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This book explores different topics in the field of female entrepreneurship, such as motivational factors of female entrepreneurs, career perspectives of women, social female enterprises, tourism and hospitality, and emotional and institutional support of female entrepreneurial initiatives in the perspective of different transitional countries.



1. Introduction: Female Entrepreneurship in Transition Economies as a Significant but Understudied Field

Female Entrepreneurship in Transition Economies: Trends and Challenges addresses different topics in the field of female entrepreneurship — motivational factors of female entrepreneurs, career perspectives of women, problems and challenges, innovativeness, risk management, financing opportunities, social female enterprises, tourism and hospitality, emotional and institutional support for female entrepreneurial initiatives and small businesses, and so on — using the perspective of different transitional countries.

Veland Ramadani, Alain Fayolle, Shqipe Gërguri-Rashiti

2. Female Entrepreneurship in Transition Economies: An Overview

Entrepreneurship is an emerging research area among academics because it is generally acknowledged that fostering entrepreneurial activity is associated with greater economic growth (Weeks and Seiler, 2001). From a gender perspective, the rising phenomenon of women becoming entrepreneurs not only encourages economic development but also empowers women (Gill and Ganesh, 2007). Stimulating local economic growth through female entrepreneurship is now a major item on the economic agendas of most countries in transition (Radović-Marković, 2008). In many countries, however, the role of female entrepreneurs was unrecognized until ten years ago. In the first place, their potential role in reducing female unemployment had been unknown. Female entrepreneurs contribute to the diversity of entrepreneurship in the economic process (Verheul and Thurik, 2001). Furthermore, female-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can assist in fighting the trafficking of women, which is of great concern in many countries that are in a transitional state (Aidis et al., 2007). In addition, the impact of female entrepreneurs on a country’s competitiveness, productivity and growth potentials was not known, and therefore, women did not get enough support from society to reach their entrepreneurial and managerial potential (Radović-Marković, 2011a). This statement can be supported by the fact that only five of the Fortune 500 industrial and service companies had female CEOs in the early 1990s (Feminist Majority Foundation, 1991), and of the highest paid officers and directors of the 1,300 largest industrial and service-oriented companies, women accounted for less than 0.5% (Dodge and Gilroy, 1995). The numbers have improved, but at the end of the 1990s, one survey found that only 11% of Fortune 500 board members were women (Mann, 1999). On the other side of the coin, however, often a modest family budget does not afford the ability to generate funds or savings, which most women use to start new businesses (Radović-Marković, 2012). In addition, in most transition and developing countries, barriers to gender entrepreneurship development still exist.

Mirjana Radović-Marković

3. Motivational Factors of Female Entrepreneurs

The first article on business creation by women was published midway through the 1970s. The author was Eleanor Brantley Schwartz (1976), and it appeared in the Journal of Contemporary Business. The article, entitled ‘Entrepreneurship: A New Female Frontier’, was based on 20 interviews with female entrepreneurs. Schwartz combined descriptive and exploratory research to identify traits, motivations, and personal attitudes common to these 20 women, concluding that the main drivers were the same as for men: the need for success, independence, economic reward, and work satisfaction.

Alicia Mas-Tur, Domingo Ribeiro Soriano, Norat Roig-Tierno

4. Female Entrepreneurs’ Start-Ups: Emotional Versus Traditional Support

In view of economic crisis, in which a large proportion of lost jobs have to be replaced in new self-employed-style ventures, women may be in a position to utilize their so-far-unrealized entrepreneurial opportunities. There is growing recognition in entrepreneurship research of the fact that economic behaviour can be better understood within its historical, temporal, institutional, spatial, and social contexts, as these contexts provide individuals with opportunities and set boundaries for their actions. Context can be an asset and a liability to the nature and extent of entrepreneurship, but entrepreneurship can also impact contexts (Welter, 2011). From the viewpoint of entrepreneurship research (Furdas and Kohn, 2010), there is a need to question traditionally expressed problems of female entrepreneurship (traditional roles of women in a society, obstacles to financial resources, etc.) and to shift them to a new paradigm of family support. There has been a lack of empirical evidence about the importance of family support regarding household obligations and childcare as well as the emotional support of family members to women-led start-ups.

