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Jul 1, 2020

The Gender Funding Gap within the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in the United States: Does a Correlation Exist among Gender, Industry, and Funding?


Recent studies highlight females’ positive impact within the business world and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, however, females lag behind their male counterparts in funding accumulation. Previous research identified three primary causes to this discrepancy: (1) lack of females in the financial capital industry, (2) implicit bias, and (3) female- versus male-owned company characteristics and owner attitudes. What isn’t addressed, however, is an analysis of the industries pursued by females versus males. My study identifies and attempts to understand underlying causes in gender funding differences based on industry. I use a mixed-method approach of quantitative and qualitative analysis. My findings suggest (1) industry does not exhibit a significant role in gender funding differences, (2) implicit bias continues to plague females, and (3) females are underrepresented across all industry lines. Females receive fewer investment dollars than their male counterparts, appearing to directly correlate to the limited number of females entering the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Author: Abby Staker, Class of 2020
Advisor: Maryann Feldman, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

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