International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Practitioner Report

Degree Name

Dual Degree Master of Business Administration/Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (MBA/CDP)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Professor Ramon Borges-Mendez, PhD

Second Reader

Professor Mary-Ellen Boyle, PhD


Latina Women and Informal Microenterprise




Ivette Olmeda

The informal economy refers to economic transactions that are not generally recorded through formal business compliance systems such as licensing, taxes, permitting and others. Informal economic activities are primarily completed through cash transactions.

This research explores the perceptions, intentions, and motivations of Latina women to operate informal microenterprises in an open market. The research consisted of interviews with five Latina women from Worcester, Massachusetts to gather information and ultimately understand why they are not entering formal entrepreneurship systems. The interviews supported existing research in which women state that they operate these microenterprises to bring in additional sources of income for their homes. A second aspect of the research demonstrates that these women also choose to run these microenterprises due to barriers to entering the workforce such as language, childcare, formal education, and credentials. The research summarizes and reflects on these women’s cases, experiences, and perceptions about formalizing their microenterprises. The analysis of the data and interviews with participants and existing resources lead to recommendations that clearly outline the gaps in services to meet the needs of Latina women who currently operate informal microenterprises.





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