The Next Billion in Business: Women Entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets


  • Tanvi Kothari Co-Chair, Academy of International Business US West; San José State University USA
  • Malou Roldan San Jose State University



Women-owned businesses are not only among the fastest-growing entrepreneurial ventures in the world but also have a significant impact on other women businesses and the economies at large. This paper uses an in-depth multiple-case study design to study twenty-two Women Entrepreneurs (WE) from diverse geographical, social, economic, and industrial sectors in two of the world’s fastest-growing emerging markets, India and the Philippines. The main message of our study is that in emerging markets, WEs ability to (simultaneously) sell products or offer solutions to niche segments and their capabilities to optimize resources by being innovative in identifying sources of funding, despite the institutional voids in emerging markets, enhances the competitive advantage of their businesses. To this extent, we introduce ‘A Framework to Explain the Paths of Building Women-Owned Businesses’ Competitive Advantage’ and identify some ‘propositions’ as anchors for further theory building. Finally, the findings of this study provide guidelines for entrepreneurs, educators, and policymakers that boosting women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment requires systemic solutions at scale.

Author Biographies

Tanvi Kothari, Co-Chair, Academy of International Business US West; San José State University USA

Tanvi Kothari (PhD, Temple University) is a Professor of International Business and Strategic Management in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business at San Jose State University (SJSU). Dr. Kothari’s areas of research include innovations originating in emerging markets, migrant entrepreneurship, and the strategic impact of new technologies on firms. She contributes as a scholar by publishing in books, journals - Journal of World Business, Journal of International Management, etc. and Op-Eds in leading media outlets. Dr. Kothari serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of International Management, International Journal of Emerging Markets, among others. Currently, she serves as a board member on the Women of Academy of International Business (WAIB) and is an executive of the Academy of International Business US West Chapter. Dr. Kothari has served as the track Co-Chair for Emerging Markets and Emerging Markets MNEs and for Gender & Diversity for AIB 2022 and 2021 Annual Conferences respectively.

Malou Roldan, San Jose State University

Malu Roldan is a Professor at the School of Information Systems and Technology. Her research focuses on the impact, adoption, and use of emerging technologies in education and other social ventures. Until August 2018, she served as the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs at San José State’s Lucas College of Business. As Associate Dean, she enhanced the business schools’ support for student success through a wide range of programs, including SJSU global experience offerings, such as Global Career Day, Women in Leadership League, and transitional programs for freshmen and transfers. Dr. Roldan spent her formative years in the Philippines and continues to have strong familial and professional ties to the country. She received her doctorate in management from UCLA in 1996 and conducted post-doctorate work on the early days of e-commerce at UC Berkeley from 1996-1999.



Aldrich, H. E. (1989). Networking among women entrepreneurs. In O. Hagan, C. Rivchun, & D. Sexton (Eds.), Women Owned Businesses (pp. 103-132). Praeger.

Allen, D. (2000). Social networks and self-employment. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics 29(5), 487-501.

Arenius, P., & Minniti, M. P. (2005). erceptual variables and nascent entrepreneurship. Small Business Economics, 24(3), 233-247.

Baker, T., Aldrich, H. E., & Liou, N. (1997). Invisible entrepreneurs: The neglect of women business owners by mass media and scholarly journals in the U.S.A. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 9, 221-238.

Bamberger. (2008). From the editors: beyond contextualization- using context theories to narrow the micro-macro gap in management research. Academy of Management Journal., 51(5), 839-846.

Baughn, C., Chua, B., & Neupert, K. (2006). The normative context for women's participation in entrepreneurship: A multicountry study. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 30(5), 687-708.

Beatrice, A. (2012). Why Women Enter into Entrepreneurship? An Emerging Conceptual Framework Based on the Peruvian Case. Journal of Women's Entrepreneurship and Education, 44(3-4), 43-63.

Becker, G. S. (1964). Human capital: A theoretical and empirical analysis with special reference to education (2 ed.). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Becker, G. S. (1975). Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education (2 ed.). NBER.

Bhagavatula, S., Elfring, T., Tilburg, A. v., & Bun, G. G. v. d. (2010). How social and human capital influence opportunity recognition and resource mobilization in India's handloom industr. Journal of Business Venturing, 25, 245-260.

Blanchflower, D., & Meyer, B. (1992). A longitudinal analysis of the young self-employed in Australia and the United States. Small Business Economics, 6(1), 1-20.

