In Research


Year: 2020
Published in: Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 157, 2020,
Cited as: Rosca, E. et al. (2020) Women entrepreneurs as agents of change: A comparative analysis of social entrepreneurship processes in emerging markets. Technological forecasting & social change. [Online] 157120067–.


This study explores the entrepreneurial journey of women-led social entreprises in the highly uncertain institutional environments of emerging economies (Colombia and India). The relevance of gender in the field of social entrepreneurship is underexplored and calls for further research. This research brings specific insights on enablers and inhibitors for women social entrepreneurs.


In recent years, social and women entrepreneurship have become two growing fields of entrepreneurship research. In the context of social entrepreneurship, earlier research indicates that women are a better fit for leading social enterprises. However, the relevance of gender in the field of social entrepreneurship is underexplored and calls for further research, framing the mainstay of this study. Through a multiple case study approach employing four firms from two emerging markets – India and Colombia – we analyze how women entrepreneurs engage in social entrepreneurship processes in uncertain Base of the Pyramid environments. We use the effectuation lens to investigate the entrepreneurial journey and decision-making logics employed at various stages of the venture development. Findings show that women social entrepreneurs are highly motivated concerning social issues. Also, women entrepreneurs show a subtle transition between the two approaches of causation and effectuation during the venture creation processes. This study highlights the specific challenges that women entrepreneurs face in the emerging market context and the inclusive strategies they employ to enhance socio-economic development.


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Recommendations from this resource

Future Research

“1. Future studies might analyze/ should consider also cultural differences in more detail, as this was out of scope for our current study.

2. Second, we only used data from one specific point of time. Hence, future researchers could apply longitudinal studies to analyze effects which might occur over time.

3. Another aspect is the lack of quantitative data, or the application of experimental approaches. With such research strategies applied, further insights could be gained into woman entrepreneurship endeavours in these emerging markets.

4. Moreover, the limited sample size and insights from only one sector (healthcare) might not be sufficient for generalization of the results and hence validating the results with samples from different sectors would enhance the research further.”

Policy Makers

“Our findings entail valuable implications for public policy in emerging markets.

1. The government can fund specific programs via local hubs, accelerator and incubators targeting female entrepreneurs with customized support services. Such services can include networking for women in order to encourage them to leverage wider partners and networks beyond their personal and family circles, but also balancing social with business objectives. These publicly funded programs targeting women social entrepreneurs can also support them with evidence- based guidelines on the design of business models, revenue and distribution channels. Because of the aforementioned feminine characteristics of being more empathetic, women entrepreneurs may have a less distinct business focus. Hence, such programs are needed to ensure such a solid business case behind the entrepreneurial ventures.

2. Second, government support can be provided via subsidies or tax incentives to major companies or governmental institutions to incentivize them to work with female-led enterprises with a social purpose. By providing support and/ or procuring products and services from these enterprises, social impact can be maximized for BoP (bottom of the pyramid) communities and women entrepreneurs can be encouraged to expand their businesses. These initiatives have the potential to support female entrepreneurs to navigate turbulent institutional terrains in emerging markets and unlock valuable potentials for social impact in BoP communities. As our results outlined, female entrepreneurs are different, which needs to be considered by governmental actions.