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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Carol Cumber


The purpose of this study was to investigate entrepreneurial activity by women in rural South Dakota. The overall objective of this research was to evaluate how a rural setting affects South Dakota female entrepreneurial businesses, to identify characteristics of female owned rural businesses, to identify the factors that lead to the success of rural women entrepreneurs, and to identify the biggest business needs of rural women entrepreneurs. In 2006 a survey was constructed and distributed to rural women entrepreneurs in South Dakota. One hundred and ten women business owners responded to the survey resulting in a 28 percent response rate. Less than one-fourth of survey respondents felt that a rural setting had a negative impact on their business. Most participants also felt that being female either had no impact or a positive impact on their business. Most industries operated in the retail industry, had under $100,000 in annual sales, and targeted a local market. Helping others, contributing to family income, and making a profit were the three most important characteristics of successful businesswomen. The three most important factors leading to success were hard work, drive/passion, and prior experience. The research also found that the need for the following factors was very high: training programs, personal support systems, qualified workers, sources of financing, mentors, and a willingness to take a risk.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Women-owned business enterprises -- South Dakota
Businesswomen -- South Dakota
Businesswomen -- South Dakota -- Attitudes
Entrepreneurship -- South Dakota




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