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Published on Jun 13, 2012
Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School
Entrepreneurship has been shown to have profound public policy effects due to the vital role it plays in economic development. Women receive less than 5% of all of the early-stage capital investment in the US, yet women account for 55% of new start-ups. Therefore, understanding the differences between women and men at the early stages of entrepreneurship can be an important opportunity to identify how women might obtain more from early-stage funders and thus drive important management policy decisions in terms of finance capital and venture growth. This talk details three years of pitches from a prestigious entrepreneurial competition (the MIT $100K competition) where the winners of the business plan competition often gain early-stage capital investments from local investors, to determine if the qualities differ between "winners" (finalists in the pitch competition) and entrants in general in terms of gender. Then Balachandra tracks the entrants to determine the relative long-term "success" of the venture following the competition. She finds that while women are just as likely to "win" when pitching - in fact women are stronger presenters than men - and women who enter the competition are equally as likely as men to pursue starting the venture over the long-term, women, however, are not equally likely to initially pursue high growth entrepreneurship opportunities. The overall impact for entrepreneurship and policy are discussed.