Academic journal article ASBBS E - Journal

Entrepreneurial Orientation and Innovation Investment: A Comparative Analysis of Factors Leading to Exporting among Atlantic Canadian Women Business

Academic journal article ASBBS E - Journal

Entrepreneurial Orientation and Innovation Investment: A Comparative Analysis of Factors Leading to Exporting among Atlantic Canadian Women Business

Article excerpt


The data analyzed in this paper were collected as part of a larger government-sponsored study, dedicated to understanding the unique experiences and needs of women business owners in Atlantic Canada. The goals of the larger study focused on how and why women started businesses and if they were exporting or had export intentions. The research also focused on supplier diversity, the use of various kinds of export supports, and the goals which motivate women to start businesses and develop them. The focus of this particular paper is to investigate the extent to which goals in starting their businesses influenced the potential export activity of women business owners in Atlantic Canada. Previous research indicated that startup motivation was a critical factor in business success. In addition to considering start-up goals and exporting, this research also focused on ways in which business owners can become more fully engaged propelling the business towards growth by examining research and development activity and investment in technology.

This research was collected on behalf of the Atlantic Canada Women in Export (AC WIE) working group. AC WIE is a collaborative effort made up by the Centre for Women in Business (Halifax, NS), the PEI Business Women's Association, Women in Business New Brunswick, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs. The mandate of ACWIE is to identify and develop pan-Atlantic opportunities that support, enhance, and increase export activity among women-business owners (WBOs) This research was funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and approved by the University Research Ethics Board.


Women-owned businesses are a vital part of the Canadian economy. Government statistics reported that one-third of all self-employed individuals in Canada in 2011 were women (Industry Canada, 2012). In 2011, there were 950,000 self-employed women in Canada (Industry Canada, 2012). Developing entrepreneurial activity among women has had a vital impact on wealth and job creation across the country.

Exporters are an economic driver of the Canadian economy and exporting can be an important strategic means of developing markets beyond Canada's relatively small domestic market. Exporting has accounted for close to 40 percent of Canada's gross domestic product in recent years and in 2010 the total value of exports was approximately $313 billion (Industry Canada, 2012). The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (2011) cites the benefits of exporting as increased sales, higher profits, economies of scale, reduced vulnerability, new knowledge and experience, global competitiveness, and domestic competitiveness.

In terms of exporting, Orser and Carrington (2006) found that womenowned firms were significantly less likely to export compared to their male counterparts. However, they found that the majority of research was focused on particular sectors such as manufacturing, high-tech based, and highknowledge-based firms. Female business owners tend to populate the service industry and this sector is often excluded from research studies of exporting in small/medium sized businesses (Lefebvre & Lefebvre, 2000). Orser, Spence, Riding, and Carrington (2009) conducted a study in 2009 that controlled for sector, firm, and owner attributes. Their findings supported the conclusion that female majority-owned firms were significantly less likely to export than firms owned by men. In a briefing dated December 2012 by the Conference Board of Canada it was noted that Canada's trade strengths are shifting away from some manufactured products toward professional services and products related to Canada's natural resource wealth and that this could be an encouraging change in trade patterns for women business owners (Burt & Ai, 2012).

When examining the export tendency of women-owned businesses, it is useful to look at the entrepreneurial orientation of women business founders. …

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