• need for start-up money or self-financing in order to apply for entrepreneurship grants for starting businesses
• need for innovative solutions in crisis areas
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