From the August 1998 issue of Entrepreneur

Inquiring minds want to know--why are so many women starting their own businesses?

It's probably not for the reason you think. A new study reveals an unexpected motivation, as glass-ceiling issues no longer take center stage. It seems women today--like so many men in the past--are simply inspired by the idea of entrepreneurship.

These and other entrepreneurial motivations are highlighted in Paths to Entrepreneurship, a study by three women's organizations: the National Foundation for Women Business Owners (NFWBO), Catalyst, and The Committee of 200. Conducted last year, the study polled a random sample of 800 male and female business owners nationwide.

The findings indicate that when it comes to launching their own businesses, most women are lured by an entrepreneurial idea (35 percent). Surprisingly, only 22 percent of respondents cited the glass-ceiling issue.

Fifty-eight percent of women with private-sector experience insisted that the corporate world could never lure them back from their entrepreneurial ventures. "Women feel they can do for themselves better than what they were doing for their employers," says Mary Mattis of Catalyst. "[They know] they can work smarter."

Quick Picks

Make your company the talk of the town.

  • Publicity seekers: The Business Media Registry links journalists with entrepreneurs who have stories to tell. For $75, you can get listed in the referral database, receive tips for giving better interviews and more. Call the American Business Women's Association at (816) 361-6621.
  • Winner's circle: Coffee company Melitta North America Inc. in Clearwater, Florida, is looking for this year's Melitta Bentz Woman of Innovation and Invention Award winner. The $5,000 grand prize will be presented in October. Call (813) 524-4803 for an application, due August 31.

Contact Sources

Catalyst, (212) 514-7600, http://www.catalystwomen.org

National Foundation for Women Business Owners, (301) 495-4975, http://www.nfwbo.org