SEK 4,5 million to Jönköping University from the Swedish Science Foundation

The Swedish Science foundation has awarded professor Helene Ahl, professor Lucia Naldi och dr. Magdalena Markowska SEK 4,5 million for a research project on ”mumpreneurship”.

The project is a research cooperation between the School of Education and Communication and Jönköping International Business School.

Ahl, who leads the project, is research director at Encell, the National Centre for Lifelong Learning at the School of Education and Communication. Naldi and Markowska are researchers at CeFEO, Centre for Family Enterprise and Ownership at Jönköping International Business School.

Why study ”mumpreneurship”? Here is how the researchers motivate the project:

Women entrepreneurs who are also mothers is a growing phenomenon. Assuming that women are the primary childcarers, the literature attributes the rise of mumpreneurship to two factors: the need for a second income to support a family and the lack of good quality and affordable day care.

Only the first is valid in Sweden, where family-friendly welfare policies make it easier to combine family and work than elsewhere. The policies are tied to a person’s income and assume fulltime employment. A mumpreneur is offered no guaranteed income, and might lose it altogether should she put her business on hold for maternity leave.

Against this background, why do some mothers still choose an entrepreneurial path in Sweden? Is it opportunity based or is it a response to changing labor market conditions? What ventures do they start, and what are their ventures’ growth prospects? Do they offer viable careers for their owners and job creation for society, or are low income jobs being replaced by small subsistence businesses?

This project uses a multi-method design, combining longitudinal panel data with multiple case studies to create an understanding of the phenomenon both in terms of size, characteristics and outcomes as well as explanatory reasons for its emergence.

The research will contribute new empirical knowledge about mumpreneurs in Sweden, as well as context, critique and nuance to the mainstream entrepreneurship research, and will add new dimensions to theories on firm growth.