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Research Reports

Structural Differences in Women's and Men's Social Networks

Research has shown that social networks are vital to the healthy development and growth of a women’s entrepreneurial endeavor. While there is a lot of discussion on women’s social networks and their ability to identify key members of their network (mentor, sponsor, etc.) – there is little research on the differences in effectiveness of men’s and women’s social networks.

From previous NWBC research we know two things: 1) there is a disparity in the amount and source of financial capital that men and women use and specifically differences in the use of outsider capital (that is, capital from sources other than entrepreneurs friends or family). And 2) social networks are important because they enable the movement of financial, human and intellectual capital, as well as facilitate information exchange, but the usage and efficacy of those networks vary depending on gender and are impacted by the quality and quantity of those involved.

As such, we commissioned this research to shed light on the structural differences in the entrepreneurial networks of male and female entrepreneurs and to what extent these differences influence the development and success of female entrepreneurs. Specifically, it examines the role that social networks play in facilitating the success of women entrepreneurs who start a new business. Additionally, it examines the effects of gender differences on business outcomes and funding opportunities with respect to an individual’s social network.

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