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Zeppelin University 
Department Corporate Management & Economics 
Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin | LEIZ 
Nair Ra...
Abstract English 
This thesis analyzes and compares the business discussion networks of high-potential female entrepreneur...
Table of Contents 
1 Introduction ...........................................................................................
4.1.2 Results by Hypotheses ....................................................................... 28 
4.1.3 Summary of t...
Tables 
Table 1: Comparing Economy and Demographics of India and Germany ............... 2 
Table 2: Sample Characteristic...
1 
1 Introduction 
Apart from the obvious – that entrepreneurship contributes to the economy - it more than that has a rem...
2 
only ranked 26th. The highest rated countries were those with a highly developed economy, while the authors describe th...
3 
In line with research on entrepreneurship that underlines the importance of networks (e.g. Aldrich & Zimmer, 1986; Birl...
4 
1.3 Relevance of this Study 
This thesis will contribute to research in at least two ways. First, women entrepreneurshi...
5 
2 Framework Development and Literature Review 
2.1 Entrepreneurship Research 
In the history of entrepreneurship studie...
6 
2.1.1 Entrepreneurship Research in Context: India and Germany 
As mentioned above, when investigating in entrepreneursh...
7 
reflecting India’s female entrepreneurial population. Again, this shows that there is definitely a lack of research on ...
8 
2.1.1.2 Women Entrepreneurs in Germany 
The percentage of female entrepreneurs in Germany is increasing. The organizati...
9 
1. The entrepreneur as male gendered 
2. Theorizing entrepreneurship as a function in the economy 
3. The popular assum...
10 
exhibited within entrepreneurship and so require special fixing. Such assumptions are clear articulations of gendered ...
11 
2.2 The Network Perspective in Entrepreneurship - Hypotheses’ Development 
Aldrich and Zimmerman were one of the first...
12 
this study a sub-set network is examined, that gives the entrepreneur access to valuable resources: the business discu...
13 
consist of more familial relations; as this network is limited, it is assumed that their discussion networks are small...
14 
2.2.4 A Network’s Relational Characteristics 
Another way to analyze a network is by its relations. A tie can be weak ...
15 
Based on the previous hypothesis, that Indian women have more kinship ties than weak ties, it is assumed that: 
Hypoth...
16 
3 Methodology and Research Design 
As suggested by Bruin at al. (Brush, Bruin, & Welter, 2009, p. 16) a mix of qualita...
17 
3.2 Data Collection 
Data collection was conducted in two phases. In phase one the participants filled out an online q...
18 
In this case, the following structural attributes where measured: 
1. Frequency of contact 
2. Mutual resource exchang...
19 
As ego-centric networks of every female were generated, there are two types of composition attributes, those of the eg...
20 
3.4 Data Analysis 
The data coming from the questionnaire was cleaned and organized in Microsoft Excel 2013. The Add-I...
21 
4 Findings 
The results of the analysis are presented in the following order: First, general descriptive data are laid...
22 
“If you asked me a few years ago, I would not have minded but now I almost think that I would prefer a male. I think t...
23 
1. Not needing a partner 
„I’m a freelancer at the moment, so I don’t need a co-founder. I wanted to first create a so...
24 
2. Not finding a partner: 
“I have often wished that I could have a partner who is specialized in operations and growt...
25 
Table 3: Demographics of Indian and German High-potential Women Entrepreneurs 
Characteristics 
All nations 
India 
Ge...
26 
In the Indian sample, there were 13 % of the companies 2-4.9 years old, whereas in the German sample 36 % had this age...
27 
Table 6: Characteristics of Alteri in Ego’s Core Business Network 
Characteristics 
Both nations 
India 
Germany 
N 
1...
28 
4.1.2 Results by Hypotheses 
In Table 7 , all network variables that were tested are shown. The only remarkable differ...
29 
Figure 3: Ego-Network of a high-potential female with a low density (0.28) 
Figure 4: Ego-Network of a high-potential ...
30 
Figure 5: Ego-Network of a high-potential female with a high density (0.91) 
As the density does not differ a lot betw...
31 
The other diversity measure, the IQV-Index for gender, ranges in both samples around 0.6. IQV-Index values range betwe...
32 
Table 8: T-test for Independent Samples for Network Size 
Levene’s Test for Equality of Variance 
T-Test for Equality ...
33 
4.1.3 Summary of the Quantitative Part 
To sum up the section of quantitative research, it was found that concerning s...
34 
4.2 Findings of the Qualitative Part 
Apart from testing stated hypotheses from entrepreneurship research with a netwo...
35 
Figure 6: Entrepreneurs Maintaining Contacts in Hours per Month shows the time that every female entrepreneur spend on...
36 
Figure 7: Entrepreneurs Developing Contacts in Hours per Month 
Table 11: Characteristics of the Ties between Ego and ...
37 
4.2.2 Maintaining and Developing Contacts 
In the following part, categories were build based on Strauss’ and Corbin’s...
38 
to meet new people. Contacts introduce the entrepreneur to others, because they think it could be useful to them: 
“My...
39 
pick from their businesses and apply to mine. So all that I keep doing.“ – Indian entrepreneur 
“My interactions have ...
40 
“So Contact Name is one of the pioneers in that, because he has already done a number of companies that he sold. And h...
41 
At the moment I am really selective, so I try to find out who is there that gives me an advantage, will I meet someone...
42 
- Field specific organizations 
- Voluntary organizations 
- College Alumni Networks (only Indian sample) 
Especially ...
43 
4.2.3.1 Safety and Comfort 
In this category, only Indian women were identified. It includes safety issues while trave...
44 
4.2.3.2 Time and Everyday Business 
Time issue was the most mentioned constraint. This was also identified in the cate...
45 
stand at the beginning, there is nothing you can trade so you can communicate at eye level” – German entrepreneur 
4.2...
46 
“So probably I have to hook up with someone who has a network in those cities already. I'm not sure, but I'm just cont...
47 
VCs are involved in that sport. And then it becomes really easy to talk, because there is a common ground.” 
Another s...
48 
“Boys or men are generally more provoking. Just go out, try it, speak to people, just do it and go on stage.” - German...
49 
5 Discussion and Conclusion 
This thesis addressed the questions of how the networks of high-potential female entrepre...
50 
Aldrich, & Carter, 2009). Although, this was not asked in the questionnaire, in the interviews there where mentions of...
51 
as Berlin or Bangalore – are able to transform culture. Indications for that can also be found in the interviews: 
“I ...
52 
In developing new contacts, the categories personal references, events, organizations, (especially women entrepreneuri...
53 
devoted to presentation skills. At different stages of the company, events should be chosen accordingly to the resourc...
54 
entrepreneur. It is to hope that the emergence of various women entrepreneurship organizations in India and Germany he...
55 
of the “poor, victimized and disadvantaged” sample in contrast to the “developed and advantaged” sample. This partly h...
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany
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Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany

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This thesis analyzes and compares the business discussion networks of high-potential female entrepreneurs in India and Germany and examines their networking activities and behavior. The framework is this of entrepreneurship research with a network perspective. Also, the framework considers a gender-sensitive approach. Within a mixed-method, stated hypotheses derived from social network analysis were tested with the samples and comparisons between them drawn. Within qualitative interviews, network behavior and networking activities of the female entrepreneurs were investigated. The most important findings of the quantitative part were that the only significant difference between the Indian and German sample is a slight difference in the size of the networks, otherwise, average network structures were similar. The qualitative part made three important categories of developing new contacts visible: Networking through personal references, organizations, events and “cold” contacting. In addition, barriers to networking were accumulated and strategies to overcome those barriers revealed. Start-up hubs such as cities like Berlin and Bangalore play a crucial role for this particular group of entrepreneurs.

