Academy of Management Proceedings
As Publisher

"This study draws on social learning theory and research concerning role model effects to understand how exposure to female entrepreneurial role models influences the development of entrepreneurial self-efficacy, attitudes and intentions among female students. In our study, we find that exposure to female entrepreneurs particularly boosts the development of entrepreneurial self-efficacy and attitudes towards entrepreneurship of female students. We explore five mechanisms to explain role model effects as an emergent outcome of a reciprocal relationship between student and entrepreneur. We find that if entrepreneurs signal high levels of supportiveness and interest in the student's project outcomes, the importance of working with an entrepreneur of the same-gender decreases.

This study provides evidence that role model effects do not only occur by chance, but can be purposefully triggered in an educational setting. Hence, exploiting female role model effects may serve as an effective mechanism to foster female entrepreneurship."

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"Increasing attention - both in the scholarly literature and in the world of policy makers and practitioners - is being paid to the challenges facing female entrepreneurs. What was once assumed to be a merit-based system for encouraging and rewarding entrepreneurs is now understood to operate in gendered ways that in many cases disadvantage female founders. These effects occur across the entire pipeline, beginning with the dearth of women seeking to start high growth companies, to the lack of funding opportunities and mentorship. There are substantial differences in the number of startups led by women, their levels of relevant experience and the amount of funding - both debt and equity - they seek and receive. Some have argued that women tend to found lower potential startups. Yet, even controlling for quality, we see many implicit biases in how female founders are treated. One important approach to redressing inequalities might be through the use of accelerators. Entrepreneurship accelerators are proliferating in both developed and developing economies as different cities, regions and sectors seek to increase economic growth and employment. Accelerators are designed to give a boost to startups by providing in a concentrated way the mentorship, networks, training and financing required to be successful. The presence of accelerators could have the potential to solve some of the challenges female entrepreneurs face, however preliminary evidence suggests that they, for the most part, seem to be perpetuating the gendered dynamics that exist in the entrepreneurial system. On the other hand, there is no systematic research on how accelerators do or might address the gendered dynamics of entrepreneurship. Because accelerators are seen as such an important policy tool for increasing entrepreneurial success, it is imperative that we develop and analyze systematic data on accelerators and their effects, particularly on female founders. In this study, we will draw on what is known to date on female entrepreneurs and more broadly on the research on gender in organizations and the economy to understand the dynamics of acceleration in entrepreneurship. Using a longitudinal database of over 3,000 ventures in nearly 50 accelerators, we trace the effects of selection into the accelerator and the acceleration process on outcomes for women-only, women-led, and male-only venture teams. We couple survey data with interviews of accelerators to understand whether and when acceleration can be a tool for mitigating gender bias in female entrepreneurship."

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"The recent emergence of business accelerators around the world has positioned them as a key player in many regional innovation ecosystems. However, significant confusion exists among academics, industry practitioners and policy-makers about what these organizations are. The confusion stems from their association with incubators and from a lack of differentiation among accelerators. As a result of such lack of clear conceptualization academic and other stakeholders risk drawing false conclusions regarding how these organizations fit into different aspects of the regional innovation ecosystem. In this study we use archival and interview data from the Australian context to differentiate accelerators. While we find accelerators that fit the emerging definition of the concept, we also find several that stretch the definition and meaning of 'accelerator'."

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