This study investigates the effects of venture typology, race, ethnicity, and past venture experience on the social capital distribution of women entrepreneurs in entrepreneurial ecosystems. Social network data from two municipal ecosystems in Florida, USA (Gainesville and Jacksonville), suggest that network connectivity and the distribution of social capital are significantly different for men and women entrepreneurs. This difference is contingent on the venture type. Male entrepreneurs show higher comparative scores of bridging social capital in aggressive- and managed-growth venture networks, while women entrepreneurs surpass their male counterparts’ bridging capital scores in lifestyle and survival venture networks. Lastly, experienced women entrepreneurs that self-identified as white showed a higher degree of network connectivity and bridging social capital in the entrepreneurial ecosystem than less experienced non-white female entrepreneurs. Implications for entrepreneurship practice and new research paths are discussed.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Abbasi, A., Hossain, L., & Leydesdorff, L. (2012). Betweenness centrality as a driver of preferential attachment in the evolution of research collaboration networks. Journal of Informetrics, 6(3), 403–412.
Ács, Z. J., Autio, E., & Szerb, L. (2014). National systems of entrepreneurship: measurement issues and policy implications. Research Policy, 43(3), 476–494.
Acs, Z. J., & Szerb, L. (2007). Entrepreneurship, economic growth and public policy. Small Business Economics, 28(2–3), 109–122.
Adler, P. S., & Kwon, S.-W. (2002). Social capital: prospects for a new concept. Academy of Management Review, 27(1), 17–40.
Ahl, H., & Marlow, S. (2012). Exploring the dynamics of gender, feminism and entrepreneurship: advancing debate to escape a dead end? Organization, 19(5), 543–562.
Aldrich, H., & Zimmer, C. (1986). Entrepreneurship through social networks. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship.
Anderson, A. R., & Jack, S. L. (2002). The articulation of social capital in entrepreneurial networks: a glue or a lubricant? Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 14(3), 193–210.
Audretsch, D. B., & Feldman, M. P. (1996). R&D spillovers and the geography of innovation and production. The American Economic Review, 86, 630–640.
Baron, R. A., & Markman, G. D. (2000). Beyond social capital: how social skills can enhance entrepreneurs’ success. The Academy of Management Executive, 14(1), 106–116.
Becker, M. C. (2001). The role of routines in organizations: an empirical and taxonomic investigation. University of Cambridge.
Bell, S. J., Tracey, P., & Heide, J. B. (2009). The organization of regional clusters. Academy of Management Review, 34(4), 623–642.
Berg, S. (1988). Snowball sampling. In S. Kotz & N. I. Johnson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of statistical sciences. New York: Wiley.
Bliemel, M. J., McCarthy, I. P., & Maine, E. M. A. (2015). Levels of multiplexity in entrepreneur’s networks: implications for dynamism and value creation. Entrepreneurship Research Journal, 0(0).
Borgatti, S. P., Everett, M. G., & Freeman, L. C. (1999). UCINET 6.0 Version 1.00. Natick: Analytic Technologies.
Bosma, N., Van Praag, M., Thurik, R., & De Wit, G. (2004). The value of human and social capital investments for the business performance of startups. Small Business Economics, 23(3), 227–236.
Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. G. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Bourdieu, P., & Wacquant, L. J. (1992). An invitation to reflexive sociology. University of Chicago Press.
Brooks, A. W., Huang, L., Kearney, S. W., & Murray, F. E. (2014). Investors prefer entrepreneurial ventures pitched by attractive men. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(12), 4427–4431.
Brush, C. G., & Chaganti, R. (1999). Businesses without glamour? An analysis of resources on performance by size and age in small service and retail firms. Journal of Business Venturing, 14(3), 233–257.
Brush, C. G., De Bruin, A., & Welter, F. (2009). A gender-aware framework for women’s entrepreneurship. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 1(1), 8–24.
Brush, C. G., Carter, N. M., Gatewood, E., Greene, P. G., & Hart, M. M. (2004). Clearing the hurdles: women building high-growth businesses. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall.