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Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs - An Empirical Study in India and Germany

  1. 1. Zeppelin University Department Corporate Management & Economics Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin | LEIZ Nair Rajendran, Murali In Cooperation with Indian Institute of Management Bangalore N S Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning Prof. Suresh Bhagavatula Masterthesis Networking among High-potential Female Entrepreneurs An Empirical Study in India and Germany Nicole Jackisch Matriculation number: 1120046 Corporate Management & Economics Date: 20.06.2014
  2. 2. Abstract English This thesis analyzes and compares the business discussion networks of high-potential female entrepreneurs in India and Germany and examines their networking activities and behavior. The framework is this of entrepreneurship research with a network perspective. Also, the framework considers a gender-sensitive approach. Within a mixed-method, stated hypotheses derived from social network analysis were tested with the samples and comparisons between them drawn. Within qualitative interviews, network behavior and networking activities of the female entrepreneurs were investigated. The most important findings of the quantitative part were that the only significant difference between the Indian and German sample is a slight difference in the size of the networks, otherwise, average network structures were similar. The qualitative part made three important categories of developing new contacts visible: Networking through personal references, organizations, events and “cold” contacting. In addition, barriers to networking were accumulated and strategies to overcome those barriers revealed. Start-up hubs such as cities like Berlin and Bangalore play a crucial role for this particular group of entrepreneurs. Keywords: High-potential Female Entrepreneurs, Women Entrepreneurship, Social Network Analysis, Ego- centered Networks; India, Germany, Start-up, Social Network Perspective Abstract German In dieser Masterthese werden die “Business Discussion Netzwerke” von sogenannten High-potential female Entrepreneurs in Indien und Deutschland untersucht und miteinander verglichen. Außerdem wird die Frage beantwortet, wie sie ihre Netzwerkaktivitäten gestalten. Der wissenschaftliche Rahmen berücksichtigt einen Gender-sensitiven Ansatz. In einem „Mixed-Method Design“ werden Hypothesen gebildet, abgeleitet aus der Sozialen Netzwerkanalyse, um die Netzwerke der Stichproben aus Indien und Deutschland zu verglichen. Innerhalb qualitativer Interviews werden Netzwerkaktivitäten der Frauen genauer untersucht. Die wichtigsten Ergebnisse sind, dass außer einem kleinen, aber signifikanten Unterschied in der Größe der Netzwerke, keine Unterschiedlichkeiten bezüglich der Netzwerkvariablen aufzufinden sind. Bezogen darauf, wie die Unternehmerinnen neue Kontakte herstellen, werden im qualitativen Teil drei wichtige Kategorien aufgezeigt: Netzwerken durch persönliche Referenzen, durch Organisationen und Events, sowie „kaltes“ Netzwerken. Außerdem wurden Netzwerkbarrieren identifiziert und aufgezeigt, mit welchen Strategien Unternehmerinnen diese überwinden. Start-up Cluster wie Berlin und Bangalore spielen außerdem eine große Rolle für High- potential female Entrepreneurs. Keywords: High-potential Female Entrepreneurs, weibliches Entrepreneurship, weibliches Unternehmertum, Soziale Netzwerkanalyse Ego-zentrierte Netzwerke, Indien, Deutschland, Start-up, Soziale Netzwerkperspektive
  3. 3. Table of Contents 1 Introduction ....................................................................................................... 1 1.1 Problem Statement: Conditions for High-potential Female Entrepreneurs . 1 1.2 Research Objectives ................................................................................... 3 1.3 Relevance of this Study .............................................................................. 4 1.4 Thesis Structure .......................................................................................... 4 2 Framework Development and Literature Review .............................................. 5 2.1 Entrepreneurship Research ........................................................................ 5 2.1.1 Entrepreneurship Research in Context: India and Germany ................ 6 2.1.2 Entrepreneurship Research in Context: Gender .................................. 8 2.2 The Network Perspective in Entrepreneurship - Hypotheses’ Development 11 2.2.1 The Business Discussion Network ..................................................... 11 2.2.2 What Kind of Network is Useful? ........................................................ 12 2.2.3 A Network’s Structural Characteristics ............................................... 12 2.2.4 A Network’s Relational Characteristics ............................................... 14 3 Methodology and Research Design ................................................................ 16 3.1 Social Network Analysis ............................................................................ 16 3.2 Data Collection ......................................................................................... 17 3.3 Measures .................................................................................................. 17 3.4 Data Analysis ............................................................................................ 20 4 Findings .......................................................................................................... 21 4.1 Findings of the Quantitative Part ............................................................... 21 4.1.1 Sample Characteristics ...................................................................... 21
  4. 4. 4.1.2 Results by Hypotheses ....................................................................... 28 4.1.3 Summary of the Quantitative Part ...................................................... 33 4.2 Findings of the Qualitative Part ................................................................. 34 4.2.1 Characteristics of Network Relations .................................................. 34 4.2.2 Maintaining and Developing Contacts ................................................ 37 4.2.3 Networking Constrains ....................................................................... 42 4.2.4 Summary of the Qualitative Part......................................................... 48 5 Discussion and Conclusion ............................................................................. 49 5.1 Limitations and Concluding Remarks ....................................................... 54 References............................................................................................................. VI 6 Appendix ....................................................................................................... XVI Ehrenwörtliche Erklärung ..................................................................................... XIX
  5. 5. Tables Table 1: Comparing Economy and Demographics of India and Germany ............... 2 Table 2: Sample Characteristics of Indian and German High-potential Women Entrepreneurs ........................................................................................................ 24 Table 3: Demographics of Indian and German High-potential Women Entrepreneurs ............................................................................................................................... 25 Table 4: Correlations between Entrepreneur’s Work Experience and Network Variables ................................................................................................................ 25 Table 5: Business Characteristics of Indian and German High-potential Women Entrepreneurs ........................................................................................................ 26 Table 6: Characteristics of Alteri in Ego’s Core Business Network ........................ 27 Table 7: Network Variables of High-potential Female Entrepreneurs from Germany and India ................................................................................................................ 28 Table 8: T-test for Independent Samples for Network Size .................................... 32 Table 9: T-test for Independent Samples for Proportion of Family Members ......... 32 Table 10: Characteristics of the Ties between Ego and its Alteri ........................... 34 Table 11: Characteristics of the Ties between Ego and its Alteri ........................... 36 Table of figures Figure 1: Team Constellation in Terms of Gender in Germany .............................. 22 Figure 2: Team Constellation in Terms of Gender in India ..................................... 22 Figure 3: Ego-Network of a high-potential female with a low density (0.28) ........... 29 Figure 4: Ego-Network of a high-potential female with a moderate density (0.57) . 29 Figure 5: Ego-Network of a high-potential female with a high density (0.91) ......... 30 Figure 6: Entrepreneurs Maintaining Contacts in Hours per Month ....................... 35 Figure 7: Entrepreneurs Developing Contacts in Hours per Month ........................ 36
  6. 6. 1 1 Introduction Apart from the obvious – that entrepreneurship contributes to the economy - it more than that has a remarkable impact on society. The following definition of entrepreneurship reflects that: „Entrepreneurship can be defined as the process of creating value for business and social communities by bringing together unique combinations of public and private resources to exploit economic, social or cultural opportunities in an environment of change.“ (Fillis & Rentschler, 2010, p. 50) Therefore, becoming an entrepreneur should be accessible for a wide variety of a nation’s population. Unfortunately, participation in entrepreneurship shows a gender gap worldwide e.g. (Delmar & Davidsson, 2000; Minniti, Arenius, & Langowitz, 2005; Davis & Shaver, 2012). The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) established a special report on female entrepreneurs and compares women’s entrepreneurship in various regions. The report shows that the gender gap varies highly between countries; especially mid-Asia shows significant disparities for example in Pakistan, only 1 % of the female population is engaged in entrepreneurship (Kelley, Brush, Greene, & Litowski, 2013). In this thesis a comparison between Indian and German entrepreneurs with regards to their business discussion networks will be drawn - with a focus on a specific kind of sub-sample: high-potential female entrepreneurs. This group is defined as “women who own and operate businesses that are innovative, market expanding and export oriented” (Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute, 2014, pp. 8–15). 1.1 Problem Statement: Conditions for High-potential Female Entrepreneurs In the 2014 report The Gender Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute, 2014, pp. 8–15) 30 countries were ranked according to their conditions to foster high potential female entrepreneurship in the groups: (1) Entrepreneurial Environment; (2) Entrepreneurial Eco-System and (3) Entrepreneurial Aspirations. Germany ranked 4-5th while India
  7. 7. 2 only ranked 26th. The highest rated countries were those with a highly developed economy, while the authors describe those countries that scored last – among them India – as „culturally conservative emerging economies that adhere to traditional women’s roles in society“(Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute, 2014, p. 15). In Table 1 a comparison between German and Indian economic data, demographics and perceptions towards female economic activity is given. Among many differences, a high percentage of female self-employment in the informal sector of India (98%) is striking, which explains the high amount of research concentrating on this sector e.g. (Datta & Gailey, 2012; Kantor, 2002), resulting in a lack of research for high-potential female entrepreneurs at the same time. Table 1: Comparing Economy and Demographics of India and Germany Economy and Demographics India Germany GDP per capita PPP (constant 2005 intl $) $3.223 $34.573 Adolescent fertility rate (in percent) 77 7 Mean female marriage age 20 32 CEDAW ratification (5 point scale) 2/5 4/5 Mobile Phone Gender Gap 37 No gap Percent of female self-employment that is informal 98 No Data Percent of population involved in Entrepreneurship Startups 14 5 Perceptions Percent of women/men that disagree that “Men make better business executives than women” 45/ 32 90 / 76 Do women have equal access to leadership positions (1-7 scale) 4/7 4/7 (The Gender Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index, 2013)
  8. 8. 3 In line with research on entrepreneurship that underlines the importance of networks (e.g. Aldrich & Zimmer, 1986; Birley, 1986; Elfring & Hulsink, 2007) the GEDI also examined the factor “networking”. Within a range 0 to 100 points, the countries were evaluated. The points were aggregated by the two variables (1) if the entrepreneurs knew other entrepreneurs and (2) their access to Internet & networks. Germany scored .66 out of hundred possible points while India ranked .18 - the lowest on the category (The Gender Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index, 2013, p. 58). What is unsatisfactory is the oversimplified approach of only considering those two factors. What should be further investigated is the entrepreneurs’ network activities and their embeddedness in social networks within a social network perspective as this would give a more holistic view. Unfortunately, this is completely missing in the report. This gap will be addressed by this work as stated later in the research objectives. 1.2 Research Objectives The gender GEDI index made a huge contribution to research in women entrepreneurship, as it accounts various factors and contributes to the scarce data situation on worldwide high-potential women entrepreneurship. Still, many results need explanation and reasoning. As shown, some factors are from social nature, therefore a social network approach to get insights to the how’s and why’s is appropriate. Building on the above, this thesis contributes to answer the questions: - How do high-potential female entrepreneurs in India and Germany network? - How are their networks constituted? - Are there differences between the German and the Indian sub-samples? If there are, what are the reasons?
  9. 9. 4 1.3 Relevance of this Study This thesis will contribute to research in at least two ways. First, women entrepreneurship is generally an under researched topic (Brush, Bruin, & Welter, 2009). Especially taking gender concepts into account, addressing women entrepreneurship in research will also help reducing the gender gap. Additionally, most entrepreneurship data is based on samples of men (Bruin, Brush, & Welter, 2006). Therefore, entrepreneurship theory undergoes a bias, as it is not considering half of the world’s population. Second, entrepreneurship as well as female entrepreneurship lacks cross-country comparisons that would allow for a more global approach. The same bias is found in entrepreneurship literature that mostly derives its theory of entrepreneurship from western cultures. 1.4 Thesis Structure In chapter 2, Framework Development and Literature Review, a brief introduction to entrepreneurship research is given, followed by an overview of the two research contexts with a focus: (1) on (female) entrepreneurship in India and Germany and (2) on entrepreneurship research and gender. The discussion of those contexts gives further implications for the research design of the present paper. Within Chapter 2.2 The Network Perspective in Entrepreneurship - Hypotheses’ Development, the state of past and current research on entrepreneurship with a social network perspective is presented. Relevant terms of social network theory will be explained to the reader and in a second step, hypotheses will be developed. Those will be based on previous research in entrepreneurship with a network perspective and the contexts of high-potential female entrepreneur in India and Germany. After the methodology is explained in Chapter 3, the findings of the hypotheses testing and the exploratory part based on interviews will be presented in Chapter 4, to be discussed in Chapter 5. In this last chapter, indications for further research and policy makers will be stated and limitations will be pointed out.
  10. 10. 5 2 Framework Development and Literature Review 2.1 Entrepreneurship Research In the history of entrepreneurship studies, a line of research concentrating on the individual entrepreneur – her traits, her behavior and aspirations – was prevailing for a long time. Peter Schumpeter’s work is still the most citied in entrepreneurial literature. Schumpeter describes the entrepreneur as a special person with an outstanding personality and a particular kind of motivation (Schumpeter, 2006, p. 131). Ahl criticizes that from this historical view “the emerging image is that of the heroic self-made man” (Ahl, 2006, p. 599). Research in line with the individualistic approach dealt with entrepreneurial traits, motivations and ambitions (e.g. Llewelyn & Wilson, 2003; Rauch & Frese, 2007). Until today, a crucial part for the definition of entrepreneurship is the discovery and exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities (Ozgen & Baron, 2007; Shane & Venkataraman, 2000). Over time, it was realized that opportunities and the access to resources to exploit those opportunities do not lie solely in the entrepreneur herself – but that contexts such as social, societal and institutional determine the entrepreneurial process (Welter, 2011, p. 165). A shift towards entrepreneurship research that considered those contexts emerged; especially the focus on the entrepreneurs’ embeddedness in social networks – known as the Social Network Perspective delivered fruitful insights. Before digging deeper into social networks, this thesis’ framework will be build successive by considering (1) the state of research in the field of entrepreneurship research in developed (Germany) and less developed/emerging countries (India); (2) implications of gender theory in the field of entrepreneurship research, (3) a brief overview of the situation of women entrepreneurs in each country and lastly (4) building the hypotheses from literature of entrepreneurship with a network perspective.
