Gender and entrepreneurial capital: implications for firm performance

Shaw, Eleanor and Marlow, S. and Lam, W. and Carter, Sara L. (2009) Gender and entrepreneurial capital: implications for firm performance. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 1 (1). pp. 25-41. ISSN 1756-6266 (

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The purpose of this paper is to discuss the interplay between gender, entrepreneurial capital and firm performance. Using matched sample data, the paper considers how gender shapes the possession of entrepreneurial capital and discusses the implications of capital variance for business performance. The methodology was designed to collect data about the entrepreneurial capital of small firm owners and the performance of their firms. A sample of 30 matched pairs of business owners (30 male, 30 female) was created. Data were collected in two stages involving a telephone survey followed by face to face semi-structured interviews. The findings reveal an interplay between economic, human, social and symbolic capital and suggest that our understanding of the possession and impact of entrepreneurial capital on firm performance can be advanced by recognising the convertible nature of entrepreneurial capitals. The paper also draws attention to the impact which human capital, particularly age and experience, can have on the accumulation of entrepreneurial capital. The paper identified the value in exploring the convertibility of entrepreneurial capitals and the benefits of investigating all forms of capital. The paper identifies gender as a critical influence and suggests that the relationship between gender and engagement in entrepreneurship should be more fully understood and addressed by policies designed to encourage and support business ownership. The theoretical and methodological framework developed for this study lays the foundation for extending and developing literature on entrepreneurial capital and firm performance research.