An Insight into the Networking Approaches of Women Entrepreneurs in Mauritius
16 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2012
Date Written: July 2, 2012
Studies on gender and entrepreneurship often attempt to compare personal characteristics, business practices and behaviour of male and female entrepreneurs. One key element in entrepreneurship that has started to gain attention is networking. Networking can be of strategic importance to entrepreneurs since starting a business requires resources such as capital, labour and information and advice. Networks thus contribute to the access of the needed support and facilities to entrepreneurs and potential ones in starting and operating their businesses effectively. Furthermore, networks are related to business performance as the contacts from these networks form the social capital of entrepreneurs. Research in many countries has shown that although women are involved in networking, they nonetheless lack suitable and effective social networks compared to men. Since it is generally accepted that there is a relationship between networks and the survival and success of businesses, especially in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the main objectives of the present study is to investigate the network composition of female entrepreneurs in Mauritius and also to identify the benefits derived from networking. The study will also identify causes, if any, that hinders the networking practices of women entrepreneurs. Ten women entrepreneurs from diverse sectors formed part of a focus group, the chosen method of data collection for this study. The findings reveal that female entrepreneurs tend to favour family and friends in their contact lists. Their networks comprise more women than men. The reasons and benefits derived from their networks include receiving business support and emotional support. The main hindrance preventing women to network effectively is due to family responsibilities. The findings from this study provides useful insights for support institutions, policy makers and entrepreneurs – especially women entrepreneurs – in identifying ways and means about how to enrich social networks to ensure success and survival of businesses.
Keywords: Entrepreneurs, women, networking, Mauritius
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