  11. 11. 6 2.1.1 Entrepreneurship Research in Context: India and Germany As mentioned above, when investigating in entrepreneurship research, contexts should be considered. Smallbone advices to embed research in “wider political, economic and social contexts” (Smallbone, Welter, & Ateljevic, 2014). This part looks at the contexts of Germany and India. First, the state of entrepreneurship research in developed versus emerging/undeveloped countries will be outlined and second, the context of particular interest for German and Indian high-potential female entrepreneurs will be delivered. Most literature on entrepreneurship concentrated on developed markets (Smallbone et al., 2014) – meaning that entrepreneurial theories are more valid for western economies. Accordingly, cross-country studies should be favored. Studies on entrepreneurship focusing on India are limited (Bruton, Ahlstrom, & Obloj, 2008, p. 2) – in spite of India’s growing economy (Gupta et al., 2014, p. 369). Although, Das (Das & Das, 2014) affirmed an increase in literature after a call for papers in 2008 and Hughes et al. (Hughes, Jennings, Brush, Carter, & Welter, 2012, p. 436) predicted growing literature on women entrepreneurship in India. Gupta, for example (Gupta, Turban, Wasti, S. Arzu, & Sikdar, 2009) used a three-country sample including India, USA and Turkey investigating in gender stereotypes and entrepreneurial intentions. Surprisingly, they could not find any significant differences (Gupta et al., 2009, p. 405). Vita et al. did a literature review concentrating on women entrepreneurs in developing countries. Papers recognized a slowly emerging “new profile of women entrepreneurs: more motivated, well- educated and free from family ties” (Vita, Mari, & Poggesi, 2013, p. 456). Here, the importance for research on high-potential women entrepreneurs becomes clear. Vita et al. organized the review into regional sub-clusters: (1) Sub-Saharan, (2) Africa, (3) East Asia and Pacific, (4) Europe and Central Asia, (5) South Asia, (6) Latin America and Caribbean and (7) Middle East. The paper clustered India into the South Asian region. Comparing to the other countries like Bangladesh or Indonesia, India has been the most studied. Research focuses on non-profit, micro-enterprises,
  12. 12. 7 reflecting India’s female entrepreneurial population. Again, this shows that there is definitely a lack of research on high-potential female entrepreneurs, Within the emerging literature on women entrepreneurs in India, the “traditional form” of entrepreneurial research – concentrating on the individual, – was mainly pursued. This is comprehensible regarding the young research field. Despite of the legitimacy of basic research, advanced research designs and questions should be considered when investigating Indian women entrepreneurs, especially focusing on relational dimensions as emphasized by Vita (2013). For the study at hand, that implies to test traditional hypotheses with our sample, as well as asking questions that go beyond the line of descriptive research and use explanatory approaches. 2.1.1.1 Women entrepreneurs in India As mentioned above, 95% of Indian women entrepreneurs work in the informal sector, mostly in rural areas. Even though Vita constitutes an emergence of “high- potential female entrepreneurs (Vita et al., 2013, p. 456) that are educated, growth orientated and probably less restricted by traditional role models, there is not much data on those kind of women. Therefore, we have to concentrate of general assumptions of conditions for female entrepreneurs to develop hypotheses. Pandian looked at success factors and problems faced by women entrepreneurs in the Indian state Tamilnadu. He found out main challenges are receiving a bank loan from the government, lack of education, lack of self-confidence, gender discrimination in the society and combining family and work life (Pandian, S. P. Karuppasamy & Jesurajan, S. Vargheese Antony, 2011, p. 917). In India, mobility for women is constrained because of security issues and the traditional role models of women. Women are confronted with family duties, for example approval of the husband to follow economic activities; caring for family members such as children and in-laws (Kumari & Deshpande, 2012, p. 16). From this it can be assumed, that Indian women entrepreneurs work in more closed networks with family members and close friends.
  13. 13. 8 2.1.1.2 Women Entrepreneurs in Germany The percentage of female entrepreneurs in Germany is increasing. The organization “bundesweite gründerinnenagentur” involved in fostering women entrepreneurship in Germany, gave out several reports on women entrepreneurs. The following statements are based on several reports (bga bundesweite gründerinnenagentur, 2007, 2013a, 2013b). In German society, still traditional role models are in place. Females are responsible for childcare and household, therefore they face a double responsibility balancing professional and family life. 66 % of Germans female entrepreneurs work part-time, explained by those familial responsibilities. Personal support, especially from the spouse or partner is crucial, but approval not necessary. Looking at perceived barriers for female entrepreneurs, personal fear of failure, lack of social security and a lack of finance comes into the picture. Germans with a higher level of education have a higher propensity to become an entrepreneur. Mobility is no problem for German females, as it is safe for women travelling alone and it is a common sight to see female professionals. Before investigating in the network perspective of entrepreneurship - a look at a gender perspective will be taken. This will help to understand the underling framework and what needs to be considered when investigating in a “gendered” topic. This also has indications for the research design of this study. 2.1.2 Entrepreneurship Research in Context: Gender Why is it important to have a look at gender theory when investigating in women entrepreneurship? It has been the critiques of Ahl (2006) and fellow researchers which brought to the table the negative effects of traditional research without a framework on gender – or at least some considerations. In the article Why Research on Women Entrepreneurs Needs New Directions (Ahl, 2006), the author describe certain discursive practices in women entrepreneurship research, e.g.:
  14. 14. 9 1. The entrepreneur as male gendered 2. Theorizing entrepreneurship as a function in the economy 3. The popular assumption that men and women are essentially different The first practice, the entrepreneur with a male connotation; shows itself in various ways. Ahl examined historical (Schumpeter) and recent entrepreneurship literature. In Schumpeter’s reflections she found that, his descriptions of an entrepreneur are explicitly male connoted for example as “a man of daring and decisiveness” (Ahl, 2006, p. 599). More subtle, but still existent in recent literature, she found the wording used to describe an entrepreneur resembles Bem’s Index of masculinity (Bem Lipsitz & Sandra Lipsitz, 1081). Using performance measures as the only dependent variable results out of the second assumption, to consider economic growth as the only qualification for the existence of entrepreneurship – puts aside other aspects of it, for example tackling social problems with social entrepreneurship (Braun & French), its contribution to equality of opportunities, e.g. for people with disadvantages, facilitation and preservation of local culture and regional development (Spilling, 1991). Ahl’s third mentioned practice leads to research that concentrates on investigating differences between male and female entrepreneurs by drawing comparisons between the groups. „Contrary to hypotheses, few (if any) differences were found“(Ahl, 2006, p. 604). However, research and publicizing practice prefer results of difference to non-difference, so comparative approaches prevail. For example, differences in productivity, success and growth are constantly mentioned (here again, the second discursive practice shows its power). However, those studies did not control for firm size, sector and capital intensity; which in contrary would make those differences disappear (Worldbank, p.25; Hallward-Dreimeier 2013). The overall effect of this kind of research is “that women are cast as “the other” of men. They are cast as secondary, as a complement or, at best, as an unused resource (Ahl, 2006, p. 604). „Rather, gender subordination occurs when women are presumed to be different (weaker); that these weaknesses are axiomatically
  15. 15. 10 exhibited within entrepreneurship and so require special fixing. Such assumptions are clear articulations of gendered disadvantage which must be recognized in future research“ (Marlow, 2013, p. 12). A year after Ahl’s publication The Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice gave out a special issue dedicated to women's entrepreneurship. During compiling this special issue, the publishers also encountered methodological concerns. Only a few papers used more than one nation in their sample, therefore, they suggest doing more cross-country studies in the future (Bruin et al., 2007). Following Ahl’s critique of the practice to compare women and men, they suggest “comparisons between samples of women” (Bruin et al., 2007, pp. 328–329). This would also improve the data situation, as past research only considered samples of men (Bruin et al., 2006). This goes in line with the call for cross-country studies between developed and developing countries (Marković, 2007, p. 326) as outlined in chapter 2.1.1 Entrepreneurship Research in Context: India and Germany. In order to create a viable research design that takes the stated concerns with regards to female entrepreneurship research into consideration, I have included Ahl’s and Hughes’ recommendations and designed the following research setup, which: 1. Addresses the problem on a social level (network perspective), rather than using an individualistic approach on entrepreneurship 2. Uses exploratory rather than only descriptive approaches by a mixed-method 3. Compares two nations in a cross-country study (India and Germany) 4. Compares samples of women instead of comparing male and female samples Throughout the above chapters, it was indicated that the approach of a social network analysis is adequate to answer the research questions. The following chapter sheds light on the embeddedness of entrepreneurs in social networks.
