Research projects

GENRE - Overcoming the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Gender Divide: A Cross-Cultural Perspective


The project investigates the lived experience of female technology entrepreneurs within incubation and investing ecosystems in Norway, Ireland, Sweden, and Israel. We analyze how women and men are influenced by, and in turn, influence entrepreneurial ecosystems differently, by studying women’s and men’s technology entrepreneurship and how this relates to accepted femininity and masculinity norms in technology incubators and entrepreneurial finance.


Project period: 
2019-2022

Project team:
Gry Agnete Alsos (project leader), Marta Lindvert, Marianne Arntzen-Nordqvist, Elisabet Ljunggren

Collaborating partners:
Dublin City University, Ireland (lead partner), Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, Israel, Karlstad University, Sweden

Financing:
EU H2020 Gender Net, Research Council of Norway 

Brief project description
Underlying most regional entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem frameworks is the assumption that all entrepreneurs have equal access to resources, participation and support, as well as an equal chance of a successful venture start-up. However, women are underrepresented in successful entrepreneurial ecosystems and a persistent gender bias continues to exist in entrepreneurship discourse and practice. The UN SDG on Gender states that women suffer from “disadvantages in education [which] translate into lack of access to skills and limited opportunities in the labour market”. We aim to address this, by providing a nuanced understanding of how women and men are influenced by and, in turn, influence entrepreneurial ecosystems differently. In order to achieve this, we will focus on a specific facet of gender in entrepreneurship: namely women’s technology entrepreneurship and how this relates to accepted femininity and masculinity norms in different contexts. We will focus on the cultural embeddedness and interactions of gender, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems. Our comparison between Ireland, Sweden, Norway, and Israel will help to explain variations and similarities with regard to gender in technology entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem frameworks. The findings generated will inform policy development aimed at inclusivity and sustainability, thus benefiting both women and men.

GENRE investigates the extent to which entrepreneurship ecosystems support or hinder women’s technology entrepreneurship. We will:
  • Examine variations in public policy across national ecosystems for technology entrepreneurship with a gender lens.
  • Investigate the role of the ecosystem institutions technology incubation and venture capital in influencing women’s engagement in entrepreneurial ecosystems.
  • Explore the extent to which gendered understandings of (technology) entrepreneurship influences investor behaviour, and how this influences the perceived legitimacy of male and female technology entrepreneurs seeking investor funding.
  • Develop tools to visualise and challenge the underlying gender norms that inhibit the processes of innovation in entrepreneurship ecosystems.
  • Provide recommendations for a transnational gendered framework to improve women technology entrepreneurs’ participation in entrepreneurial ecosystems.


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