Awareness of enterprise finance support programmes: The role of networks, gender, and ethnicity

Samuel Mwaura, Stephen Knox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Purpose: This paper investigates how gender, ethnicity, and network membership interact to influence how small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owner-managers become aware of finance support programmes developed by government policy and/or support schemes advanced by the banking industry. 

Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on expectation states theory (EST), we develop eight sets of hypotheses and employ the UK SME Finance Monitor data to test them using bivariate probit regression analysis. 

Findings: In general, network membership increases awareness, but more so for government programmes. We also find no differences between female and male owner-managers when in networks. However, we identify in-network and out-network differences by ethnicity, with minority females seemingly better off than minority males. 

Practical implications: Business networks are better for disseminating government programmes than industry-led programmes. For native White women, network membership can enhance policy awareness advantage further, whilst for minorities, networks significantly offset the big policy awareness deficits minorities inherently face. However, policy and practice need to address intersectional inequalities that remain in access to networks themselves, information access within networks, and the significant out-network deficits in awareness of support programmes afflicting minorities. 

Originality/value: This study provides one of the first large-scale empirical examinations of intersectional mechanisms in awareness of government and industry-led enterprise programmes. Our novel and nuanced findings advance our understanding of the ways in which gender and ethnicity interact with network dynamics in entrepreneurship.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research (IJEBR)
Early online date25 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Apr 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • enterprise policy
  • networks
  • gender
  • ethnicity
  • finance
  • awareness


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