STAGES OF SMALL ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT: A COMPARISON OF CANADIAN FEMALE AND MALE ENTREPRENEURS
J TERENCE ZINGER
The explosive growth in the rate of new business formation by women has spurred renewed research interest in the area of female entrepreneurship and its related economic impact. Yet, there has been a dearth of research into the influence of gender on new venture formation and development. This study draws on data from the annual survey of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor to examine the differences between female and male entrepreneurs in the early stages of small enterprise development. The data was aggregated for the period 2002 through 2004, and consisted of 444 Canadian entrepreneurs: 164 females and 280 males.Gender differences are explored within the context of a variety of personal as well as business-related variables. Women entrepreneurs had a much greater propensity to have established a consumer or business services enterprise, and reported significantly lower income levels. In addition, they were less likely than their male counterparts to work full time at their business, to utilize new technology or to anticipate new business opportunities in the near term.In terms of the enterprise's stage of development, it was found that 62 percent of the enterprises operated by females were ânascentâ small firms, while 38 percent were ânew;â the respective proportions for males were 55 percent and 45 percent. The analysis revealed that the difference between genders on business-related variables strengthens as the firm evolves through the stages of development from nascent to new; however, there was mixed support for the corollary hypothesis that differences in personal characteristics and attitudes diminish during this progression: even for ventures that have reached the ânewâ phase, personal variables continue to act as important discriminators between genders.The paper provides a discussion of the implications of these empirical findings, as well as some directions for future research.
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