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Women entrepreneurship in small service firms: motivations, barriers and performance

  • Gary Akehurst
  • Enrique Simarro
  • Alicia Mas‐Tur
Registered author(s):

    This article presents an exploratory study on the characteristics of women entrepreneurs and the businesses they run in the Valencia region. Following a close look at the evolution of literature on women entrepreneurs, the study shows how different internal and external factors affect the motivation, obstacles and performance of firms created by women. These results contribute towards a better understanding of business creation by women as they provide an empirical contrast of these variables (motivation, barriers and performance). Purpose : The purpose of this paper is to examine the characteristics of women entrepreneurs and the businesses they run in the Valencia Region of Spain, in order to contribute towards a better understanding of business creation by women, and the elements of motivation, barriers and success that influence and characterize the activities of women entrepreneurs. Design/methodology/approach : A random sample of businesses with women founders, in the service sector located in the Valencia Region, were surveyed with a personalized questionnaire focusing on the factors of expansion, financing, marital and family status. Findings : The results of the exploratory research show that different internal and external factors affect the motivation, obstacles to success and performance of firms created by women. It is clear that type of financial support, demographic factors, age at which the new business venture is undertaken, use of family loans and the initial size of firm are all instrumental in subsequent business success. Research limitations/implications : The research was undertaken using a relatively small sample of firms in one region of Spain. The study needs to replicated in a range of different countries in order to further test the generality and generalizability of the substantive results. The implications centre on women entrepreneurs' motivations, business success and failure. Originality/value : This paper contributes to a better understanding of business creation by women and the factors which are instrumental in their success, together with a better understanding of the potential obstacles and barriers.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/02642069.2012.677834
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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The Service Industries Journal.

    Volume (Year): 32 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 15 (January)
    Pages: 2489-2505

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:servic:v:32:y:2012:i:15:p:2489-2505
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    1. Du Rietz, Anita & Henrekson, Magnus, 2000. " Testing the Female Underperformance Hypothesis," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 1-10, February.
    2. Herron, Lanny & Robinson, Richard Jr., 1993. "A structural model of the effects of entrepreneurial characteristics on venture performance," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 281-294, May.
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    8. Davidsson, Per, 1991. "Continued entrepreneurship: Ability, need, and opportunity as determinants of small firm growth," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 6(6), pages 405-429, November.
    9. Jock Collins & Angeline Low, 2010. "Asian female immigrant entrepreneurs in small and medium-sized businesses in Australia," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 97-111, January.
    10. Cowling, Marc & Taylor, Mark, 2001. " Entrepreneurial Women and Men: Two Different Species?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 167-75, May.
    11. Fischer, Eileen M. & Reuber, A. Rebecca & Dyke, Lorraine S., 1993. "A theoretical overview and extension of research on sex, gender, and entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 151-168, March.
    12. Rosa, Peter & Carter, Sara & Hamilton, Daphne, 1996. " Gender as a Determinant of Small Business Performance: Insights from a British Study," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 8(6), pages 463-78, December.
    13. Fay, Michael & Williams, Lesley, 1993. "Gender bias and the availability of business loans," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 363-376, July.
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