Recognizing the critical importance of supporting women entrepreneurs, the Stillman School of Business and Office of the Provost sponsored a special issue of the Journal of Small Business Management (JSBM) titled "Women entrepreneurship: Global trends and local constraints." The issue explores the status of female entrepreneurs and the barriers that challenge their success.
The issue's contents reflect the wide variety of topics being studied at the intersection of entrepreneurship and gender. Two papers enrich our understanding of the unique challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in developing economies — an area that is relatively underexplored. Two additional works examine how crowdfunding success differs for male and female entrepreneurs, an important topic given the emphasis on crowdfunding vehicles such as Kickstarter for new ventures.
Other authors explore gender differences in the way entrepreneurs' persistence decisions (i.e., the choice to continue businesses that are underperforming expectations) are influenced by the pressures of the different roles they play. In addition, researchers identify the specific strategies women employ as drivers of new venture growth. Perhaps especially relevant to university administrators is an article that examines how gender and study discipline (i.e., major) affect student perceptions of entrepreneurial benefits and barriers, and the types of entrepreneurship program support they value.
In an introductory editorial, Katia Passerini, Ph.D., Provost and Executive Vice President, and Joyce Strawser, Ph.D., Dean of the Stillman School of Business, collaborated with Diana Hechavarría, Ph.D., of the University of South Florida to contextualize these research works and emphasize the important contributions they make to our understanding of women entrepreneurship. Significantly, the authors note that the underrepresentation of women in entrepreneurial pursuits is not getting the attention it deserves, with only 20 to 22 percent of research on entrepreneurship focused in some way on issues of gender.
"I am proud to have played a role in sponsoring and contributing to JSBM's Special Issue on Gender and Entrepreneurship," Dean Strawser said. "By promoting scholarship that seeks to understand and dismantle the barriers that confront female entrepreneurs, we aim to help deliver on Seton Hall's strategic goal of empowering our community to advance equity, inclusion and social justice on campus and in the wider world."
Provost Passerini emphasized the importance of nurturing the entrepreneurial talents of the Seton Hall community. "With women representing 59 percent of Seton Hall's entering freshman class, it is time to think more about how to develop women into entrepreneurial leaders, whatever their chosen field of study may be," she said. "Entrepreneurship can be looked at as a mindset for risk-taking and innovation, creativity and action."
Stillman's commitment to entrepreneurship, especially women's entrepreneurship, is further evidenced by its vibrant Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which supports aspiring entrepreneurs through programs such as Women Entrepreneurship Week, the Seton Hall University Pirates Pitch Startup Contest and the Pirates LaunchPad summer accelerator. In addition, the Center takes great pride in its robust mentoring and networking efforts, which prepare young women entrepreneurs for success.
The Center's signature "Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Induction Dinner" celebrates the accomplishments of alumni entrepreneurs, showcasing their success as a model for students with entrepreneurial aspirations. Indeed, the Center recognized an "intrapreneur" – a leader within a company who promotes innovative thinking and strategies – through its induction of Frank Cannone '91, Corporate Group Chair and Executive Committee Member of Gibbons P.C., who brought great opportunities to Gibbons by creating one of the region's top Corporate practices. His induction affirms Provost Passerini's assertion that entrepreneurial skills are critical to leaders in all organizations and professions. The Center, with the invaluable support of its accomplished Board of Advisors, truly delivers on the promise of entrepreneurship with impact.
Provost Passerini underscored the importance of this special issue of the Journal of Small Business Management and the essential nature of Seton Hall's efforts to support women in their entrepreneurial initiatives.
"The UN Sustainable Development Goals chart a clear path toward the realization of our full potential, and they clarify essential actions and priorities," she said. "One of such priorities is true gender equality, the achievement of which will benefit not only the health of our economy by realizing unexploited potential, but will move us forward to a just society that cares deeply about the common good. Enabling women with additional support for launching and scaling entrepreneurial ventures through access to business education, funding and infrastructure resources is one of the ways to ensure that we achieve what Pope Francis calls 'integral human development.'"