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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 6: Gender differences in innovation among US entrepreneurs

Alicia Robb and Susan Coleman

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, gender and management


Innovation and entrepreneurship have been recognized as important contributors to the US economy (Audretsch, 2002; Wong et al., 2005). Over recent decades, there have been major waves of innovation in such disparate industries as technology, healthcare, manufacturing, retailing, education and national defense. Some innovations have involved the development of new products and services, while others have occurred in the area of delivery systems and processes. For example, in the area of product innovation, artificial knees and hips have dramatically increased the mobility and longevity of many senior citizens. At the other end of the age spectrum, the iPod has become a regular feature in the ears, hands and book bags of almost every teen and college student. From the standpoint of service, most firms now provide an online service option to supplement or even replace in-store service personnel, enabling goods to be purchased, returned and repaired online. Fast food restaurants are another example of service innovation. Recognizing that working professionals and parents may not have time for a leisurely meal, restaurants such as McDonald’s, D’Angelos and Subway cater to their need for fast service and increasingly healthy choices. One of the most important areas of innovation in recent years has been in the area of delivery systems and processes. These innovations do not necessarily introduce new products or services, but are alternatively geared toward improving the processes for producing and delivering products and services.

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