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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 8: The State of Women Entrepreneurs in the United States

Andrea E. Smith-Hunter


Introduction The last four chapters provided a solid sample of women entrepreneurs across racial lines in the United States. This chapter serves as an important and integral step in completing a composite of the state of women entrepreneurs. It begins by assessing the primary reasons why potential and future women entrepreneurs exit the mainstream labor market. It continues by assessing the statistical place of women entrepreneurs in America, then hones in on women entrepreneurs in certain diverse racial groups, specifically African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans. The chapter ends by taking a comprehensive look at financial capital and what results from lack of access. Recently completed government reports reaffirm the need to take a closer look at the implications of access, especially across racial lines. There is thus a need to delve deeper into this important resource, as increasing numbers of new and diverse women entrepreneurs enter this field. Exit Strategies From The Mainstream Labor Market During the last two decades and especially in the last 10 years, several sources have documented the barriers to women’s advancement in corporate America and their resulting exit into one of the main alternatives – entrepreneurship (Moore and Buttner, 1997; Coughlin and Thomas, 2002; Catalyst Guide, 1998). The barriers highlighted included: stereotyping and misperceptions about women’s abilities and their long-term commitment to business careers; exclusion from informal networks and channels of communication; lack of access to mentors; unwillingness of managers to ‘risk’ putting women in key developmental assignments; and salary inequities and...

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