Abstract

Because women historically have had less developed professional networks, there has long been substantial research interest in possible gender differences in the networking behavior of nascent and active entrepreneurs. Some studies have reported that women entrepreneurs were more likely to rely on friends and family, whereas others have found negligible gender differences in usage of external sources of business advice when factors such as business size are taken into account. While entrepreneurs may seek help from a variety of network contacts, small business owners often rely heavily on one trusted resource. This study spotlights owner-managers’ relationship with their most valued advisor as a way to add nuance to the debate on gender differences in entrepreneurial networking, focusing on the types of assistance they receive and how they communicate with this source.

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