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Gender and the use of external business advice: a Swedish study

Darush Yazdanfar (Department of Business Administration, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden)
Saeid Abbasian (Department of Tourism Studies and Geography Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden)

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1756-6266

Article publication date: 9 March 2015




The aim of this study is to examine whether there are significant differences between female and male entrepreneurs’ use of consultation during business start-ups.


Using several statistical tools, including ANOVA and seemingly unrelated regressions, empirical analyses are conducted on a unique and firm-level panel database of 837 female- and 1926 male-owned active small firms.


The results indicate that gender may be an important variable in the use of advice among small business owners in Sweden. Female owners in this study are shown to be more eager than male owners to use external business advice, and do so to a higher extent.

Practical implications

One implication of this study is that firms may not be able to use all business advice types simultaneously during their start-up stage, so an ordered list of consultancy services would help them prioritize and adjust their needs accordingly. Because the use of business advice is context-based, the findings of this study may not be generalized to firms in other countries. This paper shows some gender-based attributes/features relating to the use of business advice, which need to be better integrated into policymaking for the future assistance of small businesses.


This article focuses on an important issue and is unique partly because few studies have examined the relationship between gender and external business advice. By explicitly and empirically examining this issue, this article makes a contribution to the small- and medium-sized enterprises’ literature.



Yazdanfar, D. and Abbasian, S. (2015), "Gender and the use of external business advice: a Swedish study", International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 105-124.



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