Martin, Lynn M. and Wright, Len Tiu (2005) No gender in cyberspace?: Empowering entrepreneurship and innovation in female-run ICT small firms. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 11 (2). pp. 162-178. ISSN 1355-2554

Purpose – To explore how information communication technologies (ICT) and the internet offer new opportunities for women to develop as entrepreneurs and innovators. To add to the literature and provide updated research to raise awareness about female-run ICT small businesses.

Design/methodology/approach – Uses qualitative research methodology for case studies of female entrepreneurs and thematic grid analysis to form a major part of text analysis. The approach is influenced by the need to examine closely the nature of the enterprises or phenomena under investigation and to ask pertinent questions related to their particular mode of operations.

Findings – Shows the background of small firm development and innovation as well as personal and company characteristics, personal contacts and IT networking in obtaining information and customers. Reflects also the concern of female entrepreneurs from ethnic minorities in gaining financial backing and recognition of themselves as committed and successful entrepreneurs.

Research limitations/implications – The main limitation is the small size of the sample (ten firms). There are implications for further work on gender analysis. The sample, though small, has contributed insights into the challenges facing women entrepreneurs in business and questioned the constraints on ethnicity for others. Technology is a great equaliser and the research has added further discussion on the economic contribution of female entrepreneurs.

Practical implications – Shows guidance on qualitative analysis using personal interviews and thematic grid analysis of textual data, as well as presenting findings.

Originality/value – Contributes to the literature due to the scarcity of publications concerning female-operated ICT small businesses. The paper is useful for researchers wishing to pursue entrepreneurship and gender studies.

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