Abstract

Firms started by female entrepreneurs are smaller in terms of financial capital than firms started by male entrepreneurs (Minniti, 2010). Traditional discourse on this gender gap focuses on financial capital constraints of female entrepreneurs which are often based on parochial stereotypes (Freidan, 1995) or lending discrimination (Fairlie and Robb, 2009). This study focuses on preferences. In particular, I examine the importance of exit strategy (continuation, harvest or liquidation) on the preferences of female entrepreneurs for equity and debt capitalization that is accessible from alternative funding sources (Wennberg, Wiklund, DeTienne and Cardon, 2010; De Bruin, Brush & Welter, 2007; cf. Fairlie and Robb, 2009). Exit strategy matters because as Morris, et al., (2006: 221) suggest: “growth is a deliberate choice” and “women have a clear sense of the costs and benefits of growth and make careful trade-off decisions.” Morris et al further suggest these trade-off decisions surrounding growth preferences have not been extensively investigated (Morris, Miyasaki, Watters and Coombes, 2006).

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