About This Report
Many have studied how gender ownership and gender-based experiences affect start-ups or business more generally, but comparatively few examine the role gender plays in the process by which firms grow at a high-growth rate and achieve scale-up status. As part of the broader Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, an Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) initiative to close the gender gap in entrepreneurship, Scale the Gap focuses on filling a critical knowledge gap. A quantitative methods paper, this research complements the qualitative work recently published, Growing their own way: High-growth women entrepreneurs in Canada.
Using a representative survey on growth experiences for small and medium firms, we examine the unique challenges women-owned firms face while growing toward scale-up status. We find that, while the gender ownership structure of firms doesn’t inherently impact the likelihood that a firm will scale, scale-ups owned by women tend to be smaller than those with higher men-ownership shares. We also find that when women-owned firms encounter growth challenges — such as regulatory issues and talent-related challenges — differently than men-owned companies, and are less likely to overcome these challenges.
This research will help policymakers navigate the complex gender dynamics that exist in growth entrepreneurship, and help identify points where policy interventions can create a significant impact in closing the growth gaps for women entrepreneurs in Canada.
Read this report to help you:
- Understand how to identify scale-ups, and why they are important.
- Explore women entrepreneurship experiences related to firm growth and reaching scale-up status.
- Identify unique challenges firms with women ownership encounter while growing their firms.
- Identify policy intervention opportunities or programs to support the growth of firms with women ownership, and where additional research (including program evaluation) is required.