Women Entrepreneurs and Family Firm Heterogeneity: Evidence from an Emerging Economy

Abstract Family firms add to the economic and social well-being of countries. While research on heterogeneity of family firms is gaining momentum, it has mostly been gender-neutral. The study fills this gap by examining heterogeneity of family firms owned and managed by women, in the context of a developing country—Brazil. The study draws upon the resource-based view of the firm to investigate the relationships between firm performance, family involvement, and financial resources at the start-up phase. An inductive analysis reveals two patterns. First, family firms that are started with the family achieve better performance than firms that are launched without the family and later evolve into a family business. Second, family firms that are funded with women entrepreneur’s own savings achieve worse performance than family firms that are started with borrowed funds. The results are useful for strategic decision making in fostering family businesses headed by women and proactive public policies for future innovation to enhance the success of women entrepreneurs.

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