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International Handbook of Women and Small Business Entrepreneurship

Edited by Sandra L. Fielden and Marilyn J. Davidson

The number of women entering small business ownership has increased significantly across the world in recent years. These women make a crucial contribution to the economic growth and development of local, national and global economies. Yet, despite their increasing numbers, they have received comparatively little attention from the academic community. This comprehensive and coherent book redresses the balance and provides an up-to-date, theoretical review of this important area of study. A distinguished group of international contributors presents the latest work from the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada, India and Singapore, which explores practical initiatives and strategies related to the experiences of women entering small business entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 6: The Financing of Small Businesses – Female Experiences and Strategies

Susan Marlow and Dean Patton


6 The financing of small businesses – female experiences and strategies Susan Marlow and Dean Patton Introduction The availability of finance and access to that finance is a critical element to the start-up and consequent performance of any enterprise. Hence, any barriers or impediments to accessing appropriate levels or sources of funding will have an enduring and negative impact upon the performance of affected firms. Although findings have been somewhat inconsistent, recent research does support the notion that women entering self-employment will experience specific barriers and hurdles to accessing both informal and formal sources of business funding and these are related to their gender (Carter and Rosa, 1998; Marlow, 2002). Part of the problem in establishing any clear links between the issues of gender, finance availability, accessibility and provision arises from the fact that attaining suitable and sufficient funding is a ‘problem’ for the self-employed per se. This has been usefully illustrated in the UK recently by the contentious debate regarding excessive bank charges levied upon smaller firms, the potential detriment this represents to their viability and performance and what response the government might make to regulate such charging (Cameron and Shrimsley, 2002). Hence, to explore these issues in greater depth and within the context of current debate, this chapter will review the generic provision of finance to smaller firms and then, critically evaluate the manner in which women are accommodated within, or excluded from, such provision. Moreover, in recognition of the broader aspects of gender discrimination and...

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