Feminine Capital: Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs

Feminine Capital: Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs

Feminine Capital: Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs

Feminine Capital: Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs


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Today, there are over 200,000,000 women business owners around the world. Many of these entrepreneurs are not doing business as usual, nor are they simply leaning in. Rather, they are tapping into feminine capital—the unique skills and sensibilities that they have cultivated as women—to create enviable successes.

Drawing on four decades of award-winning research, Feminine Capital reveals how women are harnessing different approaches to doing business. Barbara Orser and Catherine Elliott detail the pillars of feminine capital and offer new insight into the ways that gender can influence entrepreneurial decision-making. They find that leveraging feminine capital can help women to create distinctive brands, build new markets, and drive profits—all while leveling the playing field in business. In doing so, women are changing our social and economic landscape, one venture at a time.

Dispelling myths and misperceptions that can undermine women-owned ventures, this book takes a fresh look at how female entrepreneurs can leverage their skills, knowledge, and values. Case studies of women entrepreneurs bring key concepts and lessons to life, while learning aids, diagnostic tools, and checklists help readers to construct innovative business models, refine start-up plans, and hone growth strategies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804783781
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Publication date: 03/25/2015
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 7.20(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Barbara Orser is Vice Dean (Career Development) of the University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management. She is Founding Chair of the Canadian Taskforce for Women's Business Growth and has been named one of the Women Executive Network's 100 Most Power Women in Canada. Catherine Elliott is Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management, where she teaches Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management.

Table of Contents

Contents and Abstracts

chapter abstract

The Introduction sets the stage for the book. Feminine capital is defined and positioned within the broader landscape of women's entrepreneurship. The reader is taken on a brief journey to Wolfville, Nova Scotia, a small town in Atlantic Canada, to meet seven feminist entrepreneurs, the women of Wolfville who served as the unexpected source of motivation for this book. All had founded business or social ventures; all spoke about the need for social change. Their commitment to equity through enterprise was inspiring. The chapter then moves forward by outlining the framework of the book, providing a preview of the chapters ahead. It concludes with additional observations by the authors that led to the writing of this book.

1Reframing entrepreneurship
chapter abstract

Chapter 1 debunks misperceptions about female entrepreneurs and explains how expert thinking has contributed to the invisibility of feminine capital. The pervasive nature of stereotypes is discussed and how these unconscious biases help to explain why females are less likely than males to consider venture creation as a career option. The chapter opens with the introduction of five women whose stories are followed throughout the book. After becoming acquainted with these entrepreneurial heroines, readers step back in time to understand how early stereotypes continue to influence the ways in which entrepreneurs are portrayed by academics and the media. Different theoretical perspectives are briefly introduced: neo-classical economics, feminist criticism, liberal, social and entrepreneurial feminism.

2Intention, success and identity
chapter abstract

Chapter 2 gets to the heart of feminine capital by exploring how being female can influence entrepreneurial identity, a building block for enterprise creation. The entrepreneurial identity gap is exposed and discussed. The Entrepreneurial Identity Framework illustrates how identity, success and intention interact as individuals weigh the trade-offs associated with venture creation. This information helps business owners map out how perceptions of success and intention are reflected in their entrepreneurial identity.

3Getting to go
chapter abstract

Chapter 3 describes pathways to venture creation and how women entrepreneurs are 'getting to go.' Motivated by the desire for change—themselves, families and others—women are launching enterprises that align personal values with market opportunities. Readers are presented with four theoretical models: planned strategy, effectuation, family embeddedness and organizational creation. These are illustrated through inspirational stories. The chapter content is then summarized through a gendered matrix of venture creation. Exemplars for each quadrant are provided and this helps to merge theory with practice.

4Enterprise growth
chapter abstract

Chapter 4 explores why some enterprises grow and others do not. Four research-based explanations are presented. Strategies that align founders' expectations with performance are described. A key asset of many successful enterprises is the business model. Innovative business models that fuel enterprise growth are illustrated through three case studies. Many of the enterprises that women start are radically different from traditional, profit-focused ventures. This information can help to broaden the reader's vision of venture creation and guide investment decisions. Learning aids provide tips on defining a suitable growth strategy that fits the reader's business objectives and values.

5Social capital
chapter abstract

Chapter 5 explores the gendered nature of social relationships—the who, what and why of social capital. Readers are introduced to a framework of social capital, centered around the foundational element of trust. Scenarios, reflections and learning aids provide practical advice on building trust and value-added relationships. Research-based insights are provided about the gendered nature and configuration of social networks. Readers are prompted to think about the characteristics of their own social networks so that they can manage their social capital in a strategic way. Different sources of social capital are introduced, including advisory boards, industry and professional associations, informal networks, mentors and friends and family. Special attention is devoted to mentors, because mentoring is a highly effective source of entrepreneurial know-how. Best practices in developing healthy mentoring/protégé relationships are discussed.

6Money matters
chapter abstract

Chapter 6 presents a snapshot of the sources of capital available to aspiring entrepreneurs and how being female is associated with preferences for sources of capital and with success at obtaining financing. Innovative small firm financing strategies are discussed. Four popular myths about money matters are debunked. Diagnostics are then provided to assist readers in assessing their fiscal literacy. Upon completion, readers can match their entrepreneurial intentions with the appropriate types of financial capital. Strategies to increase women entrepreneurs' access to capital are then presented.

7Power in policy
chapter abstract

Chapter 7 describes why it is important for business owners to engage in policymaking and how policies can be used to better support women's entrepreneurship. Scenarios illustrate the implications of gender bias in entrepreneurship policy and programming. These challenges lead to a discussion about gender-based interventions including the relative merits and limitations of mainstream and female-focused small business programming.

8Never underestimate the underestimated woman
chapter abstract

Chapter 8 summarizes the key themes of the book by revisiting feminine capital and entrepreneurial feminism—the foundational concepts advanced in the book—to explain how women's entrepreneurship is changing the ways we think about wealth and power. The paths and outcomes of venture creation are rarely predictable. This is exemplified by the entrepreneurial heroines who are re-introduced in the chapter. Each has sought different goals, faced different challenges, employed different strategies and realized different outcomes. The book closes with a broader discussion about strategies to propel women's entrepreneurship forward.

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