Sources of advice in entrepreneurship: Gender differences in business owners' social networks

Sherry Robinson, Hans Anton Stubberud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Access to resources, particularly sources of information and advice, is highly important to start-up companies. Men have traditionally enjoyed stronger formal networking positions than have women because they have more often worked in managerial and executive positions before starting businesses. Informal social networks are often sex-segregated as well. Whereas men are more likely to identify their most important supporters as lawyers, accountants, and other professionals, with spouses second, women tend to say their spouses are their most important supporters, followed by close friends (Hisrich & Brush, 1986). The result is that women entrepreneurs are often at a disadvantage in terms of their social networks and the resources, information, and advice they can obtain through them. To examine this issue more closely, this study analyzes data from the European Union regarding business owners' reported sources of advice. The results show that women were more likely than men to name friends and family as a source of advice. On the other hand, men were more likely than women to name professional acquaintances and professional consultants as sources of advice. This difference could have implications for business performance as the information acquired from informal sources (family and friends) is not likely to be as useful as that obtained from more formal sources such as professional acquaintances and consultants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-101
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Sources of advice in entrepreneurship: Gender differences in business owners' social networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this