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Women Entrepreneurs Across Racial Lines

Issues of Human Capital, Financial Capital and Network Structures

Andrea E. Smith-Hunter

Women entrepreneurs command an increasingly large presence at the international and national levels. A significant part of this impact is due to growing numbers of minority women becoming entrepreneurs. This volume provides some of the most comprehensive data to date on the topic of women entrepreneurs across racial lines. It offers a systematic and conceptual framework for understanding issues of network structures and human and financial capital, analyzed through a comparative analysis of minority and white women entrepreneurs.
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Chapter 2: Review of Literature on Women Entrepreneurs

Andrea E. Smith-Hunter


Introduction The literature on women entrepreneurship, while not as vast as that on male entrepreneurship, does provide a varied picture of women entrepreneurs’ differing critical dimensions. The contributions in the past decade on the latter group have, however, been significant, providing us with a look into an area of entrepreneurship that is said to be explosive and significant to the well-being of any modern society. Significant, because most women entrepreneurs are concentrated in the small business sector and this sector is often seen by economists as important to the survival and continuous cyclical patterns of a country’s economy (Watkins and Watkins, 1986; Maysami and Goby, 1999). With this backdrop in mind, this chapter looks at what has been covered and investigated in the literature on women entrepreneurship. It can be seen as being divided into two distinct sections. The first section covers areas such as: (i) the ever-increasing numbers of women entrepreneurs in today’s marketplace; (ii) their motivation for entering entrepreneurship, their viability and the obstacles they face; and (iii) participation rates in franchising and in traditional (industries such as services and retail trade) and non-traditional (construction, mining and wholesale trade) industries. Women entrepreneurs are also looked at in terms of their participation in home-based businesses, with a brief look at women on the international front. The second section of this chapter is threefold and takes a look at the issues most pertinent to the current study, under the headings of human capital, financial capital and network structures. The chapter...

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