  16. 16. 11 2.2 The Network Perspective in Entrepreneurship - Hypotheses’ Development Aldrich and Zimmerman were one of the first researchers putting a network perspective to entrepreneurship research. Their well-cited article “Entrepreneurship through Social Networks” (Aldrich & Zimmer, 1998) criticized the personality approach popular in the previous discourse. „The approach we take, by contrast, focuses on entrepreneurship as embedded in a social context, channeled and facilitated or constrained and inhibited by people's positions in social networks.“ (Aldrich & Zimmer, 1998, p. 4) „Traditional approaches to research on entrepreneurship neglect the relational nature of the process“ (Aldrich & Zimmer, 1998, p. 4) The idea that entrepreneurship is embedded in networks (Birley & MacMillan, 1997; Hansen, 1995; Larson, 1992; Reynolds, 1991) caused a shift towards relational perspectives in entrepreneurship literature and parallel to developments of social network theories and methods made the topic popular e.g. (Davidsson & Honig, 2003; Dyer & Singh, 1998; Hoang & Antoncic, 2003; Zaheer & McEvily, 1999). A great quantity of empirical evidence can be found that states how important social ties are for young companies (Brüderl & Preisendörfer, 1998, p. 213). The reason is that through social networks the entrepreneur gets access to valuable resources such as information, capital or opportunities (Singh, Hills, Lumpkin, & Hybels, 1999). Those resources acquired through relations are called social capital. It is defined as “recent and potential resources within a steady net of more or less institutionalized relations” (Bourdieu, 1983, p. 191). 2.2.1 The Business Discussion Network A person’s networks “reflects distinct forms of social capital” (Reagans & Zuckerman, 2001, p. 503). In terms of social network theory, a network consists of nodes and ties. A node represents a person and a tie the relationship between two nodes. In
  17. 17. 12 this study a sub-set network is examined, that gives the entrepreneur access to valuable resources: the business discussion network. It is defined as the network the entrepreneur turns to for discussing her business or get advice (Renzulli, Aldrich, & Moody, 2000). It is called ego-centric, because its focus lays on one individual and her distinct ties. This approach is particularly adequate for investigating in young start-ups, as in the early phase of a firm; ego-centric networks reflect the personal networks of the founders (Hite & Hesterly, 2001, p. 282). One way to look at the network’s features is to distinguish between relational and structural attributes. The relational nature of the network looks at how the ties are constituted e.g. shown in the concept of strong and weak ties (Granovetter, 1973). The structural quality of a network looks at the structure produced by the various connections of ties and leads to certain compositions, e.g. is a network dense, meaning the members know each other; do some members have special positions e.g. as a gatekeeper etc. (Wasserman & Faust, 1994) 2.2.2 What Kind of Network is Useful? In entrepreneurship literature with a network perspective, various kinds of network settings are said to be favorable for an entrepreneur. Organizing the review into relational and structural embeddedness seems convenient, but it has to be kept in mind that concepts are interdependent, for example the positive relation between network size and number of weak ties. In the following, the most important studies in the field will be presented, based on reviews done by (Hoang & Antoncic, 2003,), (Slotte-Kock & Coviello, 2010) and (Martinez & Aldrich, 2011). 2.2.3 A Network’s Structural Characteristics First research concentrating on basic structural characteristics, found out that the size of a network is important. (Aldrich & Zimmer, 1986). From particular interest for this study is the result that the discussion network sizes and the time in maintaining and developing contacts is different between countries (Greve & Salaff, 2003, p. 7). As India’s women are even more connected to families, it is assumed their networks
  18. 18. 13 consist of more familial relations; as this network is limited, it is assumed that their discussion networks are smaller in size: Hypothesis 1: Network size is bigger in high-potential female entrepreneurs from Germany than from India. Entrepreneurship scholars also dealt with the density of a network. A dense network is important for startups as the information flows easily (Bhagavatula, 2009, p. 53). Density is also said to be higher in networks with a huge amount of strong ties, therefore we can hypothesize that: Hypothesis 2: Network density is higher in high-potential female entrepreneurs from India than from Germany. The position of an entrepreneur within the network is also supposed to influence resource flow (Hoang & Antoncic, 2003, p. 170). A related concept is that of structural holes, defined as “a gap between two individuals with complementary resources or information” (Burt, 1992, p. 685). The entrepreneur can profit from bridging that gap by getting access to new information, new opportunities and possessing a control position (Burt, 2004). One measure Burt uses in this line of thinking is that of the “network constraint”. It measures how constrained the ego is by the structure of his network. If the network constraint is high, it means there are not many structural holes in ego’s network. In a dense network, the possibility of structural holes is less. If Indian entrepreneur’s networks show a higher density, then it can be assumed that structural holes are less. Hypothesis 3: Indian high-potential female entrepreneurs’ networks have a higher network constraint than those of German high-potential female entrepreneurs.
  19. 19. 14 2.2.4 A Network’s Relational Characteristics Another way to analyze a network is by its relations. A tie can be weak or strong, composited of ties that are similar or diverse. Uzzi (1996, p. 694) argues that strong and weak ties have different advantages and disadvantages for entrepreneurs and therefore, a network should be balanced. Other researchers argue that strong ties are more crucial than weak ties (Brüderl & Preisendörfer, 1998, p. 213). Among the strong ties, family members play a crucial role. For example, children with parents having entrepreneurial background are more prone to become entrepreneurs (Greve & Salaff, 2003, p. 7). As family ties play a more important role for Indian society and mobility issues are there as stated in chapter 2.1.1.1 Women entrepreneurs in India, it is assumed that: Hypothesis 4a: High-potential female entrepreneurs in India show a network with a higher proportion of strong ties as the networks of German high- potential female entrepreneurs Hypothesis 4b: High-potential female entrepreneurs in India show a network with a higher proportion of family members as the networks of German high-potential female entrepreneurs But the strength of ties is not the only researched relational characteristic. In the context of accessing angel capital for example, Steier states a need for diversity in networks (Steier & Greenwood, 2000). The homophily principle states that people tend to connect to people that are similar to themselves (McPherson, Smith-Lovin, & Cook, 2001). This applies to attributes such as race, gender, profession or similar values and beliefs. If we want to look at diversity, homophily effects have to be kept in mind. With gender homophily for example, the strength of ties makes a difference: whereas in kinship ties tend to be diverse in gender; weak ties show a stronger homogeneity (Aldrich, 1989, p. 110).
  20. 20. 15 Based on the previous hypothesis, that Indian women have more kinship ties than weak ties, it is assumed that: Hypothesis 5: High-potential female entrepreneurs in India have higher gender diversity in their networks as German high-potential female entrepreneurs.
  21. 21. 16 3 Methodology and Research Design As suggested by Bruin at al. (Brush, Bruin, & Welter, 2009, p. 16) a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods was used. This is also the case for network related data as the quantitative dimensions of the networks such as density and size as well as qualitative data such during semi-structured interviews was collected. 3.1 Social Network Analysis Social network analysis focuses on relations (ties or edges) of individuals (nodes or vertices). In this study, certain kinds of the entrepreneurs’ so called ego-centric networks, were examined to get a picture of their access to various resources and finance. The “ego” is our entrepreneur; she will name contact persons, the “alteri” and their tie will have attributes such as strength. Afterwards, network density was measured by asking respondents if the listed alters know each other. (Wasserman, 1994, p. 41)”. Data collection of ego-centric networks consists of two parts. The first part is the stimulus (called namegenerator), where it is asked about certain contact persons. In our case, we looked at the entrepreneur's business discussion networks – those networks an entrepreneur turns to for information and support (see Renzulli et al., 2000). The second part is the name interpreter where attributes of alter as well as the tie are asked. Most studies ask for up to 5 – 10 persons (Wolf, 2010), here it was asked for a maximum of 10 to have a good indication of the network size. In this study, the instrument used to gain ego-centric data is based on Burt (Burt, 1984): “From time to time, most people discuss important business matters or business plans with other people. Looking back over the past month: Please identify the first name of up to ten (10) people with whom you regularly speak about your business and discuss important matters -excluding your core team members.”
  22. 22. 17 3.2 Data Collection Data collection was conducted in two phases. In phase one the participants filled out an online questionnaire. The second phase involved a 20- to 40-minute phone interview – based on data coming from the questionnaire. The interview was conducted with a semi-structured approach that allowed also for narrative responds. Before sampling, questions from both sources – questionnaire and interview – where presented to an expert in start-up financing and his feedback considered. Within a pilot sampling, the interviewee was observed during filling of the questionnaire and was asked to give open feedback to the questionnaire. The questionnaire was perceived as very long and exhausting, so only one discussion network was included. The questionnaire was finalized after that; only a few interview questions where added within the interview phase (compare Xu, 2008). To avoid a selection bias, especially nor tapping into a given network, participants were searched through various channels. Those included personal contacts such as asking friends, professors and research assistants in Universities in Germany and India, random LinkedIn search, recommendations of the founders themselves, entries in business magazines, contacting various entrepreneurship organizations and using newsletters and other social media channels to ask for participants. The sample consisted of N = 34 high-potential female entrepreneurs; 15 from Germany and 19 from India. Inclusion criteria were that the company should not be older than six years to be considered a start-up (Xu, 2008). As expected from high- potentials, all participants from Germany and India spoke adequate English. Two industries where chosen that fulfilled the criteria of being either underrepresented by female founders (technology) or more strongly represented by female founders (fashion). 3.3 Measures There are two kinds of variables in social network data. Structural variables measure attributes of ties; whereas composition variables measure actor attributes (Wasserman, 1994, p. 29).
  23. 23. 18 In this case, the following structural attributes where measured: 1. Frequency of contact 2. Mutual resource exchange 3. Duration of connection 4. Type of relation (strength) 5. Topics talked about (resources) 6. Density (do alters know each other?) Additionally, heterogeneity measures (gender) of ego’s network were calculated using Mueller and Schuessler’s "Index qualitativer Variation" (IQV- Index) (Mueller & Schuessler, 1962). Equation 1: Mueller and Schuessler’s IQV-Index 퐼푄푉−퐼푛푑푒푥= 퐾(푁2−Σ푓2 푁2 (퐾−1) K= Count of categories (gender =2) N= Count of cases e.g. (x men and y women) Σf2=squared Sum of frequencies
  24. 24. 19 As ego-centric networks of every female were generated, there are two types of composition attributes, those of the ego (our founders) and those of her alters. For ego, we measured the following composition variables (mostly socio-demographics) within the questionnaire. 1. Age 2. Nationality 3. Country of company 4. Marital status 5. Number of children 6. Level of education 7. Profession 8. Years of professional experience 9. Full-time or part-time in company 10. First time entrepreneur 11. Hours maintaining contacts 12. Hours developing contacts For alter the following composition measures were conducted: 1. Age 2. Nationality 3. Gender 4. Level of education 5. Profession
  25. 25. 20 3.4 Data Analysis The data coming from the questionnaire was cleaned and organized in Microsoft Excel 2013. The Add-In “NodeXL” helped organizing network formats such as node- and edge lists. From there, data was exported into UCINET (Borgatti 2002) - a software for analyzing social networks - and then analyzed. For frequencies and statistical tests, the OpenSource Software PSPP (an equivalent to IBM’s SPSS) was used. Network graphs were plotted with the open source software Gephi. The transliterated interviews were analyzed with MAXQDA 11. The software allows sorting paragraphs into categories and subcategories and analyzing evolving patterns. The coding process was based on Strauss’ and Corbin’s analysis for qualitative data (Strauss, Corbin, & Niewiarra, 1996).
