Arielle Newman: New Addition to EEE Faculty Focuses Research on Entrepreneurs Outside the Mainstream

headshot of Arielle Newman

Arielle Newman: New Addition to EEE Faculty Focuses Research on Entrepreneurs Outside the Mainstream

Most entrepreneurs worldwide are far from the image of the prosperous young White male many Americans may have when they think of entrepreneurship. In fact, approximately 70% of entrepreneurs around the globe live in poverty, run small-scale businesses that are unregulated—or even illegal—and do so by themselves with little protection. A majority of them are, in fact, women. That 70%—those who exist outside the mainstream—is one of the main research interests of Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship Arielle Newman, who joined the Department of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises at the Whitman School in the fall of 2021.

After earning a Ph.D. in political economy from the University of Utah, Newman accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University, where her work shifted into the entrepreneurial sphere. In 2019, she joined the College of Business and Economic Development at the University of Southern Mississippi as an assistant professor of entrepreneurship.

Over the years, she had spoken with Professor of Entrepreneurship and Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Master’s Education Alex McKelvie at several conferences and was impressed by the remarkable initiatives that Whitman was undertaking with various populations, as well as the interesting work, culture and collegiality that he described.

“Secretly, it was my dream school,” she admits. So, when a position opened at Whitman, she had to apply. “I’m so excited to be here as part of this amazing culture and community, particularly within the EEE Department.”

Newman describes her current research as “seeking to validate the lived experience of others to create a more understanding and empathetic society.” Her experience working work with vulnerable populations—from informal entrepreneurs in Ghana to refugees in Salt Lake City—has inspired her to delve deeper into how trauma stemming from being devalued or excluded impacts the entrepreneurial process and decision-making for those who are marginalized, particularly women.

“Trauma is something people often want to ignore,” she says. “We say, ‘Let’s not talk about it,’ but I feel I need to talk about it and be the voice for so many who have been relegated to their positions because of who they are. I want to bring a voice to those who have been silenced.”

Another aspect of her work stems from a 2020 Research Institute Grant she and her BYU co-authors received to conduct qualitative research examining the female entrepreneurial journey. Through the construction of a database of American-born women from all walks of life, she is working on a better understanding of what it’s like to be a female entrepreneur in the United States.“

Many women in the U.S. are working hard on e-commerce from their homes, and I’m interested in how that changes the family dynamic,” she explains, adding that the pandemic has opened up even more opportunities in this space. “Women have seen their once—invisible work become much more visible, whether through opportunity or necessity. This has been liberating for many, although they often find they are still expected to do it all. Women are saying, ‘I grossed $3 million working out of my basement last year. When is my business going to be taken seriously?’ I’m excited to look more closely at that through my research.”