A Global Research Perspective
Edited by Candida G. Brush, Nancy M. Carter, Elizabeth J. Gatewood, Patricia G. Greene and Myra M. Hart
Chapter 6: Women’s Entrepreneurship in Germany: Progress in a Still Traditional Environment
Friederike Welter A. INTRODUCTION: ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN GERMANY Whilst support policies for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a long tradition in Germany going back to the 1950s, the late 1990s saw a particular concentration on start-ups in an attempt to push new businesses and create new employment possibilities. Both federal and the state governments initiated a number of new approaches to support new and existing enterprises and entrepreneurship from the mid-1990s onwards, without this initiative losing its momentum after the elections in September 1998, which ended the 13-year government of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Chancellor Kohl. On the whole, women have gained in importance in the overall labor force and their share increased during the 1990s. However, women still account for less than half of the total workforce. Current statistical data for mid-2003 show the numbers of women and men in the overall workforce amounting to 16176 millions (44.7 percent) and 19996 millions (55.3 percent) respectively. Despite the ongoing support focus on new businesses, the late 1990s saw a decrease in business start-ups,1 mainly due to an overall economic decline. Start-up rates, which reached their highest level with a total number of 531000 in 1991, have been decreasing more or less continuously since 1998, dropping to 455000 in 2001, whilst the rates of market exits increased until 1999. Only in 2000 and 2001 the trend was reversed, although business closures in 2001 were still considerably higher compared with the early 1990s. Nowadays, the total entrepreneurial activity rate...
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