Calas, M. B., Smircich, L., & Bourne, K. A. (2009). Extending the boundaries: reframing “entrepreneurship as social change” through feminist perspectives. Academy of Management Review, 34(3), 552–569.
Carter, N., Brush, C., Greene, P., Gatewood, E., & Hart, M. (2003). Women entrepreneurs who break through to equity financing: the influence of human, social and financial capital. Venture Capital: an International Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance, 5(1), 1–28.
Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, S95–S120.
Colombo, M. G., Franzoni, C., & Rossi-Lamastra, C. (2015). Internal social capital and the attraction of early contributions in crowdfunding. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 39(1), 75–100.
Cope, J., Jack, S., & Rose, M. B. (2007). Social capital and entrepreneurship: an introduction. International Small Business Journal, 25(3), 213–219.
Davidsson, P., & Honig, B. (2003). The role of social and human capital among nascent entrepreneurs. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(3), 301–331.
De Carolis, D. M., Litzky, B. E., & Eddleston, K. A. (2009). Why networks enhance the progress of new venture creation: the influence of social capital and cognition. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 33(2), 527–545.
De Carolis, D. M., & Saparito, P. (2006). Social capital, cognition, and entrepreneurial opportunities: a theoretical framework. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 30(1), 41–56.
Dew, N., Read, S., Sarasvathy, S. D., & Wiltbank, R. (2009). Effectual versus predictive logics in entrepreneurial decision-making: differences between experts and novices. Journal of Business Venturing, 24(4), 287–309.
Dubini, P., & Aldrich, H. (1991). Personal and extended networks are central to the entrepreneurial process. Journal of Business Venturing, 6(5), 305–313.
Edelman, L. F., Brush, C. G., Manolova, T. S., & Greene, P. G. (2010). Start-up motivations and growth intentions of minority nascent entrepreneurs. Journal of Small Business Management, 48(2), 174–196.
Fabowale, L., Orser, B., & Riding, A. (1995). Gender, structural factors, and credit terms between Canadian small businesses and financial institutions. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 19(4), 41–66.
Feld, B. (2012). Startup communities: building an entrepreneurial ecosystem in your city. Hoboken: Wiley.
Florin, J., Lubatkin, M., & Schulze, W. (2003). A social capital model of high-growth ventures. Academy of Management Journal, 46(3), 374–384.
Foster, G., Shimizu, C., Ciesinski, S., Davila, A., Hassan, S., Jia, N., & Morris, R. (2013). Entrepreneurial ecosystems around the globe and company growth dynamics. In World Economic Forum (Vol. 11).
Gilsing, V., Nooteboom, B., Vanhaverbeke, W., Duysters, G., & van den Oord, A. (2008). Network embeddedness and the exploration of novel technologies: technological distance, betweenness centrality and density. Research Policy, 37(10), 1717–1731.
Greene, P. G., Brush, C. G., Hart, M. M., & Saparito, P. (2001). Patterns of venture capital funding: is gender a factor? Venture Capital: An International Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance, 3(1), 63–83.
Grossman, E. B., Yli-Renko, H., & Janakiraman, R. (2012). Resource search, interpersonal similarity, and network tie valuation in nascent entrepreneurs’ emerging networks. Journal of Management, 38(6), 1760–1787.
Heckathorn, D. D. (1997). Respondent-driven sampling: a new approach to the study of hidden populations. Social Problems, 44, 174–199.
Heckathorn, D. D. (2002). Respondent-driven sampling II: deriving valid population estimates from chain-referral samples of hidden populations. Social Problems, 49(1), 11–34.
Hoang, H., & Antoncic, B. (2003). Network-based research in entrepreneurship: a critical review. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(2), 165–187.
Inkpen, A. C., & Tsang, E. W. (2005). Social capital, networks, and knowledge transfer. Academy of Management Review, 30(1), 146–165.
Isenberg, D. J. (2010). How to start an entrepreneurial revolution. Harvard Business Review, 88(6), 40–50.
Jack, S. L. (2005). The role, use and activation of strong and weak network ties: a qualitative analysis*. Journal of Management Studies, 42(6), 1233–1259.
