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External publication | 2016 Innovation and women’s entrepreneurship – (why) are women entrepreneurs less innovative?

Empirical studies show an under-representation of women in innovative activities across all countries (eg. Bunker et al. 2008; Tonoyan & Strohmeyer 2005/2006), however to date research is only starting to discuss gender influences on the innovativeness of persons or companies (e.g. Alsos et al. 2013; Nählinder et al. 2012, 2015). This chapter provides an overview over the current state of knowledge on innovations of female entrepreneurs in Germany and discusses the reasons for the empirical findig of a lower extent of innovative activities of female-led businesses. Besides an empirical focus on male-dominated sectors and on certain types of innovations, possible explanations are sector preferences of women entrepreneurs   and the scope of their business activities which in turn influences the resources at hand. We attribute these two factors to the institutional framework on the one hand and gendered individual preferences on the other hand, both of which result from the traditional role models which (implicitly or explicitly) prevail in German society. We suggest that a wider understanding of what constitutes innovation needs to be applied in German statistics and surveys as well as support programmes in order to adequately capture the innovativeness of female entrepreneurship.

Bijedić, T.; Brink, S.; Ettl, K.; Kriwoluzky, S.; Welter, F. (2016): Innovation and women’s entrepreneurship – (why) are women entrepreneurs less innovative? In: Diaz, C.; Brush, C.; Gatewood, E.; Welter, F. (Hrsg.): Women's Entrepreneurship in Global and Local Contexts, Cheltenham et al., S. 63-80.


Dr. Teita Bijedić
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Siegrun Brink
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Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Friederike Welter
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