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Competencies associated with growth of women-led SMEs

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

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 11 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to identify the entrepreneurial competencies that women SME owners perceive to be important to the success of their business, and the competencies that women with high turnover growth rate deem important, and makes a comparison between the two sets of competencies.


A questionnaire-based survey of female entrepreneurs in England and Wales collected data on those entrepreneurial competencies that women perceived to be important for their business, alongside key business performance measures, such as turnover growth rate. A ranking of the top ten competencies that women thought were important for success was generated; this ranking was compared with a list of four competencies identified as being important by those women whose businesses exhibited high business growth.


All of the competencies perceived by the whole group to be important to the success of their business were personal and relational competencies. This is in stark contrast to the findings from logistic regression, which shows that high-growth businesses can be differentiated from low-growth businesses regarding the importance assigned to the following four competencies by their owners: pro-activeness, strategic planning and implementation for opportunities, acquiring finance, and risk-taking.


This study suggests that women business owners’ prioritisation of the key competencies for their business may impact on business growth, and raises the question as to whether women business owners are able to identify the competencies that will drive the growth of their business. The particular contribution of this study is this gap, which poses challenges for policy makers, practitioners, and researchers.



Mitchelmore, S., Rowley, J. and Shiu, E. (2014), "Competencies associated with growth of women-led SMEs", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 588-601.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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