Calling All Entrepreneurs: Participate in a UN Survey on Entrepreneurship and Innovation

11/19/10

How do men and women small business owners approach innovation differently? That’s one of the questions the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is seeking to answer through a six-country study that’s going on as we speak—as one of the organizers of the study, I’m looking for entrepreneurs in the U.S., both male and female, who can take a few minutes to participate in an online survey.

Business creation has long been known as a driver of economic growth, and new firm formation is often seen as an indicator of a healthy and growing economy. New firms challenge the status quo with new ideas or innovative approaches to existing market needs, forcing incumbent firms to either improve their products and processes or be overtaken in the marketplace. In this process of economic natural selection, only the fittest firms remain, and economic growth is stimulated.

Yet, it is increasingly recognized that one size does not fit all in terms of economic policy and enterprise support: targeted and proactive policy and programmatic support is needed to foster small firm formation and innovation in particular. There is also a growing recognition that fostering small firm formation in general does not ensure economic self-determination and opportunity for all. Women and other socially excluded groups are often left behind if an “open for all” approach is taken in business development.

At this crossroads of increasing interest in improving business-enabling environments, fostering entrepreneurship, and ensuring the economic empowerment of women comes a growing focus on fostering economic growth through innovation. We are seeking to better understand the process of innovation from a gender perspective in order to examine what impediments to innovation there may be from a structural or societal perspective—and how these impediments may vary by gender—as well as to craft recommendations for policy and practice in the area of fostering a greater level of innovation by firms, both male- and female-owned.

I’m hoping that as a reader of Xconomy you will be willing to participate in this survey. I’m especially in need of male business owners, but am looking for both men and women business owners to participate. The survey includes 46 questions, and they’re all quite thought-provoking—so by participating, entrepreneurs are doing themselves, as well as UNCTAD, a real service.

I will write a follow-up post here with aggregate results from the survey. All responses are anonymous. Participate here—and please do it soon, as the study is quickly drawing to a close: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/unitedstatessurvey.

Alicia Robb is Senior Research Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Follow @

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  • http://maguconsultantcy.blogspot.com Matthew G. Soltis

    Alicia,
    It has been six months since your posting and I am hoping to get any research you may have developed from entrepreners in rural America.
    Our group was established as a Community Economic Improvement Initiative to help rural communities in Texas to get onboard with Texas Center for Rural Entrepreneurship’s program. The Brave Visions Group is in a position to facilitate this program anywhere in the state. We are continuously seeking best practices and seek your support.