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Women Entrepreneurs: Are They Any Different Than Men?
10-21-2012, 09:51 AM
Post: #1
Women Entrepreneurs: Are They Any Different Than Men?
Despite recent gains, women still lag behind men on key measures of startup activity, and their firms tend not to grow or prosper nearly as much. Research has shown that startups are the keys to job creation and leadership in new industries. With nearly half of the workforce and more than half of all college students in the US now being women, their lag in building high-growth firms has become a major economic deficit. Women-owned businesses only account for 28% of all businesses in the US and are showing only modest rates of growth in revenue and size in comparison to men-owned businesses.

Women are smart, creative, and educated just as much as men, but something is stopping them from achieving the same success men do as entrepreneurs. Recent research on entrepreneurship conducted by Kauffman Foundation attempts to explain those differences. The report sheds light on the factors that stand in the way of women being just as successful as men.

The Importance of Human Capital: women, more than men, believe that prior experience is crucial to entrepreneurial success, especially in technical fields that are usually dominated by men. The reason suggested for this finding is “stereotype threat”; women suffer from reduced self-confidence and anxiety due to the fear that they will confirm a negative stereotype about themselves—in this case, the stereotype that women have inferior capabilities in computing- and technology-related fields.

The Importance of Social Capital: Social capital is defined as the benefits derived from an individual’s personal and professional networks. A supportive network of friends and family can support the entrepreneur emotionally, while a team of professional advisors can provide her with legal, logistical and financial and advice and funding. The research reveals that women put greater emphasis on the importance of supportive and encouraging social networks in business success. With that said, it is also found that women have less access to social capital than men.

The Importance of Financial Capital: The majority of the entrepreneurs surveyed for Kauffman’s study founded their current company with money from personal savings. Even though other studies show that women have less access to capital then men, this study did not find any differences. However, it was found that women were twice as likely as men to secure their main funding from business partners. This is further support for the findings suggesting that women perceive social and professional networks as more important; while men are more solitary when it comes to funding, women look for financial support from partners.

Some go against government taking affirmative action to support women in business and believe the market should be freed from regulation and policies that are intended to influence it. I think they are wrong. You cannot ignore the psychological, financial, and social factors that are discouraging women from following an idea or a dream and becoming entrepreneurs. Only governments have the power to create real change that everyone will benefit from.

Based on: Cohoon, J. McGrath, Vivek Wadhwa, and Lesa Mitchell. “The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur: Are Successful Women Entrepreneurs Different from Men?” The Kauffman Foundation. May 2010. Web. 1 September 2012.
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10-24-2012, 06:37 PM (This post was last modified: 10-24-2012 06:37 PM by Rafik Hanna.)
Post: #2
RE: Women Entrepreneurs: Are They Any Different Than Men?
8 comments

Ken Russell • Absolutely not ! Certainly there are fewer of them but basically they're identical except in the obvious biological sense in have to conform to all the same rules and regulations regardless of gender.


Caroline Birkby • My own view on this is that women in general (and there are many exceptions to this) are less likely to pursue a path which is seen as high risk than men. If I want someone to put forward a high risk, but nonetheless exciting strategy, I would tend to expect this to come from a man (again, there are a great many exceptions), whereas if I want to see a highly challenging job completed successfully to the end, then I would tend to expect that a woman would be more likely to accomplish this than a man (with a great many exceptions). I think the dynamic of having men and women working together on a visionary, ground breaking idea is more likely to lead to a successful outcome, by capitalising on the natural skills of both.

Ken Russell • Caroline - I tend to agree with your emphasis on dual gender teams which at the end of the day have the potential to create a dynamic atmosphere more likely to achieve success and less likely to have tense and disagreeable situations. I think the comment re having a woman to see a challenge through to the end is sometimes true but can also apply to men. Very few women executives/entrepreneurs could have achieved what Steve Jobs did for Apple but then he was unique in every sense of the word. Hilary Devey has built a £100m + business from small beginnings. Curiously enough she is the only woman on her board of Directors !


Caroline Birkby • Ken, I entirely agree, and have known many men (and relied on them totally) who can see a good job through to completion. Similarly, I imagine we can all think of women who are risk takers. To me, having the right balance with the right people is the most important, regardless of gender, and I would never choose a team based on gender alone, as I am sure you would not either.
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10-29-2012, 10:11 AM
Post: #3
RE: Women Entrepreneurs: Are They Any Different Than Men?
Yvette Parker • Rafik, terrific post. The answer is yes and no. Not all women in business are as described. However, the women described represent a consumer trend important enough to address strategically. 1. These women network to be liked (liking is construed as validation - which is why the Facebook Like program is so popular but rarely leads to revenue generation. 2. these women engage on superficial levels - thus, they do not support the businesses they like by sharing posts, commenting or purchasing. With the initial Like they may post a comment about a product or service but it is superficial - similar to 'I like your dress'. 3. these women network to make friends, not revenue; while men network primarily to make revenue, not friends. The consumer implications are significant - these women are not impressed with product materials, craftsmanship and are often overwhelmed by detailed descriptions. They respond to how pretty the website and product pictures are. They may respond to price but not as a qualifying point. Winning this large market sector takes hardcore diligence and laser-like accuracy
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11-12-2012, 07:36 PM
Post: #4
RE: Women Entrepreneurs: Are They Any Different Than Men?
Group: Independent Business Advisors Group

From my experience, the answer to the question posed is an emphatic yes! Women executives tend to be much more focused on relationships than men are by nature. The female perspective is so essential to a balanced approach. I have worked with many female entrepreneurs. They are hard-driving, have a great work ethic, and are naturally more team-oriented. These are generalizations that are true from my own experience. One sad note: I interviewed many female executives for my last book (title omitted - this is not an advertisement). One of the common laments from most of them was this: "I have to be twice as good as a man to be as good as a man." Sadly, we have some work to do to in this regard.

Posted by Ron Vandermyde
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11-20-2012, 01:18 PM
Post: #5
RE: Women Entrepreneurs: Are They Any Different Than Men?
Entrepreneurialship is essentially about the spirit and mindset of getting into business. The market place dynamic for businesses has its imperatives and does not discriminate between men or women (i.e. Supply, Demands, Profits, Risks etc….

From a Leadership perspective, there is no difference between men or women in that the Traits of Leadership cannot possibly be different (i.e. Honesty, Integrity, Influence, Negotiation, Communication etc….)

Now in terms of Communication Style, Communication skills being the same for both, it might differ. But then again communication style is already different among men, so it is normal to be a bit different if any comparatively to women.

In conclusion, the answer is NO, there shouldn’t be a different, they are the same.

Posted by Pierre El-Hnoud
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