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Edited by Cristina Díaz-García, Candida G. Brush, Elizabeth J. Gatewood and Friederike Welter

Written by leading scholars from a wide range of countries, this book advances the understanding of women's entrepreneurship by drawing attention to the contexts in which they operate. With its impact on gendered institutions and gendered social forces, it will be of interest for researchers, faculty and students as well as policy-makers and practitioners. It is the fifth in the series of books produced in partnership with the Diana International Research Network.
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Michela Mari, Sara Poggesi and Luisa De Vita

This chapter investigates how personal, environmental and social context variables influence Italian female firms’ performance. Results show that some personal and environmental variables, traditionally influencing European and North American female firms’ performance, are statistically significant in the case of Italy. Moreover, differently from our hypotheses, the role of the family does not seem to affect the analysed firms’ performance.
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Alanna Ford and Sarah Cooper

Artisans working in the developing world face substantial challenges, including unreliability of income, exploitation by middlemen, and high costs of running their businesses. Founded in 2012 by three women from two continents, Soko is a social enterprise based in Nairobi that connects Kenyan jewellery makers to Western consumers via a mobile phone application and the Internet. It is working to help artisans, the majority of whom are female, bypass the pitfalls of traditional marketing channels by engaging in direct peer-to-peer trade. This chapter draws from literature on social entrepreneurship and the artisan context as well as primary data from interviews and surveys. Using Soko as a case study, it evaluates its social impact in order to generate insights for the wider social entrepreneurship and development communities.
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Dina Nziku

Females’ involvement in starting and developing their own businesses provides job opportunities and ensures that women have an active role in the development of the economy. Therefore, female entrepreneurship and small business activities have become important topics in recent years. This study of Tanzanian female entrepreneurs investigates the factors which may influence women’s decision to start their own businesses. A literature review has been conducted to identify the general economic and environmental factors influencing female entrepreneurship. This is followed by an evaluation of government policies and strategies influencing start-up decisions. Finally, the author identifies some of the key barriers to start-up decisions among female entrepreneurs in Tanzania. The study provides a comprehensive summary of the literature with regard to the entrepreneurial experience of women, along with policy measures and strategies required to encourage female entrepreneurs within Tanzania and other countries of sub-Saharan Africa. This study provides policy makers, governmental and non-governmental organizations/institutions with additional evidence on female entrepreneurs within sub-Saharan Africa. This is useful in developing suitable strategies to help female entrepreneurs’ start-ups. The findings of this study can enhance the role of policy makers at every level of government, and assist legislative, regulatory and business support initiatives among female entrepreneurs.
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Matilde Ruiz Arroyo, María del Mar Fuentes Fuentes and Ana María Bojica

This chapter analyses the role played by gendered institutional contexts in the rate and type of women’s entrepreneurship across countries. With institutional theory as our theoretical framework, we adopt a macro-level perspective in order to better understand the factors explaining the supply of women entrepreneurs in a country. In approaching different institutional contexts, we consider both formal and informal gendered institutions at the country level (political empowerment and social capital, respectively), and study their relationship with the level of female entrepreneurial activity. As well as the overall rate of female entrepreneurial activity, we evaluate the model for opportunity-driven and necessity-driven female entrepreneurship. Our empirical analysis draws on a dataset composed of 97 country-level observations distributed across 62 countries, with data compiled from several secondary sources corresponding to 2008 and 2009. Our results suggest that, with respect to opportunity-driven women’s entrepreneurship, both of the gendered institutions examined are relevant explanatory factors. Our findings open up lines for future research in the promising intersection between institutional theory and women’s entrepreneurship, and also offer important implications for policy design.
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Janina V. León

Entrepreneurial initiatives imply permanent challenges for individuals involved in the business decision-making process, in developed or developing countries, and even under growth economics contexts. In developing countries, additional pressure is exercised by external market demand whenever small firms export their products, given the harder competition conditions, which can become even more challenging for small firms as well as for those run by women. The present study explores the main features of the entrepreneurial behavior of those women succeeding in exporting their handicrafts produced in microenterprises. For craft exporting, logistics and managing information become obstructive issues, usually overcome by large-scale firms with a market track record, although it is observed that some small firms also persist in these markets. In developing countries with a high rate of women’s participation in microenterprises, it is interesting to learn of their success factors when exporting their crafts. The main objective in this case study is to explore those managerial abilities and strategies implemented by women running their own small firms to overcome various challenges and sell their products abroad. A qualitative and life history approach is followed to learn about their business activity. Close family participation at different stages of the production and sales processes as well as the women’s previous experience and current connections with large trading organizations emerge as the main determinants for reducing overall costs, selling abroad, and becoming sustainable in the market. Based upon case studies in Lima, Peru, we analyze the entrepreneurial behavior of these women from the first stages of their craft firms when starting production, to their management activity and diverse strategies to sell their handicrafts abroad, as well as their personal expectations.
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Cristina Díaz-García, Candida G. Brush, Elizabeth J. Gatewood and Friederike Welter

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Teita Bijedić, Siegrun Brink, Kerstin Ettl, Silke Kriwoluzky and Friederike Welter

Empirical studies show an under-representation of women in innovative activities across all countries; however, to date, research is only just starting to discuss gender influences on the innovativeness of persons or companies. This chapter provides an overview over the current state of knowledge on innovations of female entrepreneurs in Germany, and discusses the reasons for the empirical finding of a lower degree of innovative activities of female-led businesses. Besides an empirical focus on male-dominated sectors and on certain types of innovations, possible explanations are sector preferences of women entrepreneurs and the scope of their business activities, which in turn influences the resources at hand. We attribute these two factors to the institutional framework on the one hand and gendered individual preferences on the other hand, both of which result from the traditional role models that (implicitly or explicitly) prevail in German society. We suggest that a wider understanding of what constitutes innovation needs to be applied in German statistics and surveys, as well as support programmes in order to adequately capture the innovativeness of female entrepreneurship.
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Malin Tillmar

Africa currently has some of the fastest growing economies in the world. The development and growth of indigenous SMEs in these markets is vital in order for wealth to spread. Women entrepreneurs are crucial for achieving gender equality within this growth. Growth of SMEs requires organizing, which in turn requires cooperation between people. This chapter sets out to explore the contextualization of SME cooperation. Over 60 interviews have been conducted with an equal number of men and women entrepreneurs in the three large countries of the East African Community (EAC): Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. The gendered contextual preconditions for cooperation are striking. The chapter discusses enabling and constraining aspects of the context based on the contextual model developed by Welter (2011) and Brush et al. (2014). It also points to the agency which is exercised out of necessity by the women entrepreneurs, and the entrepreneurial strategies they use. Regional similarities are highlighted, as well as variations between the national contexts which appear in the interviews. In short, the enabling aspects of the studied context are some of the soft social aspects of the contexts, while the hard aspects, as well as the institutional and spatial dimensions, have constraining effects for both men and women. The soft context is more enabling for men than for women. The chapter supports the argument that changing the hard and institutional contextual dimensions via legislation and support mechanisms may not solve the real problems of gender inequalities.
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Susan Coleman and Alicia Robb

Prior research suggests that access to financial capital, a key resource input for growth-oriented firms, may be more of a challenge for women-owned firms than for men. In this study we use data from the Kauffman Firm Survey to examine gender differences in firm growth as well as financing patterns and credit market experiences for a large sample of US firms that began operation in 2004 and were tracked from 2004 through 2011. Our findings revealed significant gender gaps in the amount of capital raised for both growth-oriented and non-growth firms, even controlling for credit risk, industry, and other firm and owner characteristics.