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Stories from the field: Women's networking as gender capital in entrepreneurial ecosystems

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-474
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number2
Early online date13 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2019


Women are underrepresented in successful entrepreneurial ecosystems and the creation of women-only entrepreneurial networks has been a widespread policy response. We examine the entrepreneurial ecosystem construct and suggest that it, and the role networks play in entrepreneurial ecosystems, can be analysed in terms of Bourdieu's socio-analysis as field, habitus and capital. Specifically, we develop the notion of gender capital as the skill set associated with femininity or from simply being recognized as feminine. We apply this to the development of women's entrepreneurial networks as a gender capital enhancing initiative. Using data from qualitative interviews with network coordinators and women entrepreneurs we reflect on the extent to which formally established women-only networks generate gender capital for their members and improve their ability to participate in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The paper concludes by drawing out the implications of our analysis for theory, entrepreneurial practice and economic development policy.

    Research areas

  • entrepreneurial ecosystems, networks , Bourdieu , habitus , field , gender capital, women entrepreneurs

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