Bosma, N., Acs, Z., Autio, E., Coduras, A., & Levie, J. (2009). Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2008 Executive Report.

Bousselaire, S. (2017). Women’s Entrepreneurship In Developing Nations. (The Borgen Project., Issue. <>.

Brush, C., Ali, A., Kelley, D., & Greene, P. (2017). The influence of human capital factors and context on women's entrepreneurship: Which matters more? Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 8, 105-113.

Brush, C., & Bird, B. (2002). A gendered perspective on organizational creation. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 26(3), 41-66.

Brush, C., Carter, N., Gatewood, E., Greene, P., & Hart, M. (2006). Growth-oriented women entrepreneurs and their businesses: A global research perspective (Vol. 1). Edward Elgar.

Brush, C., De Bruin, A., & Weiler, F. (2009). A gender-aware framwework for women's entrepreneurship. Internatioanl Journal of Gender and Entrpreneurship, 1(1), 8-24.

Bruton, G. D., Dess, G. G., & Janney, J. J. (2007). Knowledge management in technology-focused firms in emerging economies: Caveats on capabilities, networks, and real options. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 24(2), 115-130.

Brzezińska, J., Chrysostome, E., & Gola, J. (2018). Corruption and Management of Capacity Building in Developing and Emerging Countries: A Critical Overview [Article]. Journal of Comparative International Management, 21(1), 9-26.

Burt, R. S. (1997). The contingent value of social capital. Administrative Science Quarterly, 6(1), 339-365.

Busenitz, L. W., Gómez, C., & Spencer, J. W. (2000). Country institutional profiles: Unlocking entrepreneurial phenomena. Academy of Management Journal, 43(5), 994-1003.

Buttner, E. H., & Moore, D. P. (1997). Women’s organizational exodus to entrepreneurship: Self-reported motivations and correlates with success. Journal of Small Business Management,, 35(1), 34-46.

Calas, M. B., Smircich, L., & Bourne, K. A. (2009). EXTENDING THE BOUNDARIES: REFRAMING“ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS SOCIAL CHANGE”THROUGH FEMINIST PERSPECTIVES. Academy of Management Review, 34(3), 552-569.

Carney, M., Estrin, S., Liang, Z., & Shapiro, D. (2019). National institutional systems, foreign ownership and firm performance: The case of understudied countries. Journal of World Business, 54(4), 244-257.

Carter, S., & Cannon, T. (1992). Women as entrepreneurs. Academic Press.

Cetindamar, D., Gupta, V. K., & Karadeniz , E. E. (2012). What the numbers tell: The impact of human, family and financial capital on women and men’s entry into entrepreneurship in Turkey. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development 24(1-2), 29-51.

Chrysostome, E., & Arcand, S. (2009). Survival of Necessity Immigrant Entrepreneurs: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Comparative International Management, 12(2).

Cooper Maysami, R., & Goby, V. P. (1999). Female business owners in Singapore and elsewhere: A review of studies. Journal of Small Business Management, 37(2), 96-105.

Cuervo-Cazurra, A., & Genc, M. (2011). Obligating, pressuring, and supporting dimensions of the environment and the non-market advantages of developing-country multinational companies. Journal of Management Studies, 48(2), 441-455.

Day, G. S. (2004). The capabilities of the Market-Driven organization. Journal of Marketing, 58, 37-52.

De Bruin, A., Brush, C. G., & Welter, F. (2006). Introduction to the special issue: towards building cumulative knowledge on women’s entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 30, 585-592.

De Clercq, D., Lim, D. S., & Oh, C. H. (2013). Individual‐level resources and new business activity: The contingent role of institutional context. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 37(2), 303-330.

Deng, S., Wang, X., & Alon, I. (2010). Framework for female entrepreneurship in China. International Journal of Business and Emerging Markets, 3(1), 3-20.

Doz, Y. (2011). Qualitative research for international business. Journal of International Business Studies, 42, 582-590.

Dyer, J. H., Gregersen, H. B., & Christensen, C. (2008). Entrepreneur behaviors, opportunity recognition, and the origins of innovative ventures. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 2, 317-338.

Eckhardt, J. T., & Shane, S. A. (2003). Opportunities and entrepreneurship. Journal of Management, 29(3), 333-349.

Egbert, H. (2009). Business success through social networks? A comment on social networks and business success. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 68(3), 665-677.

