- Elgar original reference
Edited by Sandra L. Fielden and Marilyn J. Davidson
Chapter 1: Why Women Enter into Small Business Ownership
1 Why women enter into small business ownership Muriel Orhan Introduction The emergence of women entrepreneurs in the world economy has been a major development since the 1980s. Typically, women-owned ﬁrms make up one-quarter to one-third of the total business population across countries (NFWBO, 1997, OECD, 2000). In the United States and Canada, women have been starting businesses at double the rate of men during the 1990s and have been sometimes considered as the new economic driving force of these countries (OECD, 2000). In Europe, the situation is more contrasted, with Nordic countries such as Sweden having experienced a 50 per cent increase in female entrepreneurship during the 1990s, whereas France, for instance, has observed a steady rate of around 30 per cent of the new businesses created by women each year. However, a proper assessment of the economic signiﬁcance of women-owned enterprises is impeded by the general lack of information in this area (Duchéneaut, 1997). The creation of a business is of course the result of a decision, but the element of freedom of choice in the decision may be more or less important. The issue of female entrepreneurs’ motivation is addressed in this chapter on the premises that diﬀerent motivations lead to diﬀerent business outcomes, including, in particular, diﬀerent levels of subsequent ﬁrm growth. Indeed, despite the lack of empirical validation, it has been asserted that: A person who becomes a ‘stand-alone’ self-employed worker with no prospect of expanding his or her business...
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