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Women’s Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century

Women’s Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century

An International Multi-Level Research Analysis

Edited by Kate Lewis, Colette Henry, Elizabeth J. Gatewood and John Watson

Women’s Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century is the fourth in the series of books emanating from the DIANA International Research Network. The volume takes a multi-dimensional approach to coalesce a series of chapters around the central theme: gender and entrepreneurship today and in the future. The chapters span a diverse range of countries, methodologies, and levels of analysis – however, they all seek to contribute to an advancing understanding of women and their engagement with entrepreneurial endeavours.

Chapter 2: Academic entrepreneurship: multi-level factors associated with female-led incubator projects

Diamanto Politis, Jonas Gabrielsson and Åsa Lindholm Dahlstrand

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, gender and management


During the past decade there has been a growing interest in developing a better understanding of the issues related to gender in academic entrepreneurship. This stream of research has contributed much to our awareness of the potential barriers facing female academic entrepreneurs. For example: the strong male-oriented entrepreneurship discourse; an under-representation of female academic scientists in senior positions at universities; and the exclusion of women from high-level industrial links and commercial networks (see, e.g., Noordenbos, 2002; Rosa and Dawson, 2006; Murray and Graham, 2007; Ding and Choi, 2008; Tan, 2008; Fältholm et al., 2010). However, much of this research is qualitative with an emphasis on the subjective experiences of female academic entrepreneurs and, further, many of these studies suffer from small samples and poor theoretical grounding. Thus, there is considerable potential for developing this field of research using more theory-driven approaches and larger data sets. In this chapter we set out to study how institutional structures in and around university-based incubators impact women’s entry into academic entrepreneurship. University incubators are entities that operate within larger entrepreneurial ecosystems and whose aim is to accelerate the successful development of start-up and early-stage companies through an array of business support resources and services (Lindholm Dahlstrand and Klofsten, 2002; Hackett and Dilts, 2004; Bergek and Norrman, 2008). They are often funded by tax money and are, therefore, embedded in the political system.

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