  26. 26. 21 4 Findings The results of the analysis are presented in the following order: First, general descriptive data are laid out, giving the reader an understanding of the sample characteristics. Second, results regarding the tested hypotheses are shown and third, categories built by analyzing the qualitative interviews will be demonstrated and made concrete by chosen excerpts. Additionally, qualitative data was used to shed light on some quantitative results. 4.1 Findings of the Quantitative Part 4.1.1 Sample Characteristics As shown in Table 2: Sample Characteristics of Indian and German High-potential Women Entrepreneurs, there was a slight bigger sample of Indian women (n=19) to German women (n=15). In our sample, entrepreneurs with children were much higher in the Indian sample (57%) in contrast to 33 % of German women entrepreneurs. This reflects the fertility rates of both countries (compare chapter 2.1.1 Entrepreneurship Research in Context: India and Germany). The rates of second- and first time entrepreneurs are relatively balanced: On average 76 % of the entrepreneurs started-up their first business. Only 5 % of Indian women were not full-time entrepreneurs, whereas Germans 27 % worked part-time instead of fulltime in their company. The reasons mentioned for working part time were very diverse such as being still a student, the business does not sustain itself, having a second company or project or being a mom. Further investigation for the reasons to work part-time with a bigger sample is therefore recommended. When asked, if co- founders had the same gender, it shows that 89 % of Indian high-potential female entrepreneurs founded in a mixed gender team, whereas 67% of German high- potential female entrepreneurs founded in a mixed gender team. This was one of the biggest differences found in the sample characteristics. One excerpt shows what might be a reason for funding with the other gender:
  27. 27. 22 “If you asked me a few years ago, I would not have minded but now I almost think that I would prefer a male. I think that in India, still there is a lot of difficulty for women to work full time and I am in my early 30ies and I am married and I don't have kids. But most women in their 30ies are married and have kids and they do not have the luxury to make their own decisions and they are not able to commit full time.” – Indian entrepreneur Figure 1: Team Constellation in Terms of Gender in Germany Figure 2: Team Constellation in Terms of Gender in India Looking at team build-up, 32 % of the Indian sample founded alone (German 20 %). In the interviews, sole entrepreneurs were asked for the reasons to found alone. Two types of founders were identified: The ones that do more service related work and do not (yet) consider to collaborate. Moreover, others interviewees could not find an adequate partner. 67% 33% GERMANY Mixed-Gender Teams Women-only Teams 89% 11% INDIA Mixed-Gender Teams Women-only Teams
  28. 28. 23 1. Not needing a partner „I’m a freelancer at the moment, so I don’t need a co-founder. I wanted to first create a solid base, before I take the next step starting-up.“ – German entrepreneur “Cause whenever I tell people that I have a “xy”1 company, they think: what it must be? What I do and things like that. That's the reason why I never thought I need a co-founder or something. Because I thought my passion was enough to drive it all, maybe (laughing)”. – Indian entrepreneur The last excerpt above shows a mix of two reasons. The entrepreneur did not find someone who is as passionate about what she is doing and at the same time, she thought of being able to do it alone, although in the interview she admits that it is sometimes difficult, also in terms of time for networking. 1 Company type changed because of anonymity reasons
  29. 29. 24 2. Not finding a partner: “I have often wished that I could have a partner who is specialized in operations and growth, but I haven't actively searched that person and nor have I met that person.” – Indian Entrepreneur “I have always searched for someone. I even placed ads in magazines. But, it is hard to find someone in my space (…)” – German entrepreneur Table 2: Sample Characteristics of Indian and German High-potential Women Entrepreneurs Characteristics Both nations India Germany N 34 19 15 Sector (percent): Fashion Technology 24 76 32 68 13 87 Children No Children 47 52 58 42 33 67 Second-time Entrepreneur + First-Time Entrepreneur 24 76 21 79 27 73 Full-time Entrepreneur Part-time Entrepreneur 85 15 95 5 73 27 Single Founder 26 32 20 Mixed Gender Founding Teams 79 89 67 Most entrepreneurs in both countries were in the age groups 25 to 34 (India 58%, Germany 67%) and 35 to 44 (India 37%, Germany 20%). As found in entrepreneurship research, only a very small number were under 25 years old (Aldrich, Elam, & Reese, 1997, p. 10). As expected with high-potential female entrepreneurs all participants had at least an undergrad degree, most of the sample even had a graduate degree (82 %). In terms of work experience mean experience was around 10 years in both samples with a minimum of three and a maximum of 30 years (see Table 3).
  30. 30. 25 Table 3: Demographics of Indian and German High-potential Women Entrepreneurs Characteristics All nations India Germany N 34 19 15 Age 15-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 3 62 29 3 3 5 58 37 / / / 67 20 7 7 Education Undergraduate (e.g.BA) Graduate (e.g. MA) Doctoral Degree 15 82 3 16 84 / 14 79 7 Work Experience (years): Min Max Mean / SD 3 30 9.79 / 6 3 19 9.21 / 4,43 4 30 10.57/7.76 As shown in Table 4 Work experience was correlated (Pearson’s r, two-sig) with the network variables network size, density, constrain and gender diversity (IQV-Index). The only significant correlation found was a weak negative correlation (r=-41) between proportion of strong ties and work experience was 0.2 (p>0.05) Table 5 shows data of the entrepreneurs’ businesses. In the Indian sample, there was no company in Ideation state; in the German sample only 6 %. Most German companies were in Early State (60%), whereas most Indian firms were in Scale/Growth state. This is also reflected by the companies’ age. There was a proportion of 57% of German companies with the age of 0-1.9 years (India 37.5 %). Table 4: Correlations between Entrepreneur’s Work Experience and Network Variables Work experience (n=34) Proportion of strong ties Proportion of family ties Network Constrain Network Density Network Size IQV (Gender) -0.41* -0.3 0.05 -0.15 0.14 -0.13 Two-tailed Correlations: * p<0.05, ** p<0.01
  31. 31. 26 In the Indian sample, there were 13 % of the companies 2-4.9 years old, whereas in the German sample 36 % had this age. Only 7 % of German examined companies were 5 years and older. India’s sample showed 50% of companies in this age group. The differences in company age between the sample has to be kept in mind, as at different company stages, entrepreneur’s show different kind of network characteristics (Lechner, Dowling, & Welpe, 2006) and can distort results of hypotheses testing. The size of the companies (reflected here by number of employees) differs highly, especially as there is one firm with 400 full-time employees in India. Table 5: Business Characteristics of Indian and German High-potential Women Entrepreneurs Characteristics All nations India Germany Business State: Ideation / Discovery Early State / Validation Scale / Growth 3 53 44 / 47 53 6 60 33 Company Age: 0 - 1.9 years 2 - 4.9 years 5 + years 47 23 30 38 13 50 57 36 7 Number of Full-time Employees Min Max Mean /SD 0 400 15.97/68.18 0 400 25.68/90.96 0 21 3.67/5.55 Looking at the characteristics of the ego’s networks, the percentages do not show huge differences except of the percentage of family members (India 29%; Germany 19%). Before investigating deeper in this difference in the next part, the average numbers of both nations will be presented as in Table 6. The entrepreneur’s networks show that they have much more contact with men than women (35% women). 40% of the networks consisted of friends, whereas business contacts made up 36 % of the network.
  32. 32. 27 Table 6: Characteristics of Alteri in Ego’s Core Business Network Characteristics Both nations India Germany N 173 82 91 Percent of network members who are: Women 35 33 41 Family members Friends Acquaintances /Business Contact 24 40 36 29 39 30 19 40 39 Age groups of network members (percent) 15-24 years 25-34 years 35-44 years 45-54 years 55-64 years 1 31 34 20 12 / 32 35 18 11 1 20 33 22 12 The average age groups of the entrepreneur’s business discussion networks did not highly differ between the Indian and the German sample. Only 1 % of contacts where in the age group 15-24 years. The age group 25-34 years makes up 31 % of high- potential female entrepreneurs’ contacts; followed by the age group 35-44 years (34 %). Persons in the age of 45-54 years made up 20 % of the network. The female entrepreneurs had 12 % of network members in the age of 55-64 years.
  33. 33. 28 4.1.2 Results by Hypotheses In Table 7 , all network variables that were tested are shown. The only remarkable differences are in network size (Hypothesis 1) and proportion of family members (Hypothesis 4b). First, it is looked at the variables that do not differ, to later test the significance of the variables with a difference in detail. Table 7: Network Variables of High-potential Female Entrepreneurs from Germany and India Network Variable Country N Mean Standard Deviation Network Size India 19 4.32 2.19 Germany 15 6.27 3.08 Network Density India 19 .64 .18 Germany 15 .66 .25 Network Constraint India 19 .50 .22 Germany 15 .48 .24 Proportion of Strong Ties India 19 .68 .32 Germany 15 .63 .35 Proportion of Family members India 19 .32 .36 Germany 15 .23 .27 IQV-Index (Tie Strength) India 19 .47 .42 Germany 15 .48 .43 IQV-Index (Gender) India 19 .63 .41 Germany 15 .59 .39 In terms of density, both samples revolve around a mean density of approximately .65, meaning that the overall density is moderate. To illustrate this, the average network would look like Figure 4 in terms of density. In this example, the entrepreneur has one tie that is not connected to anyone, a few ties that know some other contacts a few that know some more. In Figure 3, a discussion network with a very low density is used as an example. Here, the entrepreneur has just two ties that know each other. Figure 5 is an example of a network with a very high density.
  34. 34. 29 Figure 3: Ego-Network of a high-potential female with a low density (0.28) Figure 4: Ego-Network of a high-potential female with a moderate density (0.57)
  35. 35. 30 Figure 5: Ego-Network of a high-potential female with a high density (0.91) As the density does not differ a lot between both samples, it is not by surprise that also network constraint does not show a huge difference (India .50; Germany .48). The proportions of strong versus weak ties were calculated simply by dividing the number of strong ties by the number of weak ties for every ego-network. A tie was coded as strong if the contact was either named as a friend or family member. To attenuate Marsden’s critique of measuring strengths of ties (Marsden & Campbell, 1984) some ties were coded as strong if they had the following attributes: at least 5 years old and contact frequency of at least weekly and daily. Out of these, it was examined if ego showed any emotional connection to this person as categorized in the qualitative data. Only then, the tie was coded as strong as well. Comparing the means, there was no high difference between German and Indian high-potential female entrepreneurs. With a mean ranging between 68 % (India) and 63 % (Germany) this proportion is quite high. As a second measure, the Index of Qualitative Variation (Mueller & Schuessler, 1962) for tie strength was calculated. The IQV (Strength looks at a different measure, because it examines the possible diversity’s extend. As expected because of the similarity of the proportion of strong ties, there was no huge difference found.
  36. 36. 31 The other diversity measure, the IQV-Index for gender, ranges in both samples around 0.6. IQV-Index values range between zero and one, with one showing the highest possible diversity. With a measure of 0.6, the average of the networks show a moderate gender diversity with a drift towards diversity, but showing no difference between the samples. To sum up, the hypotheses stating that Indian networks show a higher density (Hypothesis 2), a higher network constraint (Hypothesis 3), a higher proportion of strong ties (Hypothesis 4a) and a higher gender diversity (Hypothesis 5) have to be rejected. In the next paragraph, a t-test for independent samples was conducted to examine if the observed differences in network size and proportion of family members are statistically significant. Hypothesis 1 stated that network size of German high-potential female entrepreneurs is higher than that of the Indian sample. As hypothesized, Indian women had a smaller network (n=19) with a mean of 4.32 (SD 2.19); whereas the German sample showed a mean size of 6.27 (n=15, SD =3.08). As size was normally distributed (K-Stest), a t-test for independent samples was used to test the hypothesis (see Table 8: T-test for Independent Samples for Network Size). The value for the Levene’s test for Equality of Variance was 0.1 (p>0.05) meaning that the variability is same and we can look at the t-test results. The significance (2-tailed) was with .04 (p<0.05) significant, meaning that there is a significant difference between the size of Indian and German high-potential female entrepreneur’s networks. This test procedure was repeated for the proportion of family members (Hypothesis 4b).
