Thursday, August 16, 2007

No Ceiling For Women, Glass or Otherwise?

Female entrepreneurs thrive.
There has never been a better time to be a woman with the entrepreneurial bug. Businesses owned by women are the fastest-growing sector of new ventures in the United States. Nearly half of all privately held firms in 2004 were at least 50 percent owned by women, according to the National Foundation for Women Business Owners. Between 1997 and 2004, the number of businesses owned by women grew by almost 20 percent, compared with only a 9 percent increase overall.

But are men and women who are trying to build their own businesses playing the same game? According to several recent studies, the deck is often stacked against female entrepreneurs: Compared with men, women tend to start their ventures with fewer resources, less reliable suppliers, and substantially less early-stage venture funding—a critical financial nudge that helps many businesses survive.

Still, there are other avenues to entrepreneurial success, and women seem to be finding them. In a paper recently published in the Journal of Business Venturing, two business school professors, John Becker-Blease, of Washington State University, and Jeffrey Sohl, of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire, examine how successful women are at getting access to "angel capital," the free-flowing private-equity money that can often make or break a struggling business. In their study,"Do Women-Owned Businesses Have Equal Access to Angel Capital?," the authors use annual survey data from more than 100 angel investing organizations between 2000 and 2004 to compare how businesses owned by men and women fared in their pursuit of investment dollars.
Read more here.

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