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Female entrepreneurs more likely to think social

New research by a business school PhD candidate suggests more women tend to think about social gain when starting companies, while men are more likely to focus on economic gain.
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Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

When you quantify the sorts of start-ups started by men versus women, there is quantifiable gender difference, if not a gap, according to newly published research by a doctoral candidate at the Carl H. Lindner College of Business.

Indeed, the research by Diana Hechevarria on more than 10,000 different entrepreneurs across 52 counties found that women were 1.17 times more likely than men to pursue a venture with an environmental or social mission statement.

The data used by Hechevarria and her colleagues was from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitors, which tracks business start-up activities. The findings are included in a new book, "Global Women's Entrepreneurship Research: Diverse Settings, Questions and Approaches."

Commenting about her research, Hechevarria said:

"There's a global trend towards narrowing the gender gap in entrepreneurship to create a favorable environment for social entrepreneurship and socially responsible venturing versus traditional conceptualizations of entrepreneurship being solely for a profit venture. Thus, I think we will likely see more policy to encourage women to continue to pursue these types of start-ups."

I honestly don't think that this finding is all that surprising, given that women have traditionally been taught to focus on others while men are taught that they must be breadwinners. This could be the entrepreneurial expression of traditional upbringing, and I suspect that age, marital status or whether or not an entrepreneurial household was supported by one or two incomes has an impact on the numbers.

I also suspect that the research would yield different results 10 to 15 years from now, as a new age of socially conscious entrepreneurs frustrated by a sluggish recovery and stagnant job market takes matters into their own hands.

Recent research from Nielsen suggests that close to half global citizens under the age of 40 are keenly aware of social causes to the point that they are willing to pay more for brands that clearly support them. It makes sense that these people will seek this philosophy in the companies they work for -- or start themselves.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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