  37. 37. 32 Table 8: T-test for Independent Samples for Network Size Levene’s Test for Equality of Variance T-Test for Equality of Means F Sig t df Sig. (2- tailed) Mean Difference St. Error of Difference 95% Confidence Intervall of the Difference Lower Upper Network Size Equal variance assumed 2.79 0,1 - 2.16 32 0.04 -1.95 0.9 -3.79 -0.11 Equal variance not assumed -2.07 24.35 0.05 -1.95 0.94 -3.89 -0.01 Concerning the proportion of family members in the networks, the mean of Germany’s sample shows that it is smaller, as stated in Hypothesis 4b. Indian women showed a mean proportion of .32 (SD .36) of family members in their networks, while the German sample’s network consisted of .23 (SD .27) family members. However, if we look at the t-test, it shows that this difference is not significant (see Table 9). Therefore, Hypothesis 4b has to be rejected as well. Table 9: T-test for Independent Samples for Proportion of Family Members Levene’s Test for Equality of Variance T-Test for Equality of Means F Sig t df Sig. (2- tailed) Mean Difference St. Error of Difference 95% Confidence Intervall of the Difference Lower Upper Network Size Equal variance assumed 3.95 .06 .85 32.00 .40 .09 .11 -.13 .32 Equal variance not assumed .88 31.92 .39 .09 .11 -.12 .31
  38. 38. 33 4.1.3 Summary of the Quantitative Part To sum up the section of quantitative research, it was found that concerning sample statistics, more German high-potential female entrepreneurs worked part-time than Indian ones. A high proportion of women in both samples founded with male partners, but the proportion of German entrepreneurs who founded with other women was 20 percent points higher than in the Indian sample. The qualitative data did not give enough insights into the reasons why the entrepreneurs chose male founders over female founders or whether it is a supply problem. There is an indication that even women perceive other women as “less entrepreneurial” as discussed on page 9 (the entrepreneur as male gendered). Also the gender proportions of the discussion networks was unbalanced, as women made up only 35 % of the network Around 20 % of German’s and 32% of Indian high-potential female entrepreneurs founded their start-up alone. Two reasons for this were indicated in the qualitative data: not finding or not needing a partner. A significant correlation between proportion of strong ties in the network and work experience was found, indicating that the more work experience a woman had, the more weak ties it developed. The sample was unbalanced in terms of company stage with a low number of German companies above 5 years of age compared to a moderate number in the Indian sample. Considering the hypotheses tested, only Hypothesis 1 (the network size of German high-potential female entrepreneurs is higher than the network size of Indian high- potential female entrepreneurs) was not rejected. All other network variables when compared did not show significant differences.
  39. 39. 34 4.2 Findings of the Qualitative Part Apart from testing stated hypotheses from entrepreneurship research with a network perspective with our samples, we also wanted to know how our entrepreneurs network and what strategies they use. If there are not any differences between Germans and Indians mentioned, the exploratory part will speak for both samples. 4.2.1 Characteristics of Network Relations Table 10 shows the characteristics of the ties between ego and its alteri. Most discussion network partners in India were contacted monthly (45%), whereas in Germany (30%) had monthly contact. Germans seem to have a higher frequency of contact with their alteri, showing also in the number of weekly contacts (Germany 47%, India 33%). The duration of their relation was biased, because duration of family ties e.g. with parents distort the picture. Therefore, the duration was calculated without kinship. The results show, that the duration of about 6 years (mean 5.78/SD 5.75) is quite similar between both samples. Table 10: Characteristics of the Ties between Ego and its Alteri Relationship All nations India Germany Frequency of Contact (percent): Once a Year Monthly Weekly Daily 4 37 40 17 5 45 33 16 4 30 47 18 Duration of relationship (years) N Min Max Mean/SD 173 0.1 9.5 9.5/10.27 91 0,1 35 10.16/10.64 82 0,3 40 8.89/9.94 Duration of relationships excluding kinship N Min Max Mean/SD 132 0.1 25 5.78/5.75 58 0.1 25 5,77/6,14 74 0.3 20 5,8/ 5,46
  40. 40. 35 Figure 6: Entrepreneurs Maintaining Contacts in Hours per Month shows the time that every female entrepreneur spend on maintaining and developing contacts. Within the middle field of 15-75 hours maintaining contacts per month, more German entrepreneurs seem to be active. A higher amount of the Indian sample spend 1-14 hours per month maintaining contacts. Figure 6: Entrepreneurs Maintaining Contacts in Hours per Month The proportions of time spend for developing new countries seems to be similar between the Indian and the German sample. 42 20 42 67 16 13 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 India Germany Maintaining Contacts 1-14 hours 15-75 hours 76-300 hours
  41. 41. 36 Figure 7: Entrepreneurs Developing Contacts in Hours per Month Table 11: Characteristics of the Ties between Ego and its Alteri Time Spend India Germany Maintaining Contacts N Min Max Mean/SD 19 2 100 32.68/33.33 15 1 300 50.3/74,7 Developing Contacts N Min Max Mean/SD 19 0 100 26.8/30.5 15 1 300 34.3/74.9 Maintaining Contacts Categories (Percent): 1 – 14 hours per month 15 – 75 hours per month 76 – 300 hours per month 42 42 16 20 67 13 Developing New Contacts Categories (Percent): 1 – 14 hours per month 15 – 75 hours per month 76 – 300 hours per month 58 37 5 60 33 7 58 60 37 33 5 7 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 India Germany Developing Contacts 1-14 hours 15-75 hours 76-300 hours
  42. 42. 37 4.2.2 Maintaining and Developing Contacts In the following part, categories were build based on Strauss’ and Corbin’s analysis for qualitative data (Strauss, Corbin & Niewiarra, 1996).To maintain contacts, most women in both samples used Social Media like Facebook or LinkedIn, or send Emails to update people. Those activities were mostly directed to a greater audience, e.g. by sending updates on Facebook or writing a newsletter that goes to many people. Personal contact via phone calls and meetings are also a mean to keep up with people. It seems that those are always valuable contacts. Often those keep-up meetings happen during lunch or over a coffee. For developing contacts, four categories were identified: - Personal references - Organizations - Events - “Cold” Contacting 4.2.2.1 Developing Contacts through Personal References In the interviews, participants where asked for each business discussion contact that was not kinship, where they encountered. The following categories arose: Known through: - School - College - Family - Friends - Previous Work - Business Contact This pattern is reflected by the answer to the question, how they develop new contacts. Personal references are one of the most used ways for the entrepreneurs
  43. 43. 38 to meet new people. Contacts introduce the entrepreneur to others, because they think it could be useful to them: “My ex-colleague just said: ‘You should meet him; he might be interesting for you.’ And then it went really fast, a personal intro via mail and the you meet.“ - German entrepreneur „A cousin of one of my friends asked me to contact him because I told her I want to start a fashion label, but I did not have any experience in design“ – Indian entrepreneur In the case of weak ties, introducing the entrepreneur to others is mostly motivated by reciprocity, or at least the expectation of reciprocity: “Or something, where I can also contribute and then go on with the discussions. See, most of the contact needs, either come from this need of information of a particular space, where there is not much information available in the Internet, and only that person based on real life experience can give me that information - or there is something to sell. If there is something to sell, than it is easier, because selling is also value proposition for both sides. There is no charity involved, right?” – Indian entrepreneur Reciprocity was not only found in the direct exchange of “contact for contact” but many other intangible goods where exchanged on a mutual basis: “He tells me about his projects, where he invests and I tell him about Berlin’s Start-up Scene, he is always curious about that” - German entrepreneur “And I have a lot of friends who are entrepreneurs. So I do discuss, in fact, I am the one who is solving problems for others and I'm giving them free advice - do this, do that. I enjoy a good conversation with them. And in the bargain I learn a lot. I give them some free advices that I think that can work for them and in the bargain I do learn a lot from their businesses and what I can
  44. 44. 39 pick from their businesses and apply to mine. So all that I keep doing.“ – Indian entrepreneur “My interactions have mostly been either transactional, so that I need something and I can give them something. Or at the philosophical level. At some higher level. It has never, never been a personal with lot of this folks.” – Indian entrepreneur While investigating in the reciprocity of contacts, a new category emerged in terms of the role of business discussion contacts: the one of mentors. Two kinds of mentors where identified. (1) Formal ones that were acquired through an organization (see chapter 4.2.2.3 Developing Contacts through Organizations) and informal ones. Excerpts concerning formal mentors: “I was part of Women entrepreneur’s organization 2 Foundation, a mentoring program that I was selected for. And I'm also selected for the Other Women entrepreneur’s organization* program for women entrepreneurs.” – Indian entrepreneur “Then I also had this mentor from NGO3. There I could ask specific questions, how do I write a business plan, how did you do it?” – German entrepreneur Excerpts concerning informal mentors: “Contact name4 is like an “uncle-like” advisor, he is a business contact”. – German entrepreneur “So it started of like that but our relationship grew from that more. Yeah I was paying him, cause that's how our relationship started (…) And during that course of time he sort of become a mentor” - Indian entrepreneur 2 Organization name changed for anonymity reasons 3 Organization name changed for anonymity reasons 4 Name changed for anonymity reasons
  45. 45. 40 “So Contact Name is one of the pioneers in that, because he has already done a number of companies that he sold. And he also wants to develop that kind of ecosystem in India. So, I've been a volunteer, and during that, I got to interact with him, and he is very knowledgeable, some kind of Guru person. So it is very easy to reach out to him and ask questions which are really complex in nature and get an answer.” – Indian entrepreneur “He is my kind of mentor and advisor because when I was in college I made my internship under him. He had a company, I met him through one of the college events. So he had given me a project during my college, so ever since I have been in touch like a mentor.” – Indian entrepreneur Almost all informal mentors where successful entrepreneurs themselves and want to give back their experience or help developing an ecospace in their field. Informal mentorship was mentioned more frequently than formal mentorship. This goes in line with findings of industry experts that advice entrepreneurs, they also tend to be informal (Aldrich et al., 1997, p. 11). 4.2.2.2 Developing Contacts through Events The second largest category was developing contacts through events. They attended either domain specific events such as trade-fairs or events especially for start-ups such as meet-ups, panel discussion or workshops. Even though almost all entrepreneurs did use events to make contacts, they regard it as something time- consuming. In addition, it seems as in early start-up phases, the possibility to visit general events is more valuable and in later stages, it becomes more selective. „I did it a lot in the beginning, but I became more selective, because it is really time consuming and it keeps you away from working on the product.
