Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Migration Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


Migration Studies

First Advisor

Kathleen Coll


A qualitative research study explores the experiences of female immigrant entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area including their journey of self-employment and the challenges they have faced based on their sex, migration status and access to social capital and resources. Understanding existing knowledge on migration theory and labor economics, sustainable labor integration, as well as the gendered nature of labor migration, it is determined that female migrants can access upward social mobility through labor markets and entrepreneurship. The study identifies various commonalities between the participants including and their opportunities for social mobility. Based on five interviews with immigrant women, the study finds that there is an overall satisfaction in choosing entrepreneurship among the participants given that they are able to utilize generational knowledge, share their culture and build community. Various challenges such as immigration status, language and systemic barriers are identified. The coronavirus pandemic also proved to be a challenge in securing income which participants faced with ingenuity and resilience. The study also explores how immigrant women perceive entrepreneurship as a method of upward mobility given their found success and hopes for future growth.