Accepted Paper:

Social media as bottom-up innovation for female entrepreneurship in an era of digital development  
Sirkku Männikkö Barbutiu (Stockholm University)Thilini De Silva (NSBM Green University Town)Kutoma Wakunuma (De Montfort University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper highlights the role of social media that women entrepreneurs are using to empower themselves in developing countries like Sri Lanka and Zambia. It discusses opportunities offered and how the women are bypassing established social and cultural structures to claim their own digital space.

Paper long abstract:

The use of digital technologies is taking shape in developing countries. The ease of use and availability such technologies has seen a rise in the use of social media particularly in both urban and rural settings which has opened opportunities for many women in developing countries to be able to use these technologies to their advantage. Digital technologies has made it possible for technology use to be no longer the preserve of a few (Ukpere et al, 2014) in terms of their accessibility, availability and use. As a result, women entrepreneurs are now taking advantage of digital technologies afforded by social media to be able to better themselves. For instance, our study which is in progress of women entrepreneurs' use of social media in Sri Lanka and Zambia shows that there is a concerted use of social media in business domains where women have normally inhabited such as the beauty industry but also in domain areas such as the construction industry where men have normally dominated. From this snapshot, it is evident that the use of social media as a digital platform has presented women entrepreneurs the ability to be able to create their own digital spaces in order to excel as entrepreneurs in a bottom-up innovative way in their own right without having to rely on established social and cultural structures that have to a large extent denied them the ability to thrive.

Panel J1
Digital development