Title: Crowdfunding in Italy - an exploration of chances and challenges for women entrepreneurs

Authors: Stefanie Pakura; Federica Maria Raiti; Verena Meyer

Addresses: University of Hamburg, Von-Melle-Park 9, 20146 Hamburg, Germany ' University of Pavia, Via S. Felice Al Monastero 7, 27100 Pavia, Italy ' Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Universitätsallee 1, 21335 Lüneburg, Germany

Abstract: Crowdfunding is supposed to 'democratise' the entrepreneurship funding process, as it provides access for women entrepreneurs and investors to participate. In Italy, the barriers for the participation of women in entrepreneurship, especially with regard to funding, are particularly high. In this challenging context, crowdfunding is a promising alternative, which we explore with a context-specific study from a cultural gendering perspective. Findings reveal that the interviewed crowdfunding experts and women entrepreneurs believe that, in crowdfunding, only the idea and personal commitment count, while gender does not. Interestingly, results illustrate several barriers for women entrepreneurs in practice. Overall, crowdfunding structures in Italy currently reveal gender-based barriers, but have the potential to create a more 'open space' of entrepreneurship in the future. While crowdfunding might not be the allegedly gender-neutral environment that it is often illustrated as, it might open up the path for more women-led businesses to succeed in acquiring financial resources.

Keywords: crowdfunding; reward-based crowdfunding; equity-based crowdfunding; entrepreneurial finance; women entrepreneurs; gender; Italy; culture; qualitative study; cultural gendering.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2022.124791

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2022 Vol.46 No.4, pp.483 - 504

Accepted: 15 Oct 2019
Published online: 09 Aug 2022 *

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