Eisenhardt, K. (1989). Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 532-550.

Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14, 532–550.

Eisenhardt, K. M., & Graebner, M. E. (2007). Theory building from cases: Opportunities and challenges. Academy of Management Journal, 50(1), 25-32.

Elam, A. B., Brush, C. G., Greene, P. G., Baumer, B., Dean, M., & Heavlow, R., "" (2019). . (2019). Women's Entrepreneurship Report 2018/2019.

Gartner, W. (1990). What are we talking about when we talk about entrepreneurship? Journal of Business Venturing, 5(1), 15-28.

GEM. (2017). Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women's Entrepreneurship 2016/2017 Report.

GEM. (2021). Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2020/21Global Report: Women’s Entrepreneurship: Thriving Through Crisis

GEM. (2022). Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2021/2022 Global Report: Opportunity Amid Disruption.

Gilbert, C. G. (2005). Unbundling the structure of inertia: Resource versus routine rigidity. Academy of Management Journal, 48(741-763).

Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory. Weidenfeild and Nicolson.

Graebner, M. E., & Eisenhardt, K. M. (2004). The seller’s side of the story: Acquisition as courtship and governance as syndicate in entrepreneurial firms. Administrative Science Quarterly, 49(366-403).

Granovetter, M. (1985). Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology, 91(3), 481-510.

Hitt, M. A., Biermant, L., Shimizu, K., & Kochhar, R. (2001). Direct and moderating effects of human capital on strategy and performance in professional service firms: A resource-based perspective. Academy of Management Journal,, 44(1), 13-28.

Inkizhinov, B., Gorenskaia, E., Nazarov, D., & Klarin, A., "Entrepreneurship in emerging markets: mapping the scholarship and suggesting future research directions", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 16 No. 7, pp. . (2021). Entrepreneurship in emerging markets: mapping the scholarship and suggesting

future research directions. International Journal of Emerging Markets, 16(7), 1404-1429.

Jennings, J. E., & Mcdougald, M. S. (2007). work-family interface experiences and coping strategies: Implications for entrepreneurship research and practice. Academy of Management Review, 32(3), 747-760.

Jones, G., & Lefort, A. (2011). Female Entrpreneurship in Developing Countries.

Kanti Prasad, V., Naidub, G. M., Kinnera Murthy, B., Winkel, D. E., & Ehrhardt, K. (2013). Women entrepreneurs and business venture growth: an examination of the influence of human and social capital resources in an Indian context. Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, 26(4), 341- 364.

Khanna, T., Palepu, K. G., & Bullock, R. (2010). Winning in emerging markets: A road map for strategy and execution.

Kogut, C. S. M., K. (2022). Female entrepreneurship in emerging markets: challenges of running a business in turbulent contexts and times. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 14(1), 95-116.

Kotabe, M., & Kothari, T. (2016). Emerging Market Multinational Companies’ Evolutionary Paths to Building a Competitive Advantage from Emerging Markets to Developed Countries. Journal of World Business, 51(5), 744-759. .

Kothari, T. (2017). Women entrepreneurs’ path to building venture success: lessons from India. South Asian Journal Business Studies, 6(5).

Kothari, T., Elo, M., & Wiese, N. (2022). Born as a Citizen and Reborn as an Alien: Migrant Superdiversity in Global Business. AIB Insights, forthcoming.

Kothari, T., Kotabe, M., & Murphy, P. (2013). Rules of the Game for Emerging Market Multinational Companies from China and India. Journal of International Management., 19, 276-299.

Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology (2nd ed.). Sage Publications.

Langowitz, N., & Minniti, M. (2007a). The entrepreneurial propensity of women. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 31, 341-364.

Langowitz, N., & Minniti, M. ( 2007b). The entrepreneurial propensity of women. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 31, 341-364.

Lavie, D. (2006). The competitive advantage of interconnected firms: An extension of the resource-based view. Academy of Management Review, 31(3), 638-658.

Liñán, F., Jaén, I., & Martin, D. (2020). Does entrepreneurship fit her? Women entrepreneurs, gender-role orientation, and entrepreneurial culture. Small Business Economics, 1-21.

Mair, J., Martí, I., & Ventresca, M. J. (2012). Building Inclusive Markets in Rural Bangladesh: How Intermediaries Work Institutional Voids. Academy of Management Journal, 55(4), 819-850.

Marschan-Piekkari, R., & Welch, C. (2004). Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for International Business. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis. Sage Publications, Inc.

