Ann Mackin


Salt Lake City, Utah, is recognized as the most entrepreneurially oriented city in the United States, fostering and nurturing small businesses owners to achieve success. Women in Salt Lake City start more businesses than do men, yet women struggle to survive. This study first presents nine successful Salt Lake City women entrepreneurs and how they got started in and grew their unique business and sustained them for extended periods. The participants were profiled as to the motivations and circumstances that led them to begin their businesses. Second, the strategies they employed to overcome challenges and obstacles they faced in the growth phase of their businesses are presented. Finally, the researcher presents information on how these nine women entrepreneurs sustained their businesses for many years. This qualitative, phenomenological exploration of women entrepreneurs utilized two data collection methods: personal interviews and observations of their business operations. The nine women participants were purposefully selected to represent a cross-section of industries in an effort to provide rich, stratified data. The questions were designed and validated to elicit candid, authentic recollections of their lived experiences as entrepreneurs. One-on-one, personal interviews were conducted at each participant's place of business to capture the essence of the businesses and provide context of the nature of the enterprise This study resulted in four conclusions. First, the circumstances and motivations for these Salt Lake City entrepreneurs mirrored the intentions of similar populations; importantly, these women expertly juggled their family considerations with the demands of their businesses. Second, this group experienced little gender bias. Notably, they relied on their personal expertise, management backgrounds, and personal financial resources to make their firms a success. Third, this group did not rely on outside mentors, advisors, or counselors to propel their firms forward. Fourth, this group of Utah women created strong, dynamic, internal processes that ensured superior customer service, the single most important factor in their collective success. In summary, this study may be helpful current and future entrepreneurs as it has examined the personal biographies as well as the contextual and regional influences of these exceptional women entrepreneurs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; Self-employed women; Businesswomen; Women-owned business enterprises -- Utah -- Salt Lake City; Success in business

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Purrington, Linda;