Entrepreneurial Motivations, Aspirations and Formalisation Decisions amongst Informal Women Entrepreneurs in Nepal

Conference Paper
Published on 1 April 2017


It is assumed that entrepreneurs are motivated to engage in the informal economy out of necessity for survival rather than opportunity; therefore, lacking growth aspirations and avoiding formalisation. However, there is a lack empirical research exploring entrepreneurial motivations and aspirations in developing countries. This research aims to fill this gap by exploring informal women entrepreneurs’ motivations, life aspirations and formalisation decisions in the case study of Nepal. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 informal women entrepreneurs in Nepal’s second largest city, Biratnagar. Women entrepreneurs’ motivations to engage in the entrepreneurial activities were complex, dynamic and intertwined with wider social norms. These complex and dynamic motivations influenced their life aspirations in terms of business growth and personal development. Entrepreneurs, who aspired to grow perceived formalisation as next step towards business sustainability. The findings contribute to the debates on the formalisation of the informal economy and calls to recognise the variabilities among informal women entrepreneurs’ motivations and aspirations. Given the role of informal activities and women entrepreneurs aspirations formalisation could have significant implications on their business sustainability. 


Shova Thapa Karki

University of Sussex

Mirela Xheneti

University of Sussex