110 CLEARING THE HURDLES: WOMEN BUILDING HIGH-GROWTH BUSINESSES
Summary
It’s fair to say that perceptions that women lack the requisite human
capital to run high-growth ventures are not realistic. Women have
achieved near equality in undergraduate business education, medical
schools, and law schools, with substantial gains in MBA education as
well. Likewise, women with extensive managerial and executive exper-
tise are no longer the exception. Our research shows that among high-
growth women entrepreneurs, their experience and education is equal or
better to their male counterparts running high-potential ventures.
Although there certainly is variation in women’s composite industry,
functional and technical backgrounds, as well as educational degrees,
the statistics don’t suggest that women are in any way substandard or
inadequate compared to their male counterparts. The reality is that each
entrepreneur, male or female, needs to be assessed for “t” to the partic-
ular venture, its strategy, and the product or market opportunity void it
seeks to ll. A right combination of human capital is “right” for the ven-
ture not because the woman entrepreneur needs to meet a certain stan-
dard. The same is true for women executives, managers of nonprots, or
those in public administration. This perception thus has minimal basis
for limiting women’s opportunities to acquire money for growth.
There are only two areas where women’s human capital develop-
ment might be slower than expected; in terms of industry experience,
they are still the exception and minority at the most senior corporate
executive level, such as CEOs and board members of Fortune 500
rms, and with regard to the percentage of women graduating with
engineering degrees. However, when we consider the composite of
experience and education, women should be condent in their capabil-
ities. One woman entrepreneur stated that condence in your human
capital is based not only on what you have done, but what you can do,
your potential.

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