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How Do Women Entrepreneurs Perform in Egypt?

How women owned MSEs differ from men owned MSEs in terms of human and financial capital, with an empirical evidence from Egypt.
The recent economic and financial crisis is intensely affecting labor markets, earnings stability and occupational opportunities. A global slowdown in GDP growth, drop in household incomes, changing consumption patterns, reduced access to external credit, and stagnating demand on exports have turned the attention to the one sector that is crucial to the survival and maintenance of any local economy.

Domestic demand is now perceived as the target for recovering economies worldwide, and Micro and Small Enterprises, thereafter MSEs, are viewed as the impulse for domestic demand.

In recent years, developing countries have been undertaking a fundamental shift away from a large governed economy towards an entrepreneurial economy.

Traditional measures of entrepreneurial success in development have always been evaluated in terms of economic contribution to the GDP and employment growth. While the contribution of MSEs in overall GDP varies across countries, the impact on employment generation is evident. Approximately 97% of firms in Mexico and Thailand are MSEs (Kantis, Angelli, & Koenig, 2004; Simmons, 2004).

Mead and Liedholm (1998) verified that MSEs in five African counties generate close to twice the level of employment in large scale businesses, including the public sector. In Latin America, an ILO study (2003) found that MSEs employ a little over half the working population. Yet, these measures do not distinguish between different groups or contexts that may have different criteria for success, especially when access to resources and markets is unequal, and in particular when women are seriously crowded out by this imbalance.

The purpose of this paper is twofold:
1. To explain how women owned MSEs differ from men owned MSEs in terms of human and financial capital.
2. To what extent do these differences/similarities affect the performance of the MSE?

The rest of the paper is planned as follows: Section II provides a brief overview of the literature. Section III presents the data, definitions of variables and preliminary findings. Section IV introduces the methodology and empirical findings. Section V discusses the findings and deduces some policy implications.
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