Table of Contents

International Handbook of Women and Small Business Entrepreneurship

International Handbook of Women and Small Business Entrepreneurship

Elgar original reference

Edited by Sandra L. Fielden and Marilyn J. Davidson

The number of women entering small business ownership has increased significantly across the world in recent years. These women make a crucial contribution to the economic growth and development of local, national and global economies. Yet, despite their increasing numbers, they have received comparatively little attention from the academic community. This comprehensive and coherent book redresses the balance and provides an up-to-date, theoretical review of this important area of study. A distinguished group of international contributors presents the latest work from the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada, India and Singapore, which explores practical initiatives and strategies related to the experiences of women entering small business entrepreneurship.

Chapter 1: Why Women Enter into Small Business Ownership

Muriel Orhan

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship

Extract

Muriel Orhan Introduction The emergence of women entrepreneurs in the world economy has been a major development since the 1980s. Typically, women-owned firms make up one-quarter to one-third of the total business population across countries (NFWBO, 1997, OECD, 2000). In the United States and Canada, women have been starting businesses at double the rate of men during the 1990s and have been sometimes considered as the new economic driving force of these countries (OECD, 2000). In Europe, the situation is more contrasted, with Nordic countries such as Sweden having experienced a 50 per cent increase in female entrepreneurship during the 1990s, whereas France, for instance, has observed a steady rate of around 30 per cent of the new businesses created by women each year. However, a proper assessment of the economic significance of women-owned enterprises is impeded by the general lack of information in this area (Duchéneaut, 1997). The creation of a business is of course the result of a decision, but the element of freedom of choice in the decision may be more or less important. The issue of female entrepreneurs’ motivation is addressed in this chapter on the premises that different motivations lead to different business outcomes, including, in particular, different levels of subsequent firm growth. Indeed, despite the lack of empirical validation, it has been asserted that: A person who becomes a ‘stand-alone’ self-employed worker with no prospect of expanding his or her business generally does so for economic reasons and in...

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