Women-dedicated business incubators and accelerators can stimulate growth intentions and support high potential female entrepreneurs


March 2018 - Female entrepreneurs are less likely than male entrepreneurs to expect to create a lot of jobs with their businesses. During the period 2012-16, 8.8% of women entrepreneurs in OECD countries expected that their business will generate at least 19 new jobs over the next five years. This was half of the proportion of male entrepreneurs (15.6%) (see figure below).

This gender gap in growth expectations can be explained by a number of factors, including differences in entrepreneurial motivations and intentions. Some women appear to be more likely to go into self-employment to better manage their work-life balance and others start businesses to avoid the “glass ceiling” in employment. However, women entrepreneurs are also more likely to operate in service sectors where there is less growth potential.

Business incubators and accelerators typically offer a suite of intensive supports such as workshops, training, networking opportunities, coaching, and business counselling on issues such as scaling, finance, human resource development, leadership, product development, marketing, technology, and work-life balance.

Evaluation evidence shows that business incubator and accelerator programmes can help stimulate growth intentions among women entrepreneurs, and help more women entrepreneurs achieve their business’ growth potential. Dedicated programmes can have a greater impact than general programmes since there is greater take-up among women, more tailored support is provided, and more suitable networking opportunities are offered.


Female entrepreneurs are less likely to expect to create at least 19 jobs in the next five years, 2012-16



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