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Ulrike Guelich and Siri Roland Xavier

This study examines the inherent challenges that women entrepreneurs face within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. We provide cross-country comparisons as well as comparisons with global benchmarks. Heterogeneous contexts result in the need for focused solutions, which provide more effective policy-making strategies to support the different ecosystems for economic growth of women entrepreneurs. In addition, we strive to put forward recommendations based on global practices or benchmarks but modified to reflect ASEAN’s regional values, stemming from family, religion and embedded traditions.

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Colette Henry, Barbara Orser, Susan Coleman, Lene Foss and Friederike Welter

Public policy is a key element within the entrepreneurial ecosystem in that policy has the potential to shape venture creation behavior and entrepreneurial outcomes. In response to studies documenting a gender gap in entrepreneurial activity, government attention to women’s entrepreneurship has increased in the past two decades. Nevertheless, there are few cross-cultural studies to inform policy development. This 13-nation study draws on gender and institutional theory to report on the status of female-focused SME/entrepreneurship policies and to ask: How — and to what extent — do women’s entrepreneurship policies differ among countries? A common methodological approach is used to identify gaps in the policy-practice nexus, highlighting countries where policy is weak but practice is strong and vice versa. Recommendations for future research are advanced.

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Daniela Giménez, Patricia Gabaldón and Cathrine Seierstad

Drawing on a gender-aware framework and institutional theory, this chapter explores the formal institutional factors (economic, anti-discrimination legislation and family policies) which affect women entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean countries. Using the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and Women, Business, and the Law data from IFC-World Bank from 14 Latin American countries, the results indicate that economic and institutional factors affect women’s entrepreneurial activity in the region. While economic and institutional factors affect men and women entrepreneurs, the nature of these structures creates some gender-based variations. Interestingly, they influence to a great extent the nature and magnitude of women’s entrepreneurial activity. Our results provide a deeper understanding of the role of formal institutional factors on women entrepreneurs in a developing region, such as Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Atsede T. Hailemariam, Brigitte Kroon and Marc van Veldhoven

Women entrepreneurs in developing countries such as Ethiopia are often stereotyped as necessity-based entrepreneurs operating in the informal sector of the economy. However, there are women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia who form and develop ventures by their own choice in the formal sector of the economy. Moreover, motivation literature suggests that motivation can develop and change overtime. In this study, self-determination theory (SDT) is used as a guiding framework for improved understanding of motivation to form and develop a venture, with a special interest in how motivation changes in relation to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Interviews with 18 women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia operating businesses in the formal sector identified autonomously motivated and controlled-motivated women entrepreneurs proposed by SDT. The findings also highlight how the type of motivation changes over time. According to SDT, autonomous motivation and motivational change overtime happen when all basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness are satisfied. The link of satisfaction of these psychological needs with entrepreneurial ecosystem providing clues for policy making and women entrepreneurship development interventions are discussed.

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Dev K. Dutta and R. Isil Yavuz

In this chapter, we examine the impact of gender inequality on the success of women-owned ventures, specifically in terms of the latter’s rate of survival and revenue growth. Utilizing liberal feminist theory as the conceptual lens, we test our hypotheses on 4744 US-based ventures founded in 2004 and surveyed over seven years, as part of the Kauffman Firm Survey. We find that while gender inequality does not have a significant impact on firm survival, it does negatively affect the venture’s revenue growth. At the same time, an absence of gender inequality has a significant positive impact on women-owned ventures, making them achieve much higher growth compared to their male-led counterparts. The study findings have important implications for public policy, institutional reforms, and availability of support services at the entrepreneurial ecosystem level.

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Irene M. Lugalla, Luchien Karsten and Clemens Lutz

This chapter draws from Bourdieu’s theory of practice, in particular the concept of cultural capital, to examine influences of the socio-economic background on the growth aspirations of women entrepreneurs in the tourism industry in Tanzania. The goal is to understand women’s growth aspirations in an ecosystem framework. Specifically, we examine how the institutional environment and access to different kinds of capital (social, economic and cultural capital) influence women entrepreneurs’ aspirations to grow their tourism firms. Our findings suggest that one needs to embed the social background in the analysis to understand women’s entrepreneurial aspirations in the Tanzanian context.

