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Bahman Khosravi Pour, Maryam Tahmasebi, Maryam Ameri,
Volume 9, Issue 34 (2-2021)

The experience of pursuing development goals in many countries show that achieving the objectives depend on considering the position and role of women as part of the active labor force of society especially in rural areas, which will ultimately lead to economic and political development. In addition, due to the large number of unemployed population especially women in rural areas, small home businesses have been created by using their individual creativity and the capacities of rural communities, exploiting new opportunities, dissemination and strengthening of sustainable innovations. This is one of the important priorities of development strategies that can play a significant role in empowering local people, reducing poverty and improving the livelihood of rural households.
In the meantime, supporting local financial investments and guiding women in order to set up micro-credit funds, seems to be a fundamental and appropriate solution for business development and economic prosperity of local communities. This will create economic, social and institutional equality, and provide training and business opportunities.
Given the importance of women's participation in economic activities to accelerate and facilitate the process of rural development, this study aims to identify the factors affecting entrepreneurship development from the of members’ perspective of rural micro-credit funds, i.e. rural entrepreneurs in Abadan County. Businesses such as alfalfa and various vegetables cultivation, production and supply of indigenous chicken, etc., which are agricultural-oriented and form the basis of women's economic activities.

The present study seeks to identify the underlying factors affecting the development of rural women entrepreneurship, hence it is considered an applied research. The research design and data collection method is based on the non-experimental survey approach.  The statistical population of the study included 100 rural women members of micro-funds in Abadan who has started, managed and developed their businesses. A sample of 80 people was randomly selected for the query using Morgan table.   The research measurement tool was a researcher-made questionnaire. The content validity of the measurement tool was verified by practitioners and leading women entrepreneurs in the region. The reliability of the measurement tool was also evaluated and confirmed by calculating the Cronbach's alpha coefficient regarding the current and optimal status of the effective factors.
Discussion and conclusion
According to the findings of the study, the average age of sample was 34.3 years. More than half of them had primary and secondary education, and one tenth had university education. 2.5% were heads of households and their average economic activity was reported to be 4.5 years. The results showed that preparing households and citizens to encourage women to produce and work by government agencies has the highest score in the current situation. Also, the provision of inputs needed by women to produce goods and services, the land devotion for business development and the provision of insurance services to women entrepreneurs were at the lowest level. Also in the desired situation, the first three priorities were the establishment of entrepreneurship incubators in rural areas, providing financial assistance in the form of subsidies and easy access of entrepreneurs to the required information, knowledge and technology. These can be combined to the three priorities mentioned above. It is concluded that if specialized centers for entrepreneurship consulting and business development are established in rural areas in order to educate and empower women and identify their and train them in the mentioned centers. As a result, entrepreneurship development can use practical advice and credit and facility support, improve the business of rural women with a more appropriate approach.  Also, the factors affecting the business development of rural women were classified into 5 categories: technical, institutional-infrastructural, educational, cultural and social factors. Based on them it is suggested that in order to promote sustainable production activities in rural communities, a working group consisting of provincial and local managers , executive administration, CEOs of credit funds, financial institutions such as Omid Entrepreneurship Fund along with other business environment development actors (representative of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Security, representative of the development of deprived areas from presidential office, etc.).  Furthermore, it is needed to establish a city and provincial business office, and facilitate women’s progress while carefully analyzing their obstacles and problems. In addition, designing, and implementing a comprehensive business and entrepreneurship development projects that plans an activity to its development and stability is suggested. Establishment of entrepreneurship incubators in rural areas and arranging various educational-promotional programs by attracting the active participation and dynamism of rural women will increase the knowledge and experience of women entrepreneurship. Also, in order to increase the success rate of credit funds and present successful business plans among rural women, it is necessary to seriously pursue and implement entrepreneurial training and design programs with emphasis on regional potentials and based on creativity and innovation. So, courses on how to start a business and improve your business seems to be effective.

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