The research group EMBLA Opens in new window., is a virtual excellence centre within gender and entrepreneurship studies.

EMBLA was formed in 2012 by researchers from four universities – Helene Ahl Opens in new window., Karin Berglund, Katarina Pettersson and Malin Tillmar.

There is great hope that rural entrepreneurship will reverse the trend of depopulation of the countryside. Many of the new rural enterprises are owned and/or run by women – something that both research and rural policy often miss.

Research usually thinks that the entrepreneur is a man, and business support, especially in rural areas, is aimed at industries where men are owners. We believe that more knowledge about women's entrepreneurship needs to be encouraged to stimulate rural development – enterprising that remains invisible can neither be valued nor supported.

This research project aims at:

  1. developing necessary knowledge about women's entrepreneurship in rural areas that can be used as a basis for stimulating rural development
  2. developing an interactive research method adapted for the development of women's entrepreneurship in rural areas
  3. spreading the results of the project to a variety of relevant groups.

The project consists of three studies:

A register-based study charts how many companies in rural areas that are run by women, what kinds of companies they are, how big and how profitable they are.

A discourse analysis of rural policy texts provides answers to how policies look at women's contribution to rural development.

A qualitative, change-oriented study that begins with problem-gathering dialogue seminars, continues with interviews and videographies of daily business activities, and ends with solution-oriented dialogue seminars. The study will provide deeper knowledge of incentives, prerequisites, conditions and development opportunities.

Project time: 2017–2019

Funded by The Kamprad Family Foundation for Entrepreneurship, Research & Charity.

Project leader: Helene Ahl