Abstract

Historically, the rate of women participating in new venture creation has been disproportionally less than men. Not only are women less involved in entrepreneurship, their businesses tend to underperform. There is evidence that women-owned businesses grow at a lower rate, employ fewer people, are less profitable, and fail more often than those owned by men (e.g. Fairlie & Robb, 2008).

Noting that business incubation receives substantial attention in the entrepreneurship literature as programs that help entrepreneurs overcome business start-up risks, this paper examines to what extent incubation effects differ between women and men founders. Specifically, we test whether incubators help women entrepreneurs overcome many of the traditional barriers they face. In doing so, we build upon studies that find that women react differently than men in terms of access to support systems and network opportunities (e.g. DeBruin et al., 2007). Incubators offer these types of services and thus provide a relevant environment for testing gender-based differences.

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