Are Successful Women Entrepreneurs Different from Men?
J. McGrath Cohoon
University of Virginia; University of Colorado at Boulder - National Center for Women & Information Technology
Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization, Pratt School of Engineering; Stanford University - Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
May 11, 2010
Women are one particularly understudied group of entrepreneurs. We know very little about female entrepreneurs, and our ignorance of this important demographic is a serious blind spot in any effort to increase the total number of entrepreneurs participating in our economy. What little we do know suggests that women are not nearly as active in the entrepreneurial space as they could be.
This study attempts to address part of this knowledge gap. This based on data were collected in 2008-2009 from 549 respondents from randomly selected high-tech companies who were invited to participate. It compares the backgrounds, and experiences and motivations of men and women entrepreneurs.
Our findings show that successful women and men entrepreneurs are similar in almost every respect. They had equivalent levels of education (slightly less than half earned graduate degrees), early interest in starting their own business (about half had at least some interest), a strong desire to build wealth or capitalize on a business idea, access to funding, and they largely agreed on the top issues and challenges facing any entrepreneur.
The data also identify some small but potentially informative gender differences among successful entrepreneurs. For instance, motivations for starting a business differed slightly between men and women. The latter were more likely to cite a business partner’s encouragement as a key incentive to take the plunge. Women also were more likely than men to get early funding from their business partners.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, womenworking papers series
Date posted: May 12, 2010
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