Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
School of Business
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how women small business owners’ (SBOs) business start-up motivations influence their network content. Design/methodology/approach – Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 28 women SBOs who were recruited through purposeful sampling methods. Interview data on their start-up motivations were used to categorise them into three types: classic, forced and work-family. The interviews explored the network contents of the three categories of participants. Findings – There were many similarities between network contents of classic and forced SBOs, as both groups had started their business for financial reasons rather than family reasons. All the participants’ networks contained information and advice, economic transactions, intangible support and strong ties. However, the sources and types of network content were different for the classic and forced SBOs when compared to work-family SBOs. Research limitations/implications – This study has limitations that tend to be commonly found in exploratory studies, such as a small sample size. However, the findings lay the groundwork for future quantitative studies that examine associations between SBOs’ motivations for starting a business and their network contents. Originality/value – This research responds to calls for studies aimed at developing a more nuanced understanding of SBOs’ networking behaviour. The study provides empirical evidence of a relationship between the motivations for starting a business and the network content of SBOs. The findings can be used by businesswomen’s network organisations in their mentoring and training interventions. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.