Women in charge - 4 types of female Entrepreneurs

Recently, rehearsing for the GMAT (yes! I will present it for the 3rd time! Outstanding, isn`t it) I came across with a reading comprehension passage that explained a study of two researchers and authors called Robert Goffee and Richard Scase. I never heard of them before (have you?), but one of their studies on female entrepreneurship called so much my attention, that I couldn`t help googling as much as I could about them and their work.

There are few ideas resulting of their research that called tremendously my attention. Why? It is not that their “discoveries” appeared surprising to me, one could have also concluded them by looking around with a bit of detail, but still - the concreteness of the way they presented their conclusions in such a structured manner, putting empirical assumptions I personally have always had into formal papers, is what made me really like their work. Well, let`s go to the point, what is Goffee & Scase`s work all about?

1- First, they concluded that women become entrepreneurs as a means to overcome not only unfair, discriminatory selection criteria (such as age, previous experience, and of course, gender), but also as a means to overcome subordination. Simple: If I start my own business, nobody will judge my capacity to run it and I will be my own boss!

2- Goffee & Scase classify women Entrepreneurs into 4 main types.

a. The first type is called “INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURS”, these are women that mainly started a business to challenge conventional assumptions about the social position of women. They want to prove through their own (success) case that work or professional development is more important than conventional female roles. These Entrepreneurs want to fulfill professional ambitions in their own companies that previous roles as employees did not allow them to.

b. The second type of Women Entrepreneurs is called “RADICALS-PROPIETORS”. These girls are active in economic and political ventures that strongly promote female issues. They do not care as much for profit-making (without saying that their business are not profitable) as “INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURS”, their motivation is to advocate for the long term development of women interests.

c. The third category is called “CONVENTIONALS”. These women, who are also not attached to traditional female roles, differ from “INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURS” in the fact that they do not necessarily present resentment about limited career opportunities in previous jobs. In fact, they might have exercised secondary jobs in the past and they might have changed from job several times. To me (Oriana) this is the category that I understood the less, I mean, for me “CONVENTIONALS” are “INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURS without resentment” who had less job stability in the past.

d. The final type is called “DOMESTICS”. These women, even if self-employed and entrepreneurs, see their businesses as secondary to their roles as mothers and wives, for instance. Having their own company offers opportunities for self-fulfillment and autonomy, however subordinated to their personal obligations.

I am a freak of classifications, that`s maybe one of the reasons why I loved Goffee & Scase conclusions. All types are fascinating on their own, and I know real women in my close circle of influence that fall into each of those categories. I think I personally am a “CONVENTIONAL” with some influence of RADICALS-PROPIETOR”. “DOMESTICS” are not bad at all, in the end, work-life balance is not only important, but sustainable.

So, what type are you? Do you know an impressive role model that fall into one of these four types?


Heather said...

Hi Oriana,

I’ve been working with women entrepreneurs for the past 4 years and I too find such classifications fascinating. I grew up in the United States and spent my professional career between New York and Latin America and I have to agree with you on the similarity between Conventional and Innovative Entrepreneurs. I consider myself an Innovative Entrepreneur in the making channeling any challenges to my success into motivation to achieve more. But of course this is highly related to age and professional experience and I imagine I will switch between the different classifications at different stages of my life.

In my work, I found that most of the entrepreneurs I have collaborated with tend to be Domestics; however those that were high-growth potential entrepreneurs were Innovatives or Conventionals. I see that you work with Endeavor, I love to hear your thoughts on the classifications of the women entrepreneurs you have worked with.

Thanks for the post,
Heather Kipnis

Oriana Torres said...

Hey Heather,

Thanks for your comment.
Almost every female Entrepreneur I`ve come across has shared at some point that they enjoy not having subordination - that fits perfectly one of the two overall motivations of the study. But in the end, when it comes to clasifying them, I would say many of them rather fall into CONVENTIONALS.