v16_2005f - 94 Christopher Jay Walker 5 FEMALE...

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94 Christopher Jay Walker 7 5 Christopher Jay Walker is a joint degree candidate in Law and Public Policy at Stan- ford Law School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University ([email protected]). F EMALE E NTREPRENEURSHIP AND B USINESS C ONSORTIUMS : P ROSPECTIVE S OLUTIONS FOR A RGENTINA S E CONOMIC C HALLENGES Christopher Jay Walker As Argentine policy makers attempt to promote and sustain development after the economic crisis that emerged at the turn of the century, the role of business consortiums merits particular attention—especially with regard to assisting female entrepreneurs in business venturing. After reviewing the lit- erature on gender in the marketplace, this article explores the results of a qualitative case study conducted in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which focuses on the role of women in business consortiums. The study compiles and analyzes data from 314 business consortiums and seventy interviews of business own- ers and managers in Argentina. Five primary roles of business consortiums emerged from this field research: (1) training on business operations and practices; (2) collaboration on projects that promote common interests; (3) forums for idea and experience sharing; (4) opportunities for networking; and (5) resources for aid and support. Further analysis of existing consortiums in Argentina reveals that businesswomen are less likely to participate in consortium training and activities than their male counterparts, and that this gender dichotomy could be correlated with a lack of female consortium leaders. Policy
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95 Female Entrepreneurship and Business Consortiums: Prospective Solutions for Argentina’s Economic Challenges recommendations are put forth that focus on public and private sector efforts to boost Argentine entrepreneurs’ membership in local business consortiums and strengthening female representa- tion in consortium leadership. 1 In 1990, Beatriz Segni initiated Milano Buenos Aires, a commercial design and production company (2001b). She had embarked on her dream to succeed in the business marketplace years before, by acquiring a college education and graduate degree. Because of the many gender- specific obstacles she encountered during the venturing process, in March 1996 she established a business consortium for female entrepreneurs, the Argentine chapter of the Asociación de Empresarias (ASEM). Using her business experience, combined with leadership ability and empathy for female entrepreneurs, Segni helps other Argentine women in their business ventures by providing training, networking connections, and other support. Regarding the current economic crisis in Argentina, she notes, “The world is a mess, and there is much to be done” (2001b). She claims that part of the solution to Argentina’s economic woes involves female participation in entrepreneurial activity (Perez 2001, 12). She argues, however, that gender issues in Argentine businesses must be better understood before viable solutions can be implemented. This case study identifies obstacles
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