A Global Research Perspective
New Horizons in Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Candida G. Brush, Nancy M. Carter, Elizabeth J. Gatewood, Patricia G. Greene and Myra M. Hart
Chapter 4: State of the Art of Women’s Entrepreneurship, Access to Financing and Financing Strategies in Denmark
Helle Neergaard, Kent T. Nielsen and John I. Kjeldsen INTRODUCTION In the beginning of the 1990s, Danish policies directed towards spawning entrepreneurship were primarily a means to reduce unemployment, among other things through income support to individuals who started a new business (Blenker et al., 2003). However, the political efforts towards increasing entrepreneurship saw a change in the middle of the 1990s and approaching the millennium. There was new emphasis on developing entrepreneurship via education at various levels and stimulating technology transfer from universities to industry. There was added support for knowledge and technology-based entrepreneurship with the establishment of incubator environments, in particular, ICT and biotechnology, and the provision of seed capital in the form of government guaranteed loans (see reports from The Danish Government, 2003a and b). Though not discriminatory, neither were these initiatives proactive in terms of supporting women or minority groups. In Denmark there are no affirmative action initiatives directed towards such groups; politicians apparently perceive that women in particular will not welcome such initiatives. This perception is based on anecdotal research that indicates that women would rather compete on the same terms as men in order not to be stigmatized. Until the end of the 1990s, very little was known about entrepreneurship in Denmark, with even less attention to the subset of entrepreneurs who are women. Notable exceptions include Women Entrepreneurs: Now and in the Future (Nielsen and Kjeldsen, 2000), which focused on elucidating the general pattern of entrepreneurship, and The Circumstances of Women Entrepreneurs (Kjeldsen...
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