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Following The Pathway Of Female Entrepreneurs

8280 words - 33 pages

Purpose - There has been increased policy and research interest in the growing number of female entrepreneurs and their potential contribution to both the local and global economy. Nevertheless, the extant literature on female entrepreneurship is often limited to the start-up phase of business. An important gap in the literature is an inquiry into the development of these female-owned organizations from inception to maturity, and their growth in domestic and/or international markets. This paper therefore aims to address key themes such as motivation to start-up, growing the business, gender issues and the challenges faced by these women.Introduction the global outlook for female entrepreneurs has never been more encouraging (Riebe, 2003). Internationally, one in ten women is self-employed, and it is estimated that women own and manage up to one third of all businesses in developed countries. Nelton (1998) regarded this growth of female entrepreneurship since the 1970s (from 5 per cent to 38 per cent in 30 years, Hisrich et al., 1997) as one of the most significant, yet quietest, revolutions of our time.In addition, it is evident that the entrepreneurial activity of these female entrepreneurs is making a distinct difference in their communities and economies, in both the developed and developing countries. Yet despite the growing number of female entrepreneurs:… we know surprisingly little about women entrepreneurs' business practices, survival and growth strategies, and their perceptions of their entrepreneurial careers (Starr and Yudkin, 1996).In addition, despite the extent of female entrepreneurs involvement in new business formation, "the economic impact of women led businesses has been down-played" (Carter et al., 2002):Female entrepreneurship is an under-researched area with tremendous economic potential and one that requires special attention (Henry, 2002).This paper, therefore, endeavors to address these issues through a six-country study of female entrepreneurs. It examines both the start-up and growth of these entrepreneurial firms and aims to provide insight to this under-researched area.Overview of literature motivations for start-up addressing the entrepreneur's personal motivations for initiating start-up activities has received significant attention in the entrepreneurial literature (Carter, 2000a,b) and is considered one of the key components for entrepreneurial success (Timmons and Spinelli, 2003). The literature often reveals various "push" and "pull" factors as motivators for business start-up (Alstete, 2002) or alternatively negative and positive factors as discussed by Deakins and Whittam (2000). The "push" or negative factors are associated with the necessity factors that force the female into pursuing her business idea. These can be redundancy, unemployment, frustration with previous employment, the need to earn a reasonable living and a flexible work schedule, reflective of the family caring role that is still...

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