Purpose – This exploratory study aims to examine how knowledge acquired via guanxi (networks and connections) is enabling women in China to overcome a number of significant barriers and challenges in order to start and grow successful businesses. Design/methodology/approach – The authors undertook two in-depth interviews to qualitatively investigate the use of guanxi as a means of overcoming various barriers faced by Chinese women in establishing and growing their businesses. Findings – The findings suggest that family background (and, in particular, support from parents and spouses), experience, training, education and finance are key success factors influencing the performance of women-led firms in China. The experiences of the two entrepreneurs in the study demonstrate the importance of mentors in helping to develop a woman's business acumen and providing the right contacts to help overcome potential barriers to developing a successful business. Research limitations/implications – While this study provides a useful first step to better understanding the role of guanxi networks in supporting women-led ventures in China, further research is needed to test the generalizability of the findings. Originality/value – This study contributes to the limited prior research focusing on the important role of guanxi networks in assisting Chinese women to successfully launch and grow new ventures.
|International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship
|Published - 4 Mar 2014