Pathways to success : exploring the personal networks of female and minority entrepreneurs
More than 3 million American business firms begin operation every year. Despite the frequency of business startup, entrepreneurship is still not well understood. Researchers of entrepreneurship have created a rich, but conflicting, picture of the process of business creation. Little consensus exists as to the role various influences play in the stages of entrepreneurship, or the elements that determine the final outcome of entrepreneurial ventures. This study examines the personal networks of nascent entrepreneurs to determine how their networks differ by gender and race. The first wave of the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics is used to analyze the network size, the composition of resources available to the entrepreneur through her or his network, and the degree of gender and race homophily of entrepreneurial networks. The results are largely consistent with prior studies. No difference is found in network size for race or gender. The number of resources received from the network does not differ by gender, but blacks receive more resources from their networks than whites. Men have more homophilious networks than women. Black women have especially high levels of network homophily, which may affect their choice to enter entrepreneurship and restrict the number of resources they receive from their networks. These results suggest that networks differ by gender and race, and these factors are an important consideration when studying nascent entrepreneurs' networks.