Gender differences in the motivations and strategies of female and male academic entrepreneurs
Academic entrepreneurship is increasingly seen as significantly advancing national efforts to innovate and compete globally. Despite long-term attempts to promote academic spin-off formation however, its numbers across Europe remain relatively low. At the same time, the scarce available data on women in entrepreneurship suggests that while their numbers may be lower, they also appear to choose different business models and focus on different markets than men. The goal of this study therefore was to examine potential differences in motivations and strategies between female and male academic entrepreneurs and, based on this, to project how greater participation by women may benefit the German transfer landscape. We interviewed 40 academic entrepreneurs for this exploratory case study. Their motivations (including gender differences) were identified using open-ended, qualitative content analysis. Our findings suggest that female academic entrepreneurs are often driven by the ideals of creating something for the common good and making a social difference. Male academic entrepreneurs on the other hand appear to pursue more personal goals.