International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1756-6266

Article publication date: 27 September 2011



(2011), "Preface", International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 3 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Preface From: International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Volume 3, Issue 3

The DIANA project began in 1999 when five friends and colleagues (Professors Candida Brush, Nancy Carter, Elizabeth Gatewood, Patricia Greene and Myra Hart) – having read a newspaper article highlighting that less than 5 percent of venture capital went to female-owned firms in the USA – decided to do something to raise the awareness and expectations of women business owners in relation to growing their enterprises. The initial project, funded by the Kauffman Foundation, was US centric. However, these scholars recognised that the barriers faced by women entrepreneurs, pertaining to their gender, were global, notwithstanding variations in different contexts. They considered that it was essential to establish a rigorous, global research base in order to influence systems, attitudes, opinions and practices.

To this end, they established the DIANA International Research Network in 2003 in partnership with the Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research Institute (Sweden). The DIANA Network has continued to flourish from this time, with DIANA Symposia attracting increasing numbers of attendees and more diverse research submissions exploring different facets of women’s entrepreneurship. Professor Greene outlined the evolution of research into women’s entrepreneurship in recent years highlighting that research now included:

[…] studies on women in incubation, performance (growth) and outcomes (profitability). The importance of networking to small businesses and in particular to women-owned firms was still evident she said, however the focus seemed to be shifting towards examining the role of social capital in networks and the importance of role models. Whereas, almost ten years ago, women’s entrepreneurship research explored the importance of self-esteem and vision, the research agenda had shifted to explore individual characteristics and behaviours, human capital, growth aspirations, gender, leadership and the work-family interface. Research exploring the ecological influences on venture creation has moved away from a singular focus on culture to a wider perspective that also incorporated groups (race/ethnicity and spousal partners), religion, environment (geography, industrial sector and institutional context) plus economic systems, social entrepreneurship and barriers to growth (Treanor, 2009, p.164).

To that end, this Special Issue presents research from the DIANA International Research Symposia 2010, which took place August 3and 4, 2010 in Banff, Canada, themed “Extending Women’s Entrepreneurship Research in New Directions”. This edition presents research on women’s entrepreneurship in international contexts that reflect the current variety of work ongoing in this field.


Treanor, L. (2009), “Diana International Research Symposium 2008”, International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 164–6

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