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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 15: The Changing Experience of Australian Women Entrepreneurs

Susan Dann and Rebekah Bennett


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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