Whilst some women are motivated to establish entrepreneurial ventures by factors which are similar to those of their male counterparts (including a desire for independence and financial gain), unlike the majority of men, a sizeable number choose entrepreneurship to balance work responsibilities and earning potential with domestic/familial commitments. Despite growing numbers of women citing flexibility and childcare obligations as strong motivations for starting a business relatively little attention has been paid to exploring their motivations, expectations and actual experiences of entrepreneurship, and the extent to which entrepreneurship really offers an improved work/family ‘balance’. This paper presents findings of exploratory, qualitative research conducted in Northern Ireland, which focused upon the entrepreneurial journeys of 14 women as they established and managed their ventures, whilst balancing domestic/familial demands. Drawing upon information-rich evidence from in-depth interviews, insights are presented into their motivations and expectations of what entrepreneurship would offer, and the realities of their experience.
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