GAMLA VILLFARELSER och NYA VERKLIGHETER? En studie om föreställningar och förutsättningar för entreprenörskap
Sammanfattning: In most countries around the world, women owned businesses form an important and significant part of the overall entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is fundamental for the prosperity of a country and for that reason there are constant efforts in order to create a favourable and equal business condition. The knowledge about entrepreneurship is continuously increasing and has, among other things, resulted in perceptions of who is an entrepreneur, what constitutes growth, and strategies for how gender equality in entrepreneurship should be promoted. The increased knowledge, and the specific strategies and targeted measures designed to increase women's share in the business world seem, however, not to have resulted in a more equal entrepreneurship. The purpose of the present study is to identify and analyze factors that are considered to affect start-up and growth decisions of women and men, and, to propose a conceptual model that shows how gender-linked beliefs (i.e. fallacies) about entrepreneurship growth and support systems can be obstacles for gender equality in entrepreneurship. Respondents in the thesis are entrepreneurs, women and men, in the county of Jämtland. The results from the five papers in the thesis show that women and men have a high passion and a strong self-efficacy to start businesses but that women's passion is negatively affected because of a higher risk perception. Another important result is that growth can be considered from a qualitative perspective where growth involves both a quest for survival and personal development. Women entrepreneurs do want employment growth but the condition for that is that they need access to a fair support system already in the previous lifecycle phases. The results further show that the current support system comprises a narrow definition of growth and that gender questions do not seem to have had an impact when allocating government funds. Together, the above results help to dispel some of the existing conceptions of reality. The thesis concludes: Women, as well as men, possess the passion and the self-efficacy to start and growth a business, but women are not perceived as potential growth entrepreneurs, and therefore they only receive a fraction of the total business support. This leads to a higher risk perception which cancels out the influence of passion on women’s start-up decision. Previous strategies for business equality in Sweden do not seem to have been successful. Instead strategies must be reshaped and based on a conception of reality where both women and men are considered growth entrepreneurs.Keywords: entrepreneurship, women entrepreneurs, risk, passion, self-efficacy, gender equality, business life cycle, business support system.
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