Understanding Successful Women Entrepreneurs: Cat Flag Helps the Cause of Science!

I imagine by now you’re wondering why I haven’t made a new video in a long time. The truth is, I have been extremely busy these past few months, between studying for my MBA, working, updating this blog every week, and, oh, yeah, helping in a scientific research study being prepared by some Cal Poly professors!

Dr. Lynn Metcalf, Dr. Jonathan York, and Dr. Stern Neill have been conducting research into the psychology of women who have successfully started high-growth businesses. They wanted to study women in particular, because entrepreneurship is still a career path that tends to attract far more men than women. Their hope was that understanding women who have succeeded as start-up business owners would allow future educators, researchers, and policymakers to encourage greater gender equality in this career field.

They started by conducting a survey, sending a questionnaire to women who met their basic criteria. Then, after the survey results were collected, they invited some of the respondents to come to Cal Poly and participate in a one-on-one interview to get some deeper insight.

The research is not yet published, and the last I heard is that it is still under review. Having said that, what the results appear, tentatively, to show is really intriguing. It appears that the number of new ventures these women end up starting is based partially on their confidence in their own talents and abilities, and partially on what the researchers have called a “Discover Mindset”: the idea that opportunities are something that she “discovers”. In this line of thinking, the opportunity is there, it exists and is ready for the taking, but not everyone sees it. This mindset, in turn, develops from a number of factors. One is a willingness to explore and experiment with new product ideas, new markets, or new technologies. Another is exploiting existing resources and build off of them to create new things. Simply observing the world around them, asking questions about the marketplace, and networking with highly-qualified people with diverse backgrounds also help to build this mindset.

Again, I must stress that these are just the initial, tentative results, and I’m sure that we will know far more when the results are published. The researchers also tell me they hope this study will be the basis of future research that will make the picture even clearer.

So, where do I fit in with all of this? Well, these professors reached out to me and two of my classmates to help them conduct the interviews and write up the final publication. In particular, they wanted me to film the interviews, and to create a video presentation showcasing these women and their stories.

Now, for you to enjoy, here it is:

In addition to that video, I was asked to make two more videos using the footage I obtained that can be used by Cal Poly to help inspire students to pursue a career as an entrepreneur. The first showcases two local business owners operating right here on the central coast:

The second asks the businesswomen a simple question: What advice would you give to aspiring Cal Poly entrepreneurs?

I personally feel that participating in this study has been a very rewarding experience. I’ve been able to meet some really inspiring people, and in my own way, helped to advance scientific knowledge in an understudied area. I thank all of you, Cat Flaggers, for bearing with me over these past few very busy months.

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One Response to Understanding Successful Women Entrepreneurs: Cat Flag Helps the Cause of Science!

  1. AuntLeesie says:

    Two thumbs up! Bravo!

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