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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 5: Human Capital Issues

Andrea E. Smith-Hunter


In Chapter 2, human capital and its related dimensions were described as being at the heart of what was critical to entrepreneurial success. This elevated status results from an understanding that the person – the entrepreneur – and what that individual possesses in terms of skills and abilities, is critical to the ultimate impact those skills and abilities have on the business. The human capital derived throughout a person’s life journey is instrumental to their potential entrepreneurial journey (Carter et al., 1997). This is said to be even more potent if the human capital derived is more specific to business – albeit experiences such as entrepreneurial, management, work and educational experiences (Carter et al., 1997; Carland et al., 1984). When one thinks of an entrepreneur who owns a business, the different roles they play in the labor market process are important and must be considered. First, the entrepreneur is an investor of financial capital. Second, he/she is an owner of the production factors and third, the entrepreneur is an employee and an employer (see Table 5.1). With this multidimensional perspective in mind, it is easy to see why the entrepreneur’s skills and abilities are critical elements in the success of the business. This chapter looks at the dimensions of human capital possessed by the women entrepreneurs across racial lines. The dimensions looked at include: educational levels, pre-business ownership experience, prior entrepreneurial venture experience, similar industry experience and management/supervisory experience, accounting experience and knowledge and experience gained from family, friends and organizations regarding the...

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