Edited by Sandra L. Fielden and Marilyn J. Davidson
Chapter 15: The Changing Experience of Australian Women Entrepreneurs
Susan Dann and Rebekah Bennett Introduction As the chapters in this Handbook clearly illustrate, the study of women entrepreneurs is a dynamic ﬁeld. Increasing numbers of women are starting up their own businesses and, unlike previous generations, many young women are choosing to become business operators as a career choice, rather than becoming business owners as a result of circumstance. Australian entrepreneurial women are following this same trend with distinct changes in motivations and backgrounds becoming apparent with younger generations generally being better educated and moving into non-traditional ﬁelds of endeavour. As previously mentioned in Chapter 5, relatively little research has been conducted on Australian entrepreneurs, male or female, and where this has occurred much of the focus has been on deﬁning the characteristics and experiences which diﬀerentiate the approaches to business taken by males and females. The ﬁeld is further complicated by the lack of statistics and measurements which focus speciﬁcally on entrepreneurs, as opposed to small-business people. In this chapter the changing experiences of Australian female entrepreneurs; deﬁnitional and contextual factors of entrepreneurship; and small business development are discussed, prior to an overview of recent Australian research into female entrepreneurs. Speciﬁc themes which are addressed include the changing characteristics of Australian female entrepreneurs, age and life stage inﬂuences, government policies and programmes which are encouraging innovation and new venture development, and the increasing importance of technology and rural innovation in developing the Australian economy. Entrepreneurs v small business: Issues of deﬁnition...
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