The way businesswomen network and use contacts is the subject of new research by the Centre for Women’s Enterprise at the University of Bedfordshire.
The pioneering study Transforming Contacts into Resources by Dr Beatriz Acevedo-Holguin and Muhammad Roomi looks at the way women entrepreneurs in the East of England develop and maintain their social capital.
Social capital is a concept that refers to the number, nature and quality of contacts and networks that a person possesses and uses as a means of growing and sustaining their business.
These resources can take several forms including advice, information, support and funding and can be both formal and informal.
Muhammed Roomi said: “We looked into the way women conduct their business as we found this was an under researched area which contributes to a better understanding of the ways in which women can build and maintain their social capital and how this can be a catalyst to facilitate and accelerate the growth of female owned businesses.
“Our research concluded that women found regular interpersonal contact, good relationships, building trust and sharing ideas and information with individuals and groups beneficial when growing a business and developing ideas.”
The study was funded by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and the European Social Fund (ESF) and was based on the interviews of 50 businesswomen in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.