The Lived Experience of Social and Cultural Capital for Immigrant Women’s Entrepreneurship in New Zealand
Verheijen, Vivien Wei
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This study aimed to explore the lived experiences of immigrant women entrepreneurs in New Zealand. Hermeneutic phenomenology is used to interpret how the lived experience of being a female immigrant might have influenced women’s abilities to utilise social and cultural capital. An important aspect of the methodology is that the experiences are understood through the women’s voices. The research data were gathered by individual semi-structured interviews. The main findings from this study were that immigrant women strategically leveraged their social networks, niche markets, gender, and family relationships as significant sources of social capital to develop and maintain their enterprise. The central results revealed that cultural practices including religion and heritage language were used and capitalised upon for commercial activities. In other words, immigrant women’s ethnic heritage, their upbringings and cultural values all significantly influenced their attitudes, work ethic, and the philosophy and operation of their business, and their contribution to supporting other immigrants in their settlement journey. By incorporating both feminist and ethnic diversity perspectives, with a focus on social capital and cultural capital, this study contributes qualitative evidence about immigrant women for policymakers in central and local government agencies to develop relevant policy frameworks and resources.