  46. 46. 41 At the moment I am really selective, so I try to find out who is there that gives me an advantage, will I meet someone and do I already know the people there.“ –German Entrepreneur We used to, in the beginning, yes. When we started out for the first maybe couple of years, we have done all of that you know, Headstart or Coffeeclub and so on. That was good, when you are starting up, but right now, I find it takes a lot of time. – Indian entrepreneur Some women reported to actively participated in the events such as panel discussions, speakers, or participation in workshops. Those women reported that it was fruitful to be active. “In some events I have been speaking. Most often we got a business out of it. So we have been seeing that this makes definitely sense for the company to do that.” – German entrepreneur “Yes, so I do attend conferences, It's a gateway to build contacts and to promote my services and built my brand. I've been talking in conferences as a speaker, quite a lot, so it's obviously an important part.” - Indian entrepreneur “I participate in many of these workshops or panel discussions, so there I get to meet people.” - Indian entrepreneur 4.2.2.3 Developing Contacts through Organizations The females also developed contacts through organizations. Four categories of organizations could be identified: - Start-up Organizations (Among them women entrepreneur programs)
  47. 47. 42 - Field specific organizations - Voluntary organizations - College Alumni Networks (only Indian sample) Especially start-up organizations were named a lot by both Indian and German entrepreneurs. The last category, direct outreach to people was less mentioned. Women that were directly contacted (e.g. via LinkedIn), showed a high reputation in their field or participated actively at events as shown above. Also, they tend be valuable for their potential network “I invest quite a few hours a day on digital, so I have these profiles on LinkedIn and twitter, and I am one of the few people, who has also a profile on LinkedIn, so it is open, so I write there. So I try to keep up to date, and try to help people who are looking for some information in digital, so that's how I'm known in this. People contact me, to get assistance to their business strategies and advice.” – Indian entrepreneur Only a few women reached out directly to people they did not know before. Also, most of the time they used an event or a common topic to have a reason to contact. This can be partly understood by looking at constrains high-potential female entrepreneurs face in networking. 4.2.3 Networking Constrains Concerning constrains to networking five categories could be identified: - Safety and Comfort - Time and everyday Business - Distance and Locality - Access to prestigious people or networks - Gender Constrains
  48. 48. 43 4.2.3.1 Safety and Comfort In this category, only Indian women were identified. It includes safety issues while travelling, especially at night but also feeling comfortable with actors, usually men. Statements show an implication of normality by using words like “one would not” or “women don’t”. “But on an average, most women would not go. And also the time when you meet people, you meet them during daytime. You don't meet somebody at 8 o'clock, or 9 o'clock or whatever. – Indian Woman One women made this internalization even very explicit. “You are comfortable during at day time, meeting in an office, in a public spaces, you don't go to meet somebody in their house for example. I mean one, it's of course not professional, but even otherwise, it... it's just…doesn't. You not….you kind of tune... you know…internalize the whole idea of reducing risks, internalizing in your brains, right.” “It is a safety issue, and it is more internalized, it's not something that you consciously think "Oh, this is maybe dangerous". It is all these, whatever, culturally or years of that kind of attitude is there, right from parents. The way you grew up. So you, there is always this basic defensive nature. And it is not conscious at all.” – Indian woman The women in India therefore prefer meeting at daytime, in public space or offices. One way to overcome uncomfortable situations with new contacts is getting knowledge about them or by knowing them though a reference: “So once people validate, it is also that reference, no? It is not a COMPLETE stranger anymore.” – Indian Woman
  49. 49. 44 4.2.3.2 Time and Everyday Business Time issue was the most mentioned constraint. This was also identified in the category of using events for developing new contacts. „I think that my issue is that I am buried so deep in everyday stuff, that it is very hard for me to take this mental space and step away and meet people.“ – Indian woman “But I am so busy with the everyday stuff that there is no time to do that” Indian woman Especially women without a co-founder mentioned time issues. “I cannot spend so much time in all those activities. Number one, the constraint is, I am alone. So each and every activity, I have to spend in each and every activity. So time constraints is one of the parts. “– Indian woman 4.2.3.3 Access to Prestigious People or Networks It was not mentioned as a huge obstacle, but it was reported, that sometimes prestigious and busy people were hard to get through. “So it's a really high level connection maybe a CTO. At least I have not faced that problem where people had ignored my mails - they take their own time, but they do get back” – Indian entrepreneur “Some of the really busy CEO types, I mean cold emailing. So I usually do some research and figure out, how I can personally meet them, or maybe attend a conference that they are speaking at, or some common contact.” - Indian entrepreneur “There is this Facebook group, and if I post something there I get almost no reaction, but if some of the people that already founded a company post something, they get more help. (…) When you
  50. 50. 45 stand at the beginning, there is nothing you can trade so you can communicate at eye level” – German entrepreneur 4.2.3.4 Distance and Locality Most of the samples of the Indian entrepreneurs worked in Bangalore; likewise, most German participants were from Berlin. Those cites played a crucial role. In German interviews “Berlin” was mentioned 107 times, the word “Bangalore” occurred 32 times in the interviews. In addition, most start-up related events mentioned were also located in Bangalore and Berlin. Not being in Berlin was sometimes experienced as a constraint: “The start-up scene in Berlin, I could not reach it yet. The problem is, I’m not inside of this circle, what shall I do? I probably have to go there and meet the people” – German Entrepreneur “It is partly difficult, if you are not from Berlin and then you don’t belong to the circle of the “chosen” people.” - German Entrepreneur „Berlin is hyped. It is the ultimate location that you have to be, especially if you’re in the tech sector. And those start-ups there think highly about themselves. They are in their own small world. It is hard, to get contacts there, when you are non-Berliner“ - German Entrepreneur A similar observation could be found in the Indian interviews: “Currently, I'm located in Rural City5, which is in the mountains. So I’m putting up here, I started from here. In order to expand into the Indian market, I probably need to network with these people, and I would probably meet these people in Cities like Bangalore, Bombay, Chennai.” - Indian Entrepreneur 5 City name changed
  51. 51. 46 “So probably I have to hook up with someone who has a network in those cities already. I'm not sure, but I'm just contemplating that it could be, that, because I'm located in a place, that maybe I could not grow my network, that could be one reason, but I'm not sure about it.” - Indian Entrepreneur 4.2.3.5 Gender Constrains on Networking As discussed in chapter 2.1.1 Entrepreneurship Research in Context: India and Germany women in both countries still face problems because of their gender. In India it is more explicit with norms that have to follow as well as the relatively new sight of seeing professional women. “So usually you don't find women going out to pubs, after dinner, I mean after work.(…) The professional networking with drinks happens only between men. Women don't do that” – Indian entrepreneur “Other aspects of the gender is also, that a lot of Indian men are not used to speak with women. They don't mean anything negative and want to exclude, they are not as skilled enough. In a networking room, walk towards a man that you don't know and say "Hello, I'm doing this." It is unnatural. And most of the time I also realized that real value connections, where you can do something of value to each, will not happen in circumstances like this, right.” – Indian entrepreneur The females developed strategies to overcome those barriers. One entrepreneur for example got into a network through sports. “So initially, I was really depressed, because I could not talk to anyone.(…) I got into sport6, and this is something that I do as a hobby, a lot of people, such as techies, as well as some of the 6 Kind of sport changed to keep the entrepreneur anonymous
  52. 52. 47 VCs are involved in that sport. And then it becomes really easy to talk, because there is a common ground.” Another strategy is to focus on other networks, when the access to networks similar to “old boy-networks”- networks that favor men (Aldrich et al., 1997) - is not available. “I somehow don't care for that (after work drinks). I mean my networking is more focused. Very specific to my area. So these are people who care about making a difference. Usually that kind of you know, going out for drinks is more a corporate kind, but really don't care for that kind of networking anymore. You know, too much of time and it is not as intellectually appealing anymore.” It seems that gender discrimination is more subtle in Germany, but still existent. A lot of it happens based on humor. On events were men are in majority, the practice not to take women entrepreneurs seriously seems to be common. “Sometimes you get those macho comments. My team and I were sitting at the lawyer and I was the only women there. Then the lawyer made comments about the “role of the women” and a funny story about women who should rather serve coffee in meetings” – German entrepreneur „Sometimes there a certain kinds of men that don’t take you seriously: you as a woman, in Technology?” – German Entrepreneur Especially German women themselves expressed a lot of gendered assumptions about men and women and their networking behavior. “The only thing women don't say anything unless they know what they are talking about.”- German entrepreneur Women more often thought-out and low-key, you make yourself smaller as you are” – German entrepreneur
  53. 53. 48 “Boys or men are generally more provoking. Just go out, try it, speak to people, just do it and go on stage.” - German entrepreneur 4.2.4 Summary of the Qualitative Part Summing up the qualitative part, the main findings revolving around high-potential female entrepreneurs’ networking behavior and activity will be presented briefly. In terms of frequency of contact, German entrepreneur show a higher frequency of contact with their discussion network members. Both samples’ average relationship duration (excluding family) was around six years. On average both, German and Indian female entrepreneurs spend around 30 hours per month on developing new contacts. While Indians spend the same amount of hours per month on maintaining contacts, Germans spend around 50 hours per month. This difference is not significant as tested with a t-test for independent samples with p 0.36 (>0.05). To maintain contacts, the interview showed that the entrepreneurs use Social Media and emails and have personal contact with selected individuals. Personal references was the most mentioned category to develop new contacts, followed by events, organizations, and at the very last “cold” contacting. Reciprocity plays a role in connecting with weak ties, so being valuable for the network is a vital strategy. It was found that female entrepreneurs profited from two kinds of mentorship: formal and informal, whereas the last mentioned one is even more important. Informal mentorship is mainly given by benevolent established entrepreneurs. Being more active in events proved also to be beneficial. Networking constrains identified were safety and comfort, time and everyday business, distance and locality, Access to prestigious people or networks as well as gender constrains.
