Entrepreneurial competencies of women entrepreneurs pursuing business growth

Siwan Mitchelmore (Bangor Business School, Bangor University, Bangor, UK)
Jennifer Rowley (Department of Information and Communications, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Publication date: 15 February 2013



Entrepreneurial competencies have an impact on firm performance and growth. The purpose of this paper is to report empirical research into the entrepreneurial competencies reported by female entrepreneurs who are committed to the growth of their business.


A questionnaire‐based survey of female entrepreneurs in England and Wales was conducted. The core of the questionnaire was a list of entrepreneurial competencies compiled from previous theoretical and empirical frameworks, coupled with Likert scales through which the entrepreneurs were invited to rate their ability in relation to each competency. PCA was conducted in order to identify clusters of competencies, and to identify the competencies that loaded onto those clusters.


Four main clusters of competencies were identified: personal and relationship, business and management, entrepreneurial, and human relations competencies. Whilst previous research on the competencies of entrepreneurs has identified the two clusters of business and management, and entrepreneurial competencies, the competencies in the other two clusters have received less attention and have not been identified as clusters. Arguably, competencies in these clusters are valued more highly by female entrepreneurs than by their male counterparts.


This study is the first to offer a comprehensive analysis of the competencies of female entrepreneurs. By identifying four key groups of competencies, the research provides the basis for an agenda for focus in education, and development of female entrepreneurs. More specifically, the Female Entrepreneur Competence (FEC) framework generated by this research can be used to support female entrepreneurs in the self‐assessment of their competencies.



Mitchelmore, S. and Rowley, J. (2013), "Entrepreneurial competencies of women entrepreneurs pursuing business growth", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 125-142. https://doi.org/10.1108/14626001311298448

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