Document Type : Research Paper
1 Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, Faculty of Agriculture, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran
2 Department of Entrepreneurship and Rural Development, IIam University, IIam, Iran
Context: The low participation rate of women in economic activities has caused the entrepreneurship rate of women to be lower than that of men. Without the economic participation of women in starting SMEs, it will be challenging for developing countries to achieve the 2030 sustainable development goals and reach their full economic and social potential. Recent studies show that the gender difference in the rate of economic participation and entrepreneurship is not only due to the low success rate of female entrepreneurs, but the main reason is that few women are able to start a business. Therefore, try to promote entrepreneurial businesses among rural women is very important. The starting point for launching a business is opportunity recognition, and the process of identifying entrepreneurial opportunities is different for women than for men. Therefore, it is very important to carry out researches with the aim of identifying factors that influence the recognition of entrepreneurial opportunities among women. Considering that in many developing countries, women have less access to financial resources than men, so this is one of the reasons for the low level of economic participation of women. In this regard, the project of microcredit funds for financial support of women in order to start entrepreneurial businesses has been implemented in different countries, including Iran.
Object: Now, after many years have passed since the establishment of these funds in Kermanshah province with the aim of financing the rural women of this region to start entrepreneurial businesses, the present study was conducted with the main aim of analyzing factors influencing the recognition of entrepreneurial opportunities among rural women members of microcredit funds in Kermanshah.
Research Method: This paper in terms of the paradigm, purpose and method of data collection is quantitative research, applied research and field research study. The study population in this study were all women members of microcredit funds in Kermanshah (N = 626) that according to the table of Bartlett et al., 201 of them using stratified random sampling method with proportional assignment Were selected as research samples. The main data collection tool was a questionnaire whose validity and reliability were confirmed using content validity and convergent validity and combined reliability and Cronbach's alpha. SPSS and Smart PLS software were used to analyze the collected data.
Findings: Findings of the study showed that entrepreneurship education, social capital and entrepreneurial skills were the effective factors on entrepreneurial opportunities among rural women members of microcredit funds in Kermanshah. According the results About the trainings provided by the microcredit fund, most of the respondents (34.3%) stated that they participated in these trainings once or twice. Also, 35.3% of them stated that they have participated in the training provided by the agricultural extension between 1 and 2 times. In relation to receiving informal entrepreneurial training, as the results of the distribution of respondents in terms of the index of standard deviation distance from the mean show, the majority of respondents (91%) were in the lower and weak middle class. The average opportunity recognition ability of the respondents is 3.41 with a standard deviation of 0.60. Among the dimensions of the ability to recognize the opportunity, creating innovative solutions from the opportunity had a higher average (3.51) than other dimensions. Also, the findings of the study indicated that the average entrepreneurial skills of rural women members of the fund are 3.15 with a standard deviation of 0.63. As the findings, more than half of the respondents (56.7 percent) were in the lower middle class in terms of entrepreneurial skills. Overall the results of the study showed that rural women members of microcredit funds in Kermanshah are at an average level in terms of the ability to recognize entrepreneurial opportunities. Also findings of the study showed that entrepreneurship education, social capital and entrepreneurial skills were the effective factors on entrepreneurial opportunities among rural women members of microcredit funds in Kermanshah.
Conclusion: The results of the present study indicated that, in addition to the direct effect, entrepreneurial education has an indirect effect through social capital on the recognition of entrepreneurial opportunities by rural women who are members of microcredit funds in Kermanshah. The results of the present study indicated that entrepreneurial skills have a positive and significant effect on recognizing entrepreneurial opportunities among rural women members of microcredit funds in Kermanshah. Therefore, it can be concluded that by improving entrepreneurial skills, the ability to recognize opportunities among rural women members of microcredit funds can be improved. In fact, entrepreneurial skills such as planning and setting work goals, designing and developing a business plan, financial and accounting issues, analyzing problems and providing solutions help rural women to better address the gaps in the society and in fact to identify entrepreneurial opportunities.