Women’s participation in the small business sector is a growing phenomenon worldwide. While considerable research has been conducted into the reasons why women enter small business and their penchant for operating solo operations or micro businesses (up to five employees) less is known about the heterogeneous nature of women in small business and the reasons behind their “failure” to “grow” their businesses. The research reported here concerns a major study into the status of women in small business in Australia. Apart from examining barriers which may prevent women from expanding their businesses the findings address a new paradigm of women in small business. This paradigm captures the multiple trajectories that women follow in their businesses the type of businesses that they operate and their relation to the stages of a woman’s/business life cycle. The findings hold important implications for policy makers who are attempting to devise programmes to assist this growing segment of the small business sector.
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