Monday, November 29, 2010
In academic entrepreneurship parlance, ‘gazelles’ refers to those businesses that LEAP from a standing position to exponential growth in a short period of time. Generally, these are businesses that have been around for awhile, have been stable with slow and steady growth and have built a foundation from which to spring into a new incarnation when the right opportunity arises.
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There aren’t many women-owned businesses out there that exhibit this behavior. Those who work with women entrepreneurs and those who study female entrepreneurship ponder the question of the dearth of female gazelles in the North American business community.
It’s a question we’ve wrestled with here at the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba. We certainly see lots of solid businesses that are owned by women. Recent surveys and studies suggest there are several reasons that prevent women from becoming gazelles: women are more risk averse than men and there is some risk involved in the great leap; women have the practical and tactical responsibilities of family management and might not have time or energy to get to the next level; some women do not see business growth as a desirable goal and prefer to keep their enterprises small and self-contained; women may not be sufficiently networked to be cognizant of many of the growth opportunities that could benefit their companies; woman may not have the financial, human or knowledge resources to take advantage of opportunity.
What do you think? What are some of the things that prevent or hinder the development of your company and keep it from leaping into a bigger and more profitable initiative?
We’d be very interested in your comments and ideas in response to this post.