Abstract

This study investigates entrepreneurs’ involvement of females in their social networks. It adds to previous research on social networks and gender by shifting the focus from the gender of ‘ego’ to the gender of ‘alter’. Most gender research in entrepreneurship is trying to explore if and how women adapt different practice throughout the entrepreneurial process than their male counterparts, and if and how women are disadvantaged as entrepreneurs. One of the often mentioned differences between female and male entrepreneurs is their social networks.

A small body of literature focuses on differences in social networks between female and male entrepreneurs. Although the empirical results still are inadequate, some consistency has emerged. However, so far interests within entrepreneurial networks have mainly been on gender of ego, and not gender of alter. In this study, focus is on gender of alter, and specifically we are interested in what influences entrepreneurs’ involvement of females in their networks. Building on homophily theory, social support theory, relational theory and the concept of emotional closeness, five hypotheses are developed.

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