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5 Gender and new venture creation Siri Terjesen, Amanda Elam and Candida G. Brush INTRODUCTION Entrepreneurship is recognized as a major driver of economic growth through innovation, industry dynamics, job creation and other effects. This chapter takes a broad approach to the definition of female entrepreneurship, incorporating Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) guidelines (Reynolds et al. 2005) that the individual is actively involved in starting or is currently an owner of a business, as well as definitions from Lavoie (1984–85, p. 34): ‘head of a business who has taken the initiative of launching a new venture, who is accepting the associated risks and the financial, administrative, and social responsibilities, and who is effectively in charge of its day-to-day management’, and Starr and Yudkin (1996): ‘person who has played a significant management role in the start and building of the business and has held equity’. Women play important roles in this entrepreneurial activity as creators, owners and managers of business ventures. For example, in the United States, women-owned firms with 50 per cent ownership number 10.4 million, employ 12.8 million people and generate $1.9 trillion in sales (Center for Women’s Business Research 2008). However, many countries are not realizing their full entrepreneurial potential, owing to the lack of women creating and managing new business activities (Allen et al. 2008). A consistent finding in comparative population studies is that entrepreneurship is a predominantly male activity. As depicted in Figure 5.1, GEM’s annual survey of start-up activity entrepreneurship reveals that women account for...
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