Kor, Y. Y., & Sundaramurthy, C. (2008). Experience-based human capital and social capital of outside directors. Journal of Management, 35(4), 981–1006.
Krackhardt, D. (1992). The strength of strong ties: the importance of philos in organizations. Networks and Organizations: Structure, Form, and Action, 216, 239.
Kuratko, D. F. (2016). Different entrepreneurial ventures for greater societal value: a portfolio approach to assist public policy. The Antitrust Bulletin, 61(4), 546–560.
Laumann, E. O., Galaskiewicz, J., & Marsden, P. V. (1978). Community structure as interorganizational linkages. Annual Review of Sociology, 4(1), 455–484.
Lechner, C., & Dowling, M. (2003). Firm networks: external relationships as sources for the growth and competitiveness of entrepreneurial firms. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 15(1), 1–26.
Lechner, C., Frankenberger, K., & Floyd, S. W. (2010). Task contingencies in the curvilinear relationships between intergroup networks and initiative performance. Academy of Management Journal, 53(4), 865–889.
Light, I. (2010). The religious ethic of the Protestant ethnics. In L.-P. Dana (Ed.), Entrepreneurship and religion (pp. 168–183). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Light, I., & Dana, L.-P. (2013). Boundaries of social capital in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 37(3), 603–624.
Lin, N. (2000). Inequality in social capital. Contemporary Sociology, 29(6), 785–795.
Locke, E. A., Noorderhaven, N. G., Cannon, J. P., Doney, P. M., & Mullen, M. R. (1999). Some reservations about social capital. Academy of Management Review, 24(1), 8–11.
Malecki, E. J. (1997). Entrepreneurs, networks, and economic development: a review of recent research. Advances in Entrepreneurship, Firm Emergence and Growth, 3, 57–118.
Manolova, T. S. (2006). Builders and leaders: six case studies of men and women small proprietors in the Bulgarian construction industry. In Growth-oriented women entrepreneurs and their businesses: a global research perspective (p. 232).
Marlow, S., & McAdam, M. (2013). Gender and entrepreneurship: advancing debate and challenging myths; exploring the mystery of the under-performing female entrepreneur. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 19(1), 114–124.
Marsden, P. V. (1988). Homogeneity in confiding relations. Social Networks, 10(1), 57–76.
Mason, C., & Brown, R. (2013). Creating good public policy to support high-growth firms. Small Business Economics, 40(2), 211–225.
McGowan, P., & Hampton, A. (2007). An exploration of networking practices of female entrepreneurs. In Female entrepreneurship: implications for education, training and policy (pp. 110–134). New York: Routledge.
McKeown, T. J. (2001). Plans and routines, bureaucratic bargaining, and the Cuban missile crisis. Journal of Politics, 63(4), 1163–1190.
McPherson, M., Smith-Lovin, L., & Cook, J. M. (2001). Birds of a feather: homophily in social networks. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 415–444.
Milroy, J., & Milroy, L. (1993). Mechanisms of change in urban dialects: the role of class, social network and gender. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 3(1), 57–77.
Min, P. G., Waldinger, R., Aldrich, H., & Ward, R. (1993). Ethnic entrepreneurs: immigrant business in industrial societies. Newbury Park: Sage.
Moliterno, T. P., & Mahony, D. M. (2011). Network theory of organization: a multilevel approach. Journal of Management, 37(2), 443–467.
Morris, M. H., Kuratko, D. F., Schindehutte, M., & Spivack, A. J. (2012). Framing the entrepreneurial experience. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36(1), 11–40.
Morris, M. H., Neumeyer, X., Jang, Y., & Kuratko, D. F. (2016). Distinguishing types of entrepreneurial ventures: an identity-based perspective. Journal of Small Business Management.
Morris, M. H., Neumeyer, X., & Kuratko, D. F. (2015). A portfolio perspective on entrepreneurship and economic development. Small Business Economics, 45(4), 713–728.
Neck, H. M., Meyer, G. D., Cohen, B., & Corbett, A. C. (2004). An entrepreneurial system view of new venture creation. Journal of Small Business Management, 42(2), 190–208.
