Title: Acceleration as Mitigation: Whether and When Process Solutions Can Address Gender Bias in Entrepreneurship
Abstract: 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.
Biography: Sarah Kaplan Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy and Distinguished Professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She is author of the business bestseller, Creative Destruction and more recently Survive and Thrive: Winning Against Strategic Threats to Your Businessboth of which address the challenges of organizational change. Her research has covered how organizations participate in and respond to the emergence of new fields and technologies in biotechnology, fiber optics, financial services, nanotechnology and most recently, the field emerging at the nexus of gender and finance. She recently authored “Gender Equality as an Innovation Challenge” (2017) in the Rotman Management Magazine, “The Risky Rhetoric of Female Risk Aversion” (2016) in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Meritocracy: From Myth to Reality” in the Rotman Management Magazine (2015), “The Rise of Gender Capitalism,” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (2014). She is Senior Editor at Organization Science, Guest Editor of a special issue on new research methods at Strategic Management Journal, and formerly Associate Editor for The Academy of Management Annals. Formerly a professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (where she remains a Senior Fellow), and a consultant and innovation specialist for nearly a decade at McKinsey & Company in New York, she completed her doctoral research at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The Technology Management Program Dean’s Research Lecture Series is the premier event that brings accomplished and inspiring professors to campus to explore topics related to the field of technology management and organizations. The lecture series provide a forum for the academic community to learn from and engage in conversations with outstanding scholars on cutting-edge research findings.
Each quarter will feature several preeminent speakers. Lectures will last approximately one hour and take place in the TMP Executive Learning Center, Phelps Hall 1410. Lunch is provided for all guests who RSVP.
Attendees are required to register prior to the event for lunch and space reservation. For more information, contact Amanda Higham via email or by phone at 805-893-7577.