Despite an increasing trend in the number of females who start businesses in Western countries, the proportion of female compared to male entrepreneurs is still relatively low. Moreover, past research has found that females tend to start businesses with less potential for profitability and growth than men. Investigates gender differences among Norwegian entrepreneurs in the process of starting a new business. Tests the following three hypotheses: H1 ‐ during the business gestation process female entrepreneurs stress personal expectancies while male entrepreneurs stress economic expectancies; H2 ‐ during the business gestation process women perceive stronger social support than men do, and women put more emphasis on such support than men do; H3 ‐ female entrepreneurs perceive having less control and lower entrepreneurial abilities than their male counterparts. In support of H1 and H2, females were found to emphasize independence as a reason for start‐up, and to perceive a high degree of social support during the business gestation process. However, contrary to H3, females were found to perceive themselves as possessing higher entrepreneurial abilities than men.
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