2020-2023

Project Director: Sari Pekkala Kerr, Ph.D.

Funded By: The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Project Summary: This study will examine entrepreneurship as a career choice for women.

Prior studies have found that firms founded by women are less likely to exhibit rapid growth and receive less venture capital funding. In fact, a previous study by Dr. Kerr noted that, even among high-tech entrepreneurs, women are more risk averse and demonstrate different personality traits than their male counterparts. Yet, in many industries, women-owned firms tend to out-survive those earned by men.

This research study will use a unique, large-scale data set that includes firm-household information and family composition to evaluate the timing and manner in which women’s career trajectories include entry to entrepreneurship. The study will investigate whether self-employment and/or entrepreneurship can be seen as an avenue of providing more time flexibility when, for example, the demands of a young family require a large time commitment. Dr. Kerr will also examine whether female entrepreneurs have a different vision in terms of future growth of their companies as compared to men running similar companies, and whether they engage differently in activities that foster long-term business growth, like innovation and strategic networking.

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