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Edited by Lize A.E. Booysen, Regine Bendl and Judith K. Pringle

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Edited by Shumaila Yousafzai, Alain Fayolle, Adam Lindgreen, Colette Henry, Saadat Saeed and Shandana Sheikh

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Anne Kamau, Paul Kamau, Daniel Muia, Harun Baiya and Jane Ndung’u

Anne Kamau, Paul Kamau, Daniel Muia, Harun Baiya and Jane Ndung’u contribute to the discussion on the growth and business support of small-scale, informal women entrepreneurs by going beyond economic measures such as financial support. Drawing upon survey data from 398 small-scale women traders in Nairobi, Kenya, the authors outline the importance of investment in social protection for the business support and growth of women entrepreneurs, which may help to increase their business performance. In so doing, they challenge the notion of underperformance that is associated with women entrepreneurs, particularly those in the informal economy, and highlight the role of informal social networks that can provide social protection to women entrepreneurs in the informal sector, easing their financial, psychological and social burden.

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Grace Khoury, Wojdan Farraj and Suhail Sultan

Grace Khoury, Wojdan Farraj and Suhail Sultan explore the fact that female-owned home-based businesses (HBBs) are often characterized by underperformance, as many prefer to remain in the informal sector. In their study it is argued that few women attempt to formalize their HBBs due to the challenges associated with the legitimization process, leaving the majority preferring to endure constrained performance rather than to pursue the otherwise cumbersome alternative. The chapter’s aim is to investigate the challenges faced by female-owned HBBs in Palestine when seeking formalization and to highlight the initiatives provided by the various institutions to encourage these women to persist in their endeavours, and, possibly, to formalize. The findings demonstrate that the most challenging factors are of an institutional nature, both formal (weak institutions, tax policies and support services) and informal (socio-cultural constraints). Moreover, few successful initiatives were introduced by various institutions to encourage these women to formalize their HBBs.

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Monique Boddington and Shima Barakat

Monique Boddington and Shima Barakat study the gendered entrepreneurship discourse by challenging the stereotypical characterizations relating to the underperformance of women entrepreneurs within an education setting. Highlighting the impact of women-only business education programmes on women’s entrepreneurship in the UK, the authors explore the effect of business education programmes that are tailored to women on women’s self-efficacy and start-up initiatives. They evaluate the impact of a learning intervention (business education tailored to the needs of women in science and engineering) through a women’s entrepreneurial programme (EnterpriseWISE) aimed at postdoctoral researchers and PhD researchers at the University of Cambridge, UK. Adopting a qualitative stance, they explore the change facilitated by EnterpriseWISE in increasing women’s entrepreneurial self-efficacy and encouraging them to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career choice. Presenting an alternative gendered order of entrepreneurial practice in education, their findings suggest that programmes for women, such as EnterpriseWISE, create a safe working environment that offers them a reflexive space, provides alternative role models, and encourages women to take action towards pursuing an entrepreneurial career.

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Natalie Sappleton

Natalie Sappleton highlights the facilitators of women’s entrepreneurship that can overcome constraints on their performance. Natalie explains the importance of accounting for the role of the industrial sector in analysing the link between gender and performance in entrepreneurship. Drawing on previous research on entrepreneurial segregation, particularly vertical and horizontal segregation, Sappleton delineates the importance of analysing entrepreneurial performance and success beyond narrow industry categories and business sectors. She also calls for consideration of the industry’s location and specific types of businesses when comparing male entrepreneurs with female entrepreneurs. Finding that previous research only broadly demarcates industrial sectors into ‘retail’ and ‘services’, she highlights the complexity between the business context and gendered business outcomes and calls for the inclusion of diverse types of businesses when evaluating male- and female-owned enterprises. Natalie also contends that the empirical existence of entrepreneurial segregation means that women owner-operators are channelled into business sectors that are riskiest, that attract limited external financing, and that focus on local markets. Thus, the so-called underperformance of women-owned enterprises should be understood and treated as a manifestation and outcome of entrepreneurial segregation.

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Ruta Aidis

Ruta Aidis’s chapter explains the influences of gendered stereotypes in entrepreneurship and examines the impact on growth-oriented women entrepreneurs and their ability to access leadership positions. Ruta suggests that, even when women leave the corporate sector to take on entrepreneurial careers and are successful in their ventures, they are limited by the entrepreneurial ‘glass ceiling’. Drawing on institutional theory and role congruity theory, Ruta explains that gendered impediments for women constrain their ability to access leadership positions. Ruta further shows that gendered stereotypes which view leadership as a male characteristic make it less socially desirable for women to grow their businesses and affect their ability to acquire the resources they need.

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Aija Voitkane, Jeaneth Johansson, Malin Malmström and Joakim Wincent

Aija Voitkane, Jeaneth Johansson, Malin Malmström and Joakim Wincent explore the myth of women’s underperformance as reflected in Swedish governmental financiers’ social interactions when they analyse ventures for investment. Given Sweden’s reputation of being far ahead of other countries in terms of gender-equality issues, one may wonder why women in Sweden are still severely under-represented in entrepreneurship. The authors employ Butler’s theory of identity in conceptualizing financiers’ process of performing gender and entrepreneurial identity in discussions to offer a model that elaborates on the myth of women entrepreneurs’ underperformance. Observing governmental financiers’ meetings, they consider culture and the discourse that takes place in financiers’ performance of entrepreneurial identities and, thus, the construction of the underperformance myth. The authors adopt a symbolic-interpretative lens to explain how men and women financiers interpret and attribute meanings to gender relationships in their assessment work. They also show that such interpretations can influence their interactions both within their organization and with the ventures that apply for financing.

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Alina Zapalska and Dallas Brozik

Alina Zapalska and Dallas Brozik advance the framework of indigenous entrepreneurship by studying the context of female Māori entrepreneurs who operate in New Zealand’s tourism industry. They document that the collective cultural, social and economic value of the Māori female entrepreneurial community has been significant not only for their own communities but also in increasing value for their clients. Māori female entrepreneurs are unique among indigenous peoples in their ability to create and innovate, apply traditional knowledge to new challenges, and draw on the riches of their traditions in their search for a better future of their communities and customers. The authors outline the elements of female entrepreneurial sustainability based on cultural, natural and environmental fundamentals in the context of indigenous entrepreneurship. They draw on four major themes of entrepreneurship – cultural and social norms, entrepreneurial capacity, organizational drivers and constraints, and land and resources – to analyse entrepreneurial characteristics and factors that enhance or curb the success of Māori female entrepreneurs. Their findings suggest that prominent barriers for growth include the lack of financial capital, inadequate human capital, and lack of adequate network structures, the availability of which would enable Māori female entrepreneurs to achieve their social, cultural and ecosystem objectives.