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This chapter is from the book

The Plan for this Book

This book provides a look at the financing gap that apparently keeps qualified women-led firms seeking growth capital from getting the money they need. In it, we set out to discover precisely what the critical perceptions about women and their entrepreneurial leadership qualifications are. We look at what is and is not true—both generally and specifically—and we make recommendations about how women entrepreneurs can overcome these hurdles. We investigate the strategic choices that women entrepreneurs make to determine the impact of these choices on scalability and growth potential. Finally, we examine how well women are connected to key resource providers—how they get heard and seen and how credible they are with those decision makers.

In Chapter 2, we begin with a discussion of the pathways to growth, showing that not all women aspire to grow, and detailing the challenges encountered in this process. We discuss the nature of the personal and strategic hurdles growth oriented women encounter and explore the reasons why these exist. In Chapter 3 we present an overview of the process of financing growth and the alternatives available. The range of aspirations and commitment to growth are covered in Chapter 4, and the influences of human capital components are considered in Chapter 5. Chapter 6 explores the financial savvy and risk propensity of women. The effects of strategic choice of industry sector and business potential on growth are discussed in Chapter 7. Chapter 8 presents a discussion of networks and social capital, and Chapter 9 examines how women build powerful management teams. Chapter 10 investigates the network connections (and disconnections) that women have with venture capitalists and offer suggestions about why there are gaps and how those can be closed. We conclude with a look at the future for women and growth ventures.

By identifying hurdles and suggesting strategies for overcoming these, we hope to contribute to new wealth and reward for all the players. However, our work goes much further than this. In our study of women entrepreneurs and their quest for growth capital, we learned that the obstacles confronting women in their quest for growth are pervasive throughout our society. The widely held beliefs about women, their businesses, and ability to create weath influence decision making in corporate, non profit, and entrepreneurial settings. A better understanding of what the hurdles are and what misconceptions they include can provide guidance to women in any profession. It is important to note that this study is directed at the financing strategies of women entrepreneurs in the United States, but our research extends to other countries, where we consistently found the challenges to be even greater and the persistence of these beliefs might be even stronger.

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