Mateja Vadnjal, Jaka Vadnjal

5. Gender-based Determinants of Innovative Activity in Southeast European Established Entrepreneurs

Innovation is uppermost in the minds of decision makers across Europe. In recent years, the connection between innovation and gender has attracted increased interest among policymakers, researchers, and business leaders. There is considerable interest in the design of new measures to get more women involved in technology and process innovations in the business enterprise sector. In the policymaking context, innovation is considered a prerequisite for economic growth (Danilda and Thorslund, 2011).

Karin Ćirec, Dijana Močnik

6. Does an Entrepreneur’s Gender Matter for Credibility and Financing of SMEs?

The importance of entrepreneur credibility, that is, a sense of belief or trust in the individual’s ability to fulfil the entrepreneurial role and create and sustain a viable venture, as perceived by key stakeholders, is attracting increasing attention within contemporary entrepreneurship literature (Tornikoski and Newbert, 2007; Wry et al., 2011). Current literature emphasises the masculine discourse, which informs the idea of the contemporary entrepreneur (Ahl, 2006). As such, women business owners/managers may potentially be disadvantaged by their gender, which devalues the entrepreneurial integrity from the perspective of key stakeholders. Women lack business credibility in the eyes of employees, customers, suppliers and financial institutions (Baines et al., 2003; Belle and La Valle, 2003; Marlow et al., 2008). It has been suggested that it is more difficult for women to raise start-up and growth finance (Coleman, 2000; SBA report, 2013) as well as establish their credibility (Marlow et al., 2008; Freel et al., 2012) when dealing with banks in particular.

Natalia Vershinina, Yulia Rodionova, Susan Marlow

7. Privileging Women’s Voices and Experiences: A Career Perspective to Study Female Entrepreneurship in Transition Economies

Starting one’s own business has become an increasingly popular career choice in transition economies (Amorós and Bosma, 2014; Kuratko, 2005), given the institutional push for business innovation and job creation (Bruton et al., 2008), need and desire to improve one’s life quality and well-being (Moore, 2000), decreasing stability in paid employment (Sweet and Meiksins, 2008), rapid diffusion of information technology (Tzeng et al., 2010), and growing individual needs for personal fulfillment and development through work (Sullivan and Baruch, 2009). Nevertheless, the dominant entrepreneurial career model and its evaluation criteria are still disproportionally associated with masculinity (e.g., entrepreneurial career values, ambitions, competition, independence, and assertiveness in actions; for overviews, see Ahl, 2006; Lewis, 2006), which has rendered women’s status secondary and disadvantaged in the global entrepreneurial scene (Gupta and Turban, 2009; Hughes et al., 2012).

Ziyu Long

8. Gender (In)equality in Entrepreneurship: Challenges for Romania

The field of entrepreneurship has developed very quickly in the last few decades and continues to intensify. It is widely acknowledged that entrepreneurship “is beneficial for economic growth and development” (Wim, 2013).

Emilia Herman, Zsuzsanna Katalin Szabo

9. The Profile of Female Entrepreneurs in the Republic of Macedonia

The purpose of this chapter is to share our findings about female entrepreneurs in the Republic of Macedonia. The Republic of Macedonia is a small country located in Southeast Europe, that is, the Central Balkan Peninsula, and is one of the successor states of former Yugoslavia. The Republic of Macedonia declared its independence on September 8, 1991, and became a member of the United Nations on April 8, 1993. As a result of a dispute with the southern neighbor, Greece, regarding the name issue, it was admitted under the provisional reference of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, abbreviated as FYROM (United Nations, 1993). It covers 25,713 km2 (9,928 square miles), bordering Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece. Its capital is Skopje, which is the largest city of the Republic of Macedonia and inhabited by 30% of the total population. According to State Statistical Office of the Republic of Macedonia (2005), based on the data from the last Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in 2002, the Republic of Macedonia had 2,022,547 inhabitants, which is 3.9% more when compared with the census taken in 1994, and 43% more when compared with the census of 1948. The population of the Republic of Macedonia, according to ethnicity, based on Census 2002, consists of 1,297,981 Macedonians (64.2%); 509,083 Albanians (25.2%); 77,959 Turks (3.9%); 53,879 Romani (2.7%); 35,939 Serbs (1.8%); 19,571 Bosnians/Muslims (0.9%); and 30,688 under the heading of “others” (1.4%). The gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011 was 461,730 million denars (the currency of the Republic of Macedonia) and had increased by 6.4%, in nominal terms, in comparison to 2010. The real GDP growth rate in comparison with 2010 was 2.8% (State Statistical Office of Republic of Macedonia, 2012).