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A Comparative Analysis

Tatiana S. Manolova, Candida G. Brush, Linda F. Edelman, Alicia Robb and Friederike Welter

In the introductory chapter to the book we discuss the biological roots of ecosystems and recent work on the entrepreneurship ecosystem concept with a focus on gender. This is followed by a presentation of the chapters in the book and how they collectively elucidate the gendered aspects of entrepreneurial ecosystems and their impact on women entrepreneurs’ growth strategies in different regions around the world. We conclude by summarizing the major insights from this collection of studies and by suggesting some directions for future research.

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Gry Agnete Alsos, Margrete Haugum and Elisabet Ljunggren

Policy makers seeking to stimulate regional prosperity and economic growth are increasingly taking more system-oriented approaches to support entrepreneurial activity. It is argued that a system perspective should be taken also in analyses and policies related to women’s involvement in entrepreneurial activities. Instead of limiting the focus to women and their (lack of) capabilities, the impact of the context – or the structure – should be taken into account. We analyze the results of a policy initiative to strengthen the gender balance of regional entrepreneurial ecosystems in Norway. The policy initiative, the national Program for regional R & D and innovation (VRI), is organized as financial support for networks of regional actors seeking to develop entrepreneurial ecosystems in their regions, complemented with a knowledge support infrastructure made available for the regional systems. The research questions addressed are: 1. What is the relationship between planned gender initiatives, activities conducted and reported results and learning from the activities in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem development? 2. What effects can be seen from the introduction of gender requirements in the regional ecosystem development projects? Three Norwegian regional ecosystems were analyzed: Agder, Hordaland and Trøndelag, which were strategically sampled. The longitudinal document data from the first program period until the on-going period enabled us to examine how plans and actions are influenced by previous results and how the potential learning from the evaluation of the implementation of initiatives from the first period affects the later periods. We find that in the period 2007 to 2016 there has been little development in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystems towards gender balance despite relatively high ambitions, planned gender initiatives, activities and demand on reporting these. Further, we find that the regions use few tools, and thereby gain little effect. We also find some learning throughout the program period but at a superficial level. In the policy there is an unarticulated idea that gender balance leads to gender equality. Analyzing the policy implementation we find little coherence between policy goals, activities carried out and the reporting regime. The ecosystem approach makes it possible to focus on different levels of the ecosystem, e.g. the industry, firm and individual levels. Doing this we find that the innovation policy is carried out at the industry and firm levels, e.g. by building and supporting triple helices (systems), while the individual level is related to the counting of women and men. Hence, there are few efforts to let the women take part in the ecosystem. Our conclusion is that it is demanding by only one policy effort to ensure an economic ecosystem suitable for women. However, policy makers should address gender equality or gender balance as it is necessary to bring attention to the issue. In addition, “toolboxes” on how to achieve goals should follow demands on, for example, gender balance.

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Navjot Sandhu, Jonathan M. Scott, Jenny Gibb, Javed Ghulam Hussain, Michèle Akoorie and Paresha Sinha

Our exploratory chapter offers contextualized empirical evidence and theory of how entrepreneurial finance supports women-led firms in an emergent entrepreneurial ecosystem within the state of Punjab, in northern India. By emphasizing the social, cultural, and informal aspects, we posit that the Punjab context is an emergent entrepreneurial ecosystem in which informal institutions (social structure, culture, entrepreneurs, households, and lenders) and more formal institutions (such as formalized bank lending and educational establishments) are interwoven and interdependent. Drawing on questionnaires of selected women entrepreneurs located in five districts of the Punjab, we found that women entrepreneurs in emergent entrepreneurial ecosystems possess few overall assets, suffer from weak enforcement of financial rights and the existence of unequal inheritance rights. Consequently, they have limited access to community and social resources. Gender-based obstacles, conventional thinking and socio-cultural values aggravate the difficulties faced by women. Due to their lack of access to formal finance, women must approach informal lenders. For example, a quarter of women interviewed reported incidents of sexual harassment by informal lenders, especially in the rural and semi urban areas. Indeed, one-fifth who were exploited by informal lenders belonged to the scheduled classes or lower castes (Dalits: literally ‘the oppressed’), or so-called ‘untouchables’, illustrating the relationship between their caste and types of treatment and behaviour by these informal lenders.

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Edited by Tatiana S. Manolova, Candida G. Brush, Linda F. Edelman, Alicia Robb and Friederike Welter

The renowned group of international contributors to this book provide analysis of where and how gender plays a role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. 11 essays examine how ecosystems influence women entrepreneurs and how women entrepreneurs influence their local ecosystems, both cross-nationally and through in-depth country studies.