Where Are The Riot Grrls?

Driving Forces

A 1998 study by the National Foundation for Women Business Owners, sponsored by Salomon Smith Barney, found that motivations have shifted for today's new entrepreneurial women. Slightly more than half (51 percent) of women who started businesses in the 1970s and earlier were primarily inspired by an entrepreneurial idea, compared to 35 percent of women who've started up in the past 10 years. Meanwhile, 46 percent of newcomers cite being unchallenged, downsized or subjected to "glass ceiling" issues in corporate life as key motivators, compared to only 23 percent of the seasoned women entrepreneurs. Here are the specific responses:

Reason For Start-Up

  • Entrepreneurial idea

Time In Business: Fewer than 10 years: 35%; 10-19 years: 48%; 20+ years: 51%

  • Glass ceiling

Time In Business: Fewer than 10 years: 22%; 10-19 years: 15%; 20+ years: 9%

  • Unchallenged

Time In Business: Fewer than 10 years: 14%; 10-19 years: 10%; 20+ years: 8%

  • "Fell into it"

Time In Business: Fewer than 10 years: 10%; 10-19 years: 11%; 20+ years: 14%

  • Downsized

Time In Business: Fewer than 10 years: 10%; 10-19 years: 10%; 20+ years: 6%

  • Family event

Time In Business: Fewer than 10 years: 5%; 10-19 years: 5%; 20+ years: 7%

  • Born to be

Time In Business: Fewer than 10 years: 3%; 10-19 years: 1%; 20+ years: 2%

  • Re-entry

Time In Business: Fewer than 10 years: 1%; 10-19 years: 1%; 20+ years: 4%

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This article was originally published in the December 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Where Are The Riot Grrls?.

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