Women and minorities make up a growing population of entrepreneurs in the United States. African American women are included in the data that reflect this fact but are often combined in the findings with African American men or minority women, and, therefore, their presence, experiences, and impact are not adequately documented. In this population of African American women is a still smaller collection of women who pursue executive leadership via the incorporation of their small businesses instead of the traditional executive positions in larger corporations. This qualitative case study explored the motivation, success strategies, and leadership practices of African American women who have successfully followed entrepreneurship as a track for executive leadership. Each of the 20 participating entrepreneurs had established and operated small incorporated businesses in urban North Carolina for 3 or more years. The study explored the entrepreneurial career experiences of these entrepreneurs through face-to-face interviews and extracted the prevalent themes related to their motivational factors for entering this career path, along with the success strategies and leadership practices employed during the development of their businesses. The findings indicated that these entrepreneurs enter their business ventures with academic achievement related to their area of specialization. Their greatest challenges are the need for education and support in the area of business planning and development. In spite of the challenges, these entrepreneurs have a level of success founded on goal attainment, finances, and people and community empowerment. The findings also reflected a continued need for research in the area of entrepreneurial leadership focused on minorities and women.
|Subjects||African American studies; Black studies; Entrepreneurship; Women's studies; Management|
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