Neergaard, H., Shaw, E., & Carter, S. (2005). The impact of gender, social capital and networks on business ownership: a research agenda. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 11(5), 338–357.
Nikolova, M. (1993). Nyakoi demografski spekti na jenskoto predpriemachestvo (Some demographic aspects of women’s entrepreneurship). Problemi na truda, 9, 46–61.
Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital. In Culture and politics (pp. 223–234). Springer.
Putnam, R. D., Leonardi, R., & Nanetti, R. Y. (1994). Making democracy work: civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton University Press. Accessed 14 July 2017.
Robinson, J., Blockson, L., & Robinson, S. (2007). Exploring stratification and entrepreneurship: African American women entrepreneurs redefine success in growth ventures. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 613(1), 131–154.
Ruef, M. (2002). Strong ties, weak ties and islands: structural and cultural predictors of organizational innovation. Industrial and Corporate Change, 11(3), 427–449.
Salganik, M. J., & Heckathorn, D. D. (2004). Sampling and estimation in hidden populations using respondent-driven sampling. Sociological Methodology, 34(1), 193–240.
Shane, S. A. (2009). Why encouraging more people to become entrepreneurs is bad public policy. Small Business Economics, 33(2), 141–149.
Smallbone, D., & Welter, F. (2001). The distinctiveness of entrepreneurship in transition economies. Small Business Economics, 16(4), 249–262.
Spigel, B. (2017). The relational organization of entrepreneurial ecosystems. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 41, 49–75.
Stam, W., Arzlanian, S., & Elfring, T. (2014). Social capital of entrepreneurs and small firm performance: A meta-analysis of contextual and methodological moderators. Journal of Business Venturing, 29(1), 152–173.
Stam, E. (2015). Entrepreneurial ecosystems and regional policy: a sympathetic critique. European Planning Studies, 23(9), 1759–1769.
Stephan, U., & Uhlaner, L. M. (2010). Performance-based vs socially supportive culture: a cross-national study of descriptive norms and entrepreneurship. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(8), 1347–1364.
Teece, D. J. (2012). Dynamic capabilities: routines versus entrepreneurial action. Journal of Management Studies, 49(8), 1395–1401.
Tsai, W. (2001). Knowledge transfer in intraorganizational networks: effects of network position and absorptive capacity on business unit innovation and performance. Academy of Management Journal, 44(5), 996–1004.
Welter, F. (2011). Contextualizing entrepreneurship—conceptual challenges and ways forward. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 35(1), 165–184.
Welter, F., Smallbone, D., Isakova, N., Aculai, E., & Schakirova, N. (2004). Women’s entrepreneurship in Ukraine, Republic of Moldova and Uzbekistan: results of a comparative study. In Access to financing and ITC for women entrepreneurs in the UNECE region: challenges and good practices (pp. 39–52). Geneva: United Nations.
Westlund, H., & Bolton, R. (2003). Local social capital and entrepreneurship. Small Business Economics, 21(2), 77–113.
Whittington, K. B., Owen-Smith, J., & Powell, W. W. (2009). Networks, propinquity, and innovation in knowledge-intensive industries. Administrative Science Quarterly, 54(1), 90–122.
Yang, F., Duan, P., Shah, S. L., & Chen, T. (2014). Capturing connectivity and causality in complex industrial processes. Springer Science & Business Media.
Yetim, N. (2008). Social capital in female entrepreneurship. International Sociology, 23(6), 864–885.
The authors thank Jamie Kraft and Dr. Michael Morris at the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center at the University of Florida for helpful feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript and access to stakeholders in the municipal entrepreneurship ecosystems that we selected for our study.
About this article
Cite this article
Neumeyer, X., Santos, S.C., Caetano, A. et al. Entrepreneurship ecosystems and women entrepreneurs: a social capital and network approach. Small Bus Econ 53, 475–489 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-018-9996-5
- Women entrepreneurs
- Entrepreneurial ecosystems
- Social capital
- Boundary conditions of social capital
- Network analysis