A Research Perspective
Edited by Candida G. Brush, Anne de Bruin, Elizabeth J. Gatewood and Colette Henry
Chapter 1: Introduction: Women Entrepreneurs and Growth
Candida G. Brush, Anne de Bruin, Elizabeth J. Gatewood and Colette Henry Women-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial populations in the world. They make significant contributions to innovation, employment and wealth creation in all economies (Brush et al., 2006). Statistics from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) indicate that women entrepreneurs create and run businesses across all of the broad industrial sectors of extraction, transformation, business services and consumeroriented products. Women in developed economies are more likely to start businesses out of opportunity motivation while those in less developed economies are motivated by necessity. Latin America and Asia have higher rates of entrepreneurial activity for women than Europe and the US. However, women entrepreneurs make significant contributions to economies in terms of jobs, innovations and gross national product (Allen et al., 2007). Despite the growing importance of women entrepreneurs, they are understudied and the paucity of research on the phenomenon of women’s entrepreneurship is well documented (Baker et al., 1997; de Bruin et al., 2006, 2007). Recent literature reviews suggest that studies about women entrepreneurs comprise less than 10 per cent of all research in the field. The result is that we know comparatively little about women entrepreneurs even though they contribute positively to gross national product (GNP), jobs, innovations and societal welfare globally. For the past 10 years, the Diana Project has worked to resolve this disparity. THE DIANA PROJECT Early research on women’s entrepreneurship focused on factors influencing the start-up of ventures (Gatewood et al., 2003)...