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Necessity as a Driver of Women’s Entrepreneurship


Commissioned by the National Women's Business Council and prepared by Premier Quantitative Consulting, Inc., Necessity as a Driver of Women’s Entrepreneurship explores and expands on necessity as a driver of women’s entrepreneurship in the United States. This study examines whether and how women turn to entrepreneurship to address potential market failures that limit their ability to attain or maintain economic self-sufficiency, or as an avenue to overcome flexibility bias and potential stigma in balancing work-life conflict assumed in traditional gendered roles and social norms. You can find the final paper on our website and join the conversation online using #NWBCResearch.

Traditional “necessity entrepreneurship” definitions largely focus on the concept of “survival entrepreneurship” or “emergency entrepreneurship” where a woman starts a business to meet basic economic needs for survival. However, there are also necessity-based reasons for starting a business that reach beyond women’s economic survival. Non-economic push factors identified by this literature review and data analysis support a broader definition of necessity-based entrepreneurship, in which women start a business not due to the lack of employment options, but because the options available are either not preferable or are not sufficient to achieve a desired outcome.  Note that while this broader definition is not inherently gender-specific, it is applied in this paper from a gendered perspective.

NWBC’s paper also explores research findings that countries with better paid leave, subsidized childcare, and more part-time opportunities demonstrate a negative correlation with necessity entrepreneurship and a positive correlation with growth-oriented forms of entrepreneurship. 

Join the conversation online using #NWBCResearch. 


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