Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lisa A. Steelman

Second Advisor

Jessica L. Wildman

Third Advisor

Gary N. Burns

Fourth Advisor

Enrique Perez


During the past several years the number of women-owned firms increased by 45% from 2007-2016, a rate five times faster than the national average. However, their overall venture growth is far below the national average. The benefits of studying the internal and external context in which this phenomenon has occurred will help us to understand what types of interventions may contribute to enhancing venture growth intention for women entrepreneurs. In light of the scant research linking factors such as self-confidence, access to role models, perceived family support and risk-taking to venture growth intention for women entrepreneurs, this study examines a serial mediation model based partially on Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior (1991) and feminist theory. The proposed hypotheses were investigated using data collected from 196 women entrepreneurs affiliated with a national network of Women’s Business Centers partially funded by Small Business Administration grants throughout the US. Hypotheses received mixed support. Risk propensity was positively related to venture growth intention. The relationship between internal self-confidence and venture growth intention was mediated by risk propensity. Neither access to role models nor perceived family support affected venture growth intention through internal self-confidence and risk propensity.


Copyright held by author.