“I didn’t vet the manufacturer of our first product, footless product.They went out of business and gave me one week’s notice …Under this heading, the discussion covers the traditional role of women and their networking practices, access to finance, the tendency to undercapitalize their business, and growth perceptions.The latter part of the research-paper deals with policy and support for women’s entrepreneurship and indicates the future direction of the field, with some suggestions for further research. A bibliography, including some suggestions for further reading, and some cross-referencing to other research-papers on this site, are also provided.He believed in me, and I believed in his printed jersey fabric.” Connections, like the one von Furstenberg and her clothing consigliere shared, matter.
However, it is now widely accepted that women as entrepreneurs make a valuable contribution to national economies around the world in terms of job creation, economic growth, and wealth generation.Women are also more likely to run smaller businesses in comparison to their male counterparts. This was when a number of studies relating to gender-specific barriers in entrepreneurship, motivation for starting a business, and comparisons with male entrepreneurs started to appear in the literature.Since then, studies on women’s entrepreneurship have dealt with a wide range of topics, including those pertaining to characteristics and management style, entrepreneurial background, confidence and risk orientation, growth and financing strategies, policy and support, and the range of challenges facing both aspiring and established women entrepreneurs.Indeed, it is fast becoming a primary focus for scholars, practitioners, and policy makers worldwide who work in the field of small business management and entrepreneurship.Generally speaking, women entrepreneurs have been in the minority in comparison to their male counterparts and are still the largest underrepresented group in entrepreneurship.Thus, the definition of women entrepreneurs may also include women who own less than 50%, are visibly involved in the management of the business but do not necessarily hold the most senior role in the firm, or have not actually started a business but are now running one as a managing director.Carter and Shaw (2006) point out that self-employment data are often used to measure business ownership, but that such data do not fully account for all enterprise-related activities.Research on women’s entrepreneurship has developed significantly in recent years. Carter and Shaw (2006), the field of women’s entrepreneurship has moved away from purely exploratory and descriptive studies, characterized by the earlier literature, toward developing stronger evidence bases that report the actual experiences of women’s enterprise in international contexts along with a more sophisticated understanding of complex issues (see, e.g., Carter, Henry, Ö Cinnéide, & Johnston, 2006).This research-paper discusses the main themes on women’s entrepreneurship, as characterized by the extant literature in this field.The overriding message from all these studies is that while entrepreneurs share a number of core characteristics and challenges, women and men are different in their approach to entrepreneurship and, generally speaking, this is reflected in the type and size of businesses that women set up and in their growth aspirations.Such differences, while not always accounted for in policy and support initiatives, need to be recognized and accommodated if a steady supply of entrepreneurs is to be maintained and the growth of the economy is to be fully exploited.