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On behalf of the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), Hart Research conducted two focus groups on August 31, 2011, among 13 self-described “established” or “aspiring” female entrepreneurs attending the “Women in Green” Forum in Santa Monica, California. It should be noted that the findings presented here reflect the fact that nearly all of the participants are in the early stages of establishing new business ventures. It also is important to remember that our participants made a conscious choice to attend (and pay for) the Forum, a fact that may differentiate them significantly from other entrepreneurs in the green sector (or other sectors).

The number of women awarded patents has soared over the last several decades far beyond previously reported figures, and the percentage of trademarks granted to women has more than doubled, a new study commissioned by the National Women’s Business Council found.

This second part to the NWBC research project, Intellectual Property and Women Entrepreneurs, covers the qualitative research from the original report and centers on six focus groups with women entrepreneurs and business women.  The focus groups were conducted in different parts of the nation. Two of these focus groups were with women who had successfully obtained a patent or trademark, two were with women who had applied for but did not receive a patent or trademark and the remaining two groups were with women who had never applied for a patent or trademark.

Commissioned by the National Women’s Business Council and prepared by BD2,LLC and RTI International, On the Commercialization Path: Entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property Outputs among Women in Stem presents an examination of innovation among women in STEM fields by identifying gaps in their entrepreneurial outcomes and highlighting future opportunities for policy improvements.

First, it presents results of a descriptive data analysis using data from 2015 American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 and 2012 Survey of Business Owners (SBO). Second, the report examines prior research and policy literature related to women’s entrepreneurship and commercialization outcomes in STEM fields. Together, the literature review and data analysis identify and explore important themes related to women in STEM, including the prevalence of STEM entrepreneurship among women, the role of STEM education in STEM entrepreneurship, characteristics of owners and firms that are actively engaged in STEM entrepreneurship and their commercialization outcomes. Finally, the report discusses policy recommendations related to the women’s education, entrepreneurship, and commercialization in STEM.

Join the conversation online using #NWBCSTEM.

Women entrepreneurs are a vital component to the U.S. economy, as they are responsible for the creation of both new businesses and jobs. However, despite the rapid increase in number of women-owned firms in recent years, women-owned businesses face significant barriers to growth, including limited access to capital and networks.

Business incubators and accelerators can play an important role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem by not only offering training and services, but also connecting women business owners to opportunities and resources that may help them overcome various challenges that limit business development and growth. Program offerings can include work space, mentoring, technical assistance, and networking with potential investors, customers, and suppliers. Some recent studies have found that entrepreneurs who participate in a top performing accelerator perform better than those that did not participate in an accelerator in areas such as raising capital, exiting by acquisition, and acquiring customers.

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) commissioned research prepared by Washington CORE to strengthen stakeholder understanding of incubators and accelerators as they relate to women entrepreneurs and, ultimately, to facilitate successful participation of women entrepreneurs in these programs. This research includes a literature review, as well as a direct exploration of the experiences and perspectives of women entrepreneurs and incubator and accelerator managers through survey and interview analysis.