On International Women’s Day: Differences in Gender Roles within Start Up Ventures

Entrepreneurship – A Route To Empowerment

At Pivomo, we have longed believed that entrepreneurship provided one means to redress the overall gender imbalances and inequalities in our society, which range from unequal access to power, influence, wealth and well being. Entrepreneurship offers empowerment and agency to women, and scope to “do it for ourselves”. Traditional private and public sectors organisations, including universities, have been “glacially slow” (1), in providing women with access to senior roles in the organisation.

Pivomo has been researching female entrepreneurship in depth since 2012. What do women say about the entrepreneurial roles they play, and how does this differ from men?

What the Data Says

However, even here in the more fluid space of entrepreneurship women are meeting roadblocks with less access to venture funding and as suggested by our own data, more emphasis on the need to share ownership in a board. This can be seen by how men and women define their roles according to their Dynamiqe™ psychometric profiles (see summary “Implications for Founders” below). For instance, men more frequently describe themselves as the Driver of their venture. This indicates they see themselves as the originator, owner and visionary of the project. By contrast, 5% fewer women describe themselves as Drivers.

While both men and women tend to under-emphasize the importance of the Dealer role in networking and rainmaking both sales and potential investment sources, this oversight is likely to affect women more adversely, due to the inbuilt discrimination that prevails across the finance industry when it comes to providing women with equal access to funding. In short, men are prone to get by on the “seat of their pants”, whereas women are not offered the same lucky breaks.

About the Dynamiqe™ Psychometric Tool

The Dynamiqe™ psychometric tool is based on 5 years of doctoral research and 4 years of follow up applied research. The tool is now in place in over 25 tech accelerators, universities and enterprise hubs around the world, and in use by thousands of founders of start-up and scale-up teams.

56% of the original research sample were female entrepreneurs, drawn from all parts of the world. The tool therefore has high gender and cross cultural validity. Dynamiqe is based on a self completed questionnaire, that poses reflective choices on key decisions taken in the entrepreneurial role. The instrument can be completed as many times as the participant likes, until they generate a result that they believe reflects the “best fit” approach to how they engage in their entrepreneurial role.