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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Carol Cumber


The purpose of this study was to investigate and compare male and female entrepreneurs in rural South Dakota. The overall objective of this research was to examine whether males and females differed in terms of demographic characteristics, type of industry, start-up capital/initial investment, use of social media, entrepreneurial self-efficacy, and needs and challenges. This study also examined the impact of rurality and impact of gender on business ownership as well as gender differences in entrepreneurial motivation and measure of business success. In June of 2015, a survey was constructed, and rural South Dakota entrepreneurs were invited to participate. Seventy-nine responded and sixty-nine qualified as rural entrepreneurs. The following summary statements represent the primary findings: No statistically significant differences were found between males and females in demographic characteristics; males were not using social networks as much as females; females numbered more than males in retail trade and there were more males than females in manufacturing. No significant differences were found in self-efficacy. The need for training programs and government support was higher among females than males; furthermore, with respect to impact of gender on business, more female entrepreneurs than their male counterparts perceived more negativity in terms of customer views of their business, and how they were treated xi as business persons. Desire for increased income was a stronger motivator for male entrepreneurs than for females. In measuring business success male entrepreneurs put more emphases on ‘fulfilling a need in the community,’ while female entrepreneurs put more emphasis on ‘being in control.’

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Businesspeople--South Dakota
Businesspeople--Sex differences--South Dakota
Entrepreneurship--South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 87-96)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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