Veland Ramadani, Léo-Paul Dana, Shqipe Gërguri-Rashiti, Hyrije Abazi-Alili

10. Female Entrepreneurship in Albania: State, Trends, and Challenges

This chapter aims to give an overview of female entrepreneurship in Albania. Female entrepreneurship is largely a new phenomenon in the Albanian economy. Only in the last two years has it become an increasingly attractive topic for policymakers to discuss. In this regard, the country suffers from a lack of detailed statistics and policies to address the challenges that female entrepreneurship have to face in the Albanian environment. This chapter is structured in five sections. In the first section, we have presented a summary of the existing literature on female entrepreneurship in Albania. In the second section, we have described briefly the overall macroeconomic environment that led to the development of small and medium enterprises over the last five years, with our special focus continuing to remain on female enterprises. Based on some indicators regarding gender issues, we have analyzed the current development of female entrepreneurship in Albania. In the third and fourth sections, we have elaborated upon the main challenges of female entrepreneurship and assessed policies aimed at encouraging female entrepreneurship in Albania, such as the business climate, access to finance, education and training, policy support, and networking. The chapter concludes with some findings and recommendations to be addressed in the future.

Arbër Demeti, Erjona Rebi, Tefta Demeti

11. The Tourism and Hospitality Industry: Case Studies of Female Polish Entrepreneurs

The transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy has been successful in Poland. Poland was in the forefront of market reform implementation for many years and was a success story during the global financial crisis of 2007. Female-owned businesses that operate in Poland have been very important in the region’s development by enhancing community development, creating jobs, providing a better quality of life for their own families, and improving their local economies. The tourism entrepreneurial firms presented in this study represent sustainable tourism that include orientation toward the enhancement of local culture, folklore, tradition, and generation of prosperity, wealth, income, and employment for workers without affecting the environment and culture of the tourist destinations.

Alina M. Zapalska, Dallas Brozik

12. Female Social Entrepreneurship in Turkey

Social entrepreneurship has generally been accepted as an “entrepreneurial activity with an embedded social purpose” (Austin et al., 2006). However, when we look at the construct in detail, different scholars define it in various ways (Dacin et al., 2010; Cukier et al., 2011). As presented by Dees (2001) earlier on, some think social entrepreneurship refers to all non-profit organizations while some think it is exclusive to non-profits that attempt establishing for-profit or income-generating ventures. Others may also refer to businesses, for-profit organizations, which are also interested in pursuing their social responsibilities.

Duygu Uygur, Elif Bezal Kahraman, Gonca Günay

13. Women Entrepreneurs in Chile: Three Decades of Challenges and Lessons in Innovation and Business Sustainability

Joseph Schumpeter, the Austrian American economist who pioneered the study of entrepreneurship during the last century, in his paper “The Creative Response in Economic History” (1947), claimed that entrepreneurs change the world with innovations and technology. Those “wild spirits,” as he called them, are moved by an Unternehmergeist, or “entrepreneur-spirit”, a concept he coined to describe the intrinsic nature of entrepreneurs as creators of new things or improvers of something already existing.

Maria-Teresa Lepeley, Olga Pizarro, Vesna Mandakovic

14. One Nigerian “Femtrepreneur”: A Case Study of Virtue in Business

For a transition economy, entrepreneurship is one of the activities that contribute greatly to boosting development. Research suggests that business activities run by men and those run by women in Nigeria do not have specific differentiating factors once they are already established (Halkias et al., 2011), nor would the values of men and women entrepreneurs differ much (Fagenson, 1993). In fact, Bruni et al. (2004) raise questions about the unnecessary “othering” of women entrepreneurs, which could end up precisely emphasizing male entrepreneurship as though it were superior. According to Ahl (2006), there is a need for more profound reflection and new directions in research that can give due attention and regard to women entrepreneurs and their distinctive qualities. It is indeed true that an increase in the number of women entrepreneurs would be good for the country’s economic development (Halkias et al., 2011). This could be for many reasons. It could be, for example, that this is a hitherto inadequately tapped resource for national development; Birley et al. (1987) suggest that women are more constant in following through on their business plans. It could be that women have taken a back space for a long time because of cultural considerations that have shaped their involvement in the business space — in Singapore, it would seem that women were rarely allowed to step out of the role culturally assigned to them in that context (Kim and Ling, 2001). These first two possible reasons would indicate that there is room to be filled and it would be good to encourage “femtrepreneurs” to step up and fill it.

Kemi Ogunyemi


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