J. López Puga1, A. Ramírez Orellana2, M.P. Casado Belmonte2

1Universidad de Almería - Departamento de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales (SPAIN)
2Universidad de Almería - Departamento de Dirección y Gestión de Empresas (SPAIN)
Education level is one of the factors that have been associated with business creation in the literature on entrepreneurship. In that research we study the relationship between the education level of women entrepreneurs and some features of the created company.

A sample of 140 women entrepreneurs was asked to fill in an electronic questionnaire. Their ages ranged between 19 and 66 (M = 42.38, DT = 9.12) and they all were from Andalusia Autonomic Region in Spain. A web questionnaire was developed using LimeSurvey platform and participants were invited to participate in the research through e-mail. The survey contained five sections: 1) company information, referred to the basic details of the created business; 2) professional activity and work experience of the entrepreneur before setting up the company; 3) motivations, that section contained items about different motivational aspects that have been shown to be relevant to new business creation; and 5) entrepreneur identification, containing items about general information of the entrepreneur.

The most striking results are related with the evolution of the performance in the last two years and with the educational level of the entrepreneurs’ employees. On the one hand, we observe a positive relationship between the education level of the entrepreneur and the performance behaviour of the company in the last two years. The higher level of education, the better behaviour of the performance in the last two years (r = .41, p < 0.001, unilateral). However, we do not observe any statistical relationship between the education level of the entrepreneur and the net performance, chi-squared (8) = 8.18, p = 0.42. On the other hand, we do find a significant statistical relationship between the education level of the entrepreneur and the number of employees having a university degree (r = .23, p = 0.003, unilateral), which means that the higher education level of the woman entrepreneur, the more university graduated in the company. That relationship is even higher when we considered the rate of university graduated employees in the company. In that case the relationship between both variables increases to .35 (p < 0.001, unilateral). Nevertheless, there is no relationship between the total number of employees and the education level of the entrepreneur (r = .07, p = 0.25, ns).

Those results suggest that education level in women entrepreneurs might function as a protector against economic meltdown. Although the net profit was not related with education level, education was associated whit better prospects of profit evolution. If that relation is so, future research should try to elucidate which are the characteristics (managerial style, making decision style, etc.) that favour women entrepreneurs prosper in difficult economic conditions. Secondly, our results also suggest that the companies established by women tend to absorb specialized workers in the labour market. We suggest that future researches are needed to shed light on that issue to determine if that fact is dependent of the type of business created or whether the educated woman entrepreneur trends to contract properly trained employees. Additionally, we think future studies in different cultures are needed to explore the relationships we have observed in the south of Spain.