Drawing on the scientific and policy literature published between 2006-2021, we aimed to understand the current research on (women) entrepreneurship in higher education, gender inclusivity, and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems to present the most comprehensive insights into entrepreneurship education developments and entrepreneurial ecosystems that have a specific focus on gender inclusivity.
Armed with this expansive literature review, our WeRin research team, led by the FH Münster University of Applied Sciences with partners Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, University of Zagreb , Istanbul Technical University and Munster Technological University , explored within the context of entrepreneurial ecosystems and entrepreneurship education the impact of networks, role models, gender bias and stereotypes on the entrepreneurial behaviour and intentions of women.
Our aim is to make women feel invited to the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. The question is:
How can we enhance the inclusivity of regional entrepreneurial ecosystems and the embeddedness of women entrepreneurs therein through the design of more inclusive academic and non-academic entrepreneurship education and support programs?
Women entrepreneurship and gender have been mostly contextualised as a “women’s issue” since women have been the driving force behind equality and inclusivity. This view has contributed to the perception that only women are the primary beneficiaries of a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. Men also benefit from inclusivity since they also constantly experience rigid gender norms. It is essential to engage more men in standing for inclusivity and important for all to understand how to develop gender inclusivity entrepreneurship in education and entrepreneurial ecosystems. In this way, inclusivity can only be achieved through the equal participation of men and women.
“Advancing inclusion within entrepreneurial ecosystems has recently come to the fore of attention. Given that women and other underrepresented groups still face a range of challenges in accessing ecosystem resources, their potential remains substantially untapped. The literature review highlights the need for more differentiated support policies and entrepreneurship offerings that advance ecosystem inclusion and respond to specific needs of all entrepreneurs no matter their gender, age, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”
Iulia Stroila, PhD (c) Lead Researcher at FH Münster University of Applied Sciences
“This literature review reveals where the structural barriers for women entrepreneurs are and is a perfect steppingstone towards policy changes to build a more inclusive environment for all nascent entrepreneurs.”
Saskia Stoker, PhD Candidate & Researcher at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
After mapping out the contemporary literature on inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems and their related concepts, we were able to identify trends within the inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem research and generate a research agenda that calls for further research. We propose a path focused on (women’s) entrepreneurship in higher education, gender inclusivity, and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems. A compelling research agenda is provided within our report to advance work in this area.
Iulia Stroila – PhD Candidate & Lead Researcher at FH Münster University of Applied Sciences
Saskia Stoker – PhD Candidate & Researcher at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences