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Nicole Crenstil

Women entrepreneurship and informal financing in developing economies

  • School: Nottingham Business School
  • Starting: 2022 / 2023
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


Knowledge about the financial services landscape of most developing countries is very limited and yet, approximately 60 percent of women entrepreneurs in that region rely on informal finance as a source for their start–up capital (World Bank Group, 2017). As compared to developed economies, the developing economy region’s financial services within the informal sector provide a lifeline for women–owned businesses (see Kislat, 2015). Thus, and considering that the vast majority of small businesses in the developing countries region are owned and operated by women, it is important that new research pays attention to the underlying mechanisms that cause women entrepreneurs to rely on the informal source of finance even when it is reported that they can acquire financial resources through formal financing institutions (World Bank Group, 2017). Scholarly research is yet to catch–up with regards to the rationale behind the financing decisions of entrepreneurs operating in dynamic contexts (see for instance Nguyen and Canh, 2020) such as Africa. Prior studies lack theoretical models that especially account for the context of women–owned businesses in the developing economies and yet doing so is important as such contexts have a distinctive mix of conditions that have been largely eschewed in the entrepreneurship literature (Ogundana et al., 2021). Accordingly, this project will be guided by three important research questions to explore this entrepreneurship phenomenon:

  • How do women entrepreneurs make their financing decisions in the developing economy region?
  • Why do women entrepreneurs in the developing economy region use informal financial services?
  • What are theoretical and practical implications for doing so?

To address these three research questions, potential PhD student could draw upon institutional theory, social feminism theory and/or relevant literature on cognitive financial constraints.

Application Enquiries:

Entry qualifications

An applicant should normally hold a Master’s degree at distinction or merit level of a UK university or an equivalent qualification. International students will also need to meet the English language requirements - IELTS 6.5 (with minimum sub-scores of 6.0). Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from the English language requirements.

How to apply

Please visit our how to apply page for a step-by-step guide and make an application.

Application deadline: 15th August for 1st Oct 2022 start date, or 15th Nov for 1st Jan 2023 start date.

Fees and funding

This opportunity is for self-funded PhD students. Applicants are encouraged to apply for external funding and we will support this process if and when required. Find out about fees and funding for PhD projects.

Guidance and support

Find out about guidance and support for PhD students.

Still need help?

Dr. Amon Simba