  54. 54. 49 5 Discussion and Conclusion This thesis addressed the questions of how the networks of high-potential female entrepreneurs in Germany and India are constituted and if there are differences between them, keeping theories of the social network perspective in mind. Second, in a more explorative way, the question was posed how those entrepreneurs network. The sample showed a high proportion of German high-potential female entrepreneurs that work part-time. This goes in line with statistics of German female entrepreneurs (bga bundesweite gründerinnenagentur, 2007). In addition, within the online questionnaire the question was posed, why the entrepreneurs worked part- time, but only very few answered it. Among the reasons for working part-time were: being a student, the business not sustaining itself, having a second company or project or being a mother. In German literature, the high rate of part-time female entrepreneurs is explained by their family duties (compare chapter 2.1.1.2 Women Entrepreneurs in Germany). As family duties are a very important factor for Indian women as well, that does not explain this difference. As the results should stand under reservation limitation because of the rather small sample size (see chapter 5.1 Limitations) the small sample size might be a reason for the result. Apart from any differences among the samples, research should further examine the reasons for high-potential female entrepreneurs to work part-time or full-time, as this has important implications for policies supporting women entrepreneurs. The idea that differences among samples might not be as important as had been initially expected shows itself also in the results of the hypotheses’ testing. The observation that the sample has more mix-gender founding teams then all- women teams is probably biased because the majority of the observed women act in technology – a men dominated field, at least in Germany (bga bundesweite gründerinnenagentur, 2013), which would probably outweigh any gender homophily effects. Another factor that could influence the tendency to found with males might be due to the condition that entrepreneurs also found with partners or spouses (Ruef,
  55. 55. 50 Aldrich, & Carter, 2009). Although, this was not asked in the questionnaire, in the interviews there where mentions of co-founders being a husband or life partner. Still, the qualitative data implies that women themselves have gendered perceptions of entrepreneurship (see p.9 The entrepreneur as male gendered) as shown in the qualitative part (p. 46, Gender Constrains on Networking) and this should also be investigated. To investigate in reasons for team-formation does not imply that mixed- teams are less acceptable. In contrast, Godwin found that mixed-sex teams are beneficial for women entrepreneurs in male-dominated industries (Godwin, Stevens, & Brenner, 2006, p. 631). The sample also showed approximately 26 % of founders without co-founders. The reasons found in the qualitative interviews for founding alone were (1) not needing a co-founder and (2) not finding a co-founder. These reasons are reflected in Larson’s concept of venture formation as a process to identify a need for resources (need for co-founder) and then the trial-and-error process that is initiated by finding a “fit” for the venture (finding a co-founder) with existing contacts such as former colleagues, family members etc.(Larson & Starr, 1993, pp. 7–8). The hypotheses in this thesis revolved around differences in the network characteristics of Indian and German high-potential female entrepreneurs. Surprisingly, the only significant difference between the German and the Indian sample is a small difference in size, with the German network being bigger. All other network measures did not show significant differences between the German and the Indian sample. Other research found significant differences in cross-national comparisons of network characteristics (Aldrich & Tomoaki Sakano, 2002). In spite of those findings - what can be the reasons for the similarity of our samples? It might be a sign for the emergence of a global kind of high-potential female entrepreneurs. An indication for that is the similar “start-up – ecospace” in which most of them act that developed in Bangalore and Berlin. Thinking in terms of Fillis’ idea of entrepreneurship as a creative process, (Fillis, 2010), Florida’s concept of the “creative class” (Florida, 2002) can be applied. It stated that creative clusters – such
  56. 56. 51 as Berlin or Bangalore – are able to transform culture. Indications for that can also be found in the interviews: “I don't think in a city like Bangalore, people differentiate based on the gender. I don't find that happening.” – Indian entrepreneur “I think it depends on the city and the context. Here in Berlin, it is somehow – a level higher, so gender does not play a role here. It is more about content than about gender roles” – German entrepreneur If such regional clusters attracting global talent as Florida states (Florida, 2007), it can be assumed that this diverse hubs will be less persistent on traditional roles of females. The findings of the exploratory interview-based part offers insights into the networking activities and strategies of high-potential female entrepreneurs. Still, as stated by the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (2014), conditions for those entrepreneurs vary and are in both countries not optimal. A look at the networking strategies and activities might shed light on this. First, a look at the frequency of contact was taken. The frequency of contact to their discussion network ranged mainly from monthly to weekly, whereas India had more monthly and Germany more weekly contact to their discussion partners. This could be explained by the higher proportion of mothers in the Indian sample, but should be investigated further. To maintain contacts social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook were fundamental. The use of social media to connect to people plays a crucial role for entrepreneurs. It is not surprising that Indian women do not lag behind. Overall, females comprise 39% of the Indian Internet Population (comScore, 2013). Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are highly growing in India: There was a 28% increase in Facebook visitors in the last 12 months (Kemp). The Gender GEDI index shows that Germany and India both rank around 40 % in women with LinkedIn profiles (Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute, 2014, p. 26).
  57. 57. 52 In developing new contacts, the categories personal references, events, organizations, (especially women entrepreneurial organizations) and “cold” contacting were identified. Personal references were one of the most mentioned ways to connect to people. Strong ties will recommend the entrepreneur to people because of the emotional attachment. Following Granovetter’s (1973) approach of the strength of weak ties’ those people might be less valuable, as the information flowing in similar and cohesive networks shows less diversity and might be redundant. Our data showed that for developing contacts with weak ties reciprocity plays a role. It showed that it pays to be valuable for the network. Therefore, the network needs to know in what way the entrepreneur can be helpful to them by being visible (e.g. on social networks, Internet forums or as will be discussed in the next paragraph, through active participation in events). Stam showed that participation in industry events could lead to a beneficial brokerage effect for entrepreneurs (Stam, 2010). In addition, being known in the industry leads to a higher reputation- Larson states that initially, personal reputation leads to the formation of new ties (Larson, 1992). Although, Uzzi (1996) stated that reputation is not as important for entrepreneurs as information exchange between social relations. Of particular interest were two kinds of mentors within the networks (1) formal and (2) informal ones. It is shown that mentorship, especially for young entrepreneurs benefits them (Ozgen & Baron, 2007, p. 177). Especially female entrepreneurs have better access to finance through mentors (Carter, Brush, Greene, Gatewood, & Hart, 2003, p. 8). As the pattern evolved that informal mentors used to be benevolent successful entrepreneurs, high-potential female entrepreneur should seek contact to those. The interviews showed that especially active participation in events and making yourself valuable for your networks are vital strategies for women to get access to diverse and helpful weak ties. As stated, seeing professional women on the forefront of business, e.g. at panel discussions and on the stages might still be a rare sight, especially in India. For policy makers and women entrepreneur organization’s it is therefore vital to encourage women to participate for actively and give training
  58. 58. 53 devoted to presentation skills. At different stages of the company, events should be chosen accordingly to the resource needs of the company (Aldrich, Elam, & Reese, 1997, p. 3). It shows that for early stages, broader entrepreneur specific events are fruitful, whereas industry specific and selective events are helpful at later stages. This goes in line with the process view of contact needs in different entrepreneurial stages (Lechner, Dowling, & Welpe, 2006). Entrepreneurs in our sample developed new contacts through organizations such as start-up organizations and Alumni organizations. Cold contacting was not highly mentioned as a way to develop to new contacts. As it can be a source to valuable weak connections, a look at network constrains might give reasons why contacting strangers is not practiced highly among the sample. Networking constrains identified were safety and comfort, time and everyday business, distance and locality, access to prestigious people or networks as well as gender constrains. Probably the biggest constrains in India is women’s safety and comfort. It not only a huge problem for high-potential female entrepreneurs – but also a general societal issue that needs to be addressed. Recommendations to solve this problem would exceed this thesis’ limitations, but an exemplary perspective can be given by how start-up themselves can contribute to solve this problem. Two examples of social innovations by start-ups can be named: “Angel City Cabs” – a cab service for women with women drivers equipped with additional security arrangements such as GPS tracking and an emergency button (Prasher, October 3, 2013). Another example is women safety mobile apps that use features such as GPS and automatic dials to friends or family in case of emergency (Sakaria, 2014). Constrains concerning gender in Germany seem to be more subtle for example through sexist humor. This also is a problem to be tackled from various perspectives. One issue that pervade through this thesis are the sexist practices in entrepreneurship research and practice criticized by Ahl in chapter 2.1.2 Entrepreneurship Research in Context: Gender. Also (Godwin, Stevens, & Brenner, 2006) approve the concept of the harmful discourse of a stereotyped view of the
  59. 59. 54 entrepreneur. It is to hope that the emergence of various women entrepreneurship organizations in India and Germany help to expose those harmful practices. Other networking constrains revealed in this study were time constrains and everyday business. As research shows, network activities and time invested in these activities varies within different start-up stages (Lechner, Dowling, & Welpe, 2006). This goes in line with our finding that after the initial start-up phase, - where detecting opportunities and building the network is crucial (Singh, Hills, Lumpkin, & Hybels) - entrepreneurs started to filter and be more selective of their networking activities. To sum up, it must not be a constrain as such. However, entrepreneurs should start networking more strategically with guidelines of entrepreneurship research with a network perspective that explains what activities are useful at what times or resource needs. On one hand, it was shown that the start-up hubs of Berlin and Bangalore show significant advantages for entrepreneurs. As stated before, it might even be an emerging eco-space where gender barriers are reduced. On the other hand, not being in those start-up nerve centers can be disadvantageous. Favorable would therefore be a less centralized network of well-connected start-up hubs within the country that gives access to a wider population and can react to local needs. 5.1 Limitations and Concluding Remarks This thesis faces some limitations. Concerning the number of participants (n=34), the sample size is rather small, so it should be taken with care to do generalizations about the population of high-potential female entrepreneurs. In addition, the focus on the two countries of India and Germany concealed the existence of subcultures that might have a higher impact on networking as country differences, especially as between the sector of technology and fashion there are differences in the socioeconomic backgrounds of the actors. Similar to the critiques of Ahl not to persist on differences between men and women; it also should be taken with care on doing the same mistakes regarding apparently “developed” and “underdeveloped” countries and do research with the connotations
  60. 60. 55 of the “poor, victimized and disadvantaged” sample in contrast to the “developed and advantaged” sample. This partly happened in this research, as most hypotheses were stated as the Indian sample being on the downside, because of the difficult conditions. As shown, differences were marginal and Indian and German entrepreneurs developed fruitful networking strategies. The research stage is of course still in its beginnings, but in further development the complexity of high- potential female entrepreneurs should be considered in research designs. High- potential female entrepreneurs face different conditions around the world. Despite environmental difficulties, an important resource for them are their social networks. This thesis contributed to the scares literature on high-potential female entrepreneurs, especially by mixing quantitative network data with qualitative data. An important insight of this study is, although cross-country comparisons in female entrepreneurship are rare, differences in networks are more likely to be related to factors such as industry, business stage, full-or part time entrepreneurship etc. then those of simple country differences, assuming that subcultures are less important than the concept of a “nationwide” culture. The categories built in this research on how high-potential entrepreneurs network, delivers a comprehensive basis for further investigation. Future research should investigate deeper in different kinds of high-potential female entrepreneurs for example the reasons to work part- or fulltime and the effects on their networks; or the effect of “start-up hubs” such as Berlin and Bangalore on the networking activities and barriers of those entrepreneurs.

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