Women Entrepreneurs who Break Through to Equity Financing: The Influence of Human, Social and Financial Capital

Candida Brush, Babson College, USA

(with Nancy M. Carter, Patricia G. Greene, Elizabeth Gatewood and Myra M. Hart)


This is one of the first efforts to systematically study attributes of women business owners and their equity financing strategies. The study explored the factors associated with the use of equity capital in women led firms. Hypotheses examined the influence of human and social capital on the likelihood of seeking equity funding, access to funding sources, bootstrapping techniques and development of financial strategies. Data for this study came from a survey of 235 US women business owners conducted by the National Foundation for Women Business Owners from a sample identified by Dun and Bradstreet. Results showed only graduate education significantly influenced the odds of using outside equity financing. Social capital had no direct effect on increasing likelihood of using equity but influenced the use of bootstrapping techniques. Network diversity was positively related to the use of personal sources of funding, while professional advisor relationships were negatively related to personal sources of financing. Our research suggests women obtaining higher levels of education may increase their likelihood of obtaining funding. Further, during the bootstrap phase, utilizing social capital is an asset.


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