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Krisenfestigkeit im Mittelstand | 2024 Women as founders and entrepreneurs - Causes of their persistent underrepresentation

Ongoing research project

Initial Situation/Problem Statement

Undoubtedly, adequate financing is crucial at every stage of the entrepreneurial process. International literature indicates that businesses led by women receive lower funding amounts than those led by men, but this can be explained, among other factors, by differences in size and industry. Consequently, companies led by women and those led by men show little difference in the success of their financing efforts, regardless of the type of financing. However, according to some international studies, the financing success of women-led businesses is partially achieved at the cost of less favorable financing terms. Furthermore, businesses led by women less frequently apply for loans, partly due to the expectation that their loan applications will be rejected (so-called self-censorship). Overall, financing obstacles may not be the primary cause of the underrepresentation of women in Germany. However, it remains unclear to what extent these findings, largely based on international evidence, apply to Germany specifically.

Research Objective/Approach

The aim of this subproject is to analyze the current financing situation of companies led by women and men, thereby verifying whether the international findings also hold true for Germany. Special attention will be given to financing terms and self-censorship. The data sources for this analysis will include the KfW Mittelstandspanel, the KfW Gründungsmonitor, and the IAB-/ZEW-Gründungspanel, allowing for differentiation between various phases of the business life cycle. The quantitative analyses will be conducted.


Rosemarie Kay
Tel. +49 228 7299730

Profile of Rosemarie Kay