Purpose – Women entrepreneurs face gender-specific barriers surrounding access to: networks of information, assistance, finance and investment funds, in addition to socio-cultural barriers. Business incubation literature indicates the supports provided to tenant incubator companies (including: assistance from incubation managers, access to academic institutions and facilities and access to contact networks), generally increase survival rates and can accelerate growth in turnover, employment levels and export sales. Business incubators could, therefore, offer an ideal environment for women entrepreneurs to overcome many gender-related barriers. The Irish Government has invested, via “Enterprise Ireland”, over 46 million in campus-incubators but the gender composition of incubation tenants accessing this state funding has not been explored. Design/methodology/approach – A study of all “Enterprise Ireland” funded campus-incubators in Ireland was undertaken between November 2006 and March 2007. A survey of 100 per cent of centre managers explored their background, demands on time, the contact networks and relationships with the academic host in each centre and services provided. For cross-referencing purposes, some tenants and prospective tenants were also surveyed in relation to tenant expectations and service delivery; the culture of incubation centres; incubation centres' policies are: tenant recruitment and selection. Findings – This paper highlights the under-representation of women-owned businesses in Ireland's campus incubation centres. Research limitations/implications – These findings highlight key areas requiring attention from researchers, policy makers and incubation managers to facilitate best practice. Originality/value – This paper contributes to current knowledge as there has, to date, been no comprehensive study or evaluation of gender equality, or suitability of services provided, in campus-incubators.
|Journal||International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - 2010|