Minniti, M., Arenius, P., & angowitz, N. (2005). Global entrepreneurship monitor: 2004 report on women and entrepreneurship.

Mitchell, B. (2004). Motives of entrepreneurs: A case study of South Africa. The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 13(2), 167-193.

Mitra, R. (2002). The growth pattern of women-run enterprises: an empirical study in India. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 7(2), 212-237.

Nahapiet, J., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social Capital, Intellectual Capital, and the Organizational Advantage. The Academy of Management Review, 23(2), 242-266.

Naudé, W., Gries, T., Wood, E., & Meintjies, A. (2008). Regional determinants of entrepreneurial start-ups in a developing country. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development,, 20(2), 111-124.

Nayeem, M. A. (2021). Employees' Attitude Toward Women Managers in the UAE: Role of Socio-Demographic Factors [Article]. Journal of Comparative International Management, 24(2), 100-127.

Neuendorf, K. A. (2002). The content analysis guidebook. Sage Publications.

Nicolaou, N., & Shane, S. (2009). Can Genetic Factors İnfluence The Likelihood of Engaging İn Entrepreneurial Activity? . Journal of Business Venturing, 24, 1-22.

Nonaka, I. (1994). A dynamic theory of organizational knowledge creation. Organizational Science, 5, 14-37.

North, D. C. (1990). Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. Cambridge University Press.

Ozaralli, N., & Rivenburgh, N. K. (2016). Entrepreneurial intention: antecedents to entrepreneurial behavior in the U.S.A. and Turkey. Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, 6(3).

Panda, S. (2018). Constraints faced by women entrepreneurs in developing countries: review and ranking. Gender in Management: An International Journal. , 33(4), 315-331.

Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (3rd ed.). Sage Publications, Inc.

Piekkari, R., Welch, C., & Aavilainen, E. (2009). The Case Study as Disciplinary Convention: Evidence from International Business Journals. Organizational Research Methods, 12(3), 567-589.

Pillai, P., & Saraswathy, A. (2005). Women Small Business Owners in India. In S. Fielden & D. Marilyn (Eds.), International Handbook of Women and small Business Entrpreneurship. Edward Elgar.

Puffer, S. M., McCarthy, D. J., & Boisot, M. (2010). Entrepreneurship in Russia and China: The Impact of Formal Institutional Voids. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 24(3), 441–467.

Rajadhyaksha, U. (2012). Work‐life balance in South East Asia: the Indian experience. South Asian Journal of Global Business Research, 1(1), 108-127.

Rajagopal, A. (2022). Women Entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets: Managing Performance within Ecosystems. Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2022 edition.

Roldan, M., Kothari, T., & Dunn-Jensen, L. M. (2020). Direct Effects of High-Impact Practices on the Success of Business Majors in Large, Mostly Nonresidential Public Universities. . Journal of Management Education, 44(1), 39-65.

Rosa, P., Carter, S., & Hamilton, D. (1996). Gender as a determinant of small business performance: Insights from a British study. Small Business Economics, 8(4), 463-478.

Sarason, Y., Dean, T., & Dillard, J. (2006). Entrepreneurship as the nexus of individual and opportunity: a structuration view. Journal of Business Venturing, 21, 285-305.

Schweiger, M. Female Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets: Challenges and Opportunities for Women in China and India. In.

Shane, S., Locke, E. A., & Collins, C. J. (2003). Entrepreneurial motivation. Human Resource Management Review, 13(257-279).

Shane, S., & Venkataraman, S. (2000). The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research. Academy of Management Review, 25(217-226).

Short, J. C., Ketchen, D. J., Shook, C. L., & Ireland, R. D. (2010). The concept of “opportunity” in entrepreneurship research: Past accomplishments and future challenges. Journal of Management, 36(1), 40-65.

Snell, S. A., & Dean, J. W., Jr. (1994). Strategic compensation for integrated manufacturing: The moderating effects of job and organizational inertia. Academy of Management Journal, 37, 1109-1140.

Sorenson, O., & Audia, P. G. (2000). The social structure of entrepreneurial activity: Geographic concentration of footwear production in the U.S. American Journal of Sociology, 106, 424-462.

Spencer, J. W., & Gómez, C. (2004). The relationship among national institutional structures, economic factors, and domestic entrepreneurial activity: a multi-country study. Journal of Business Research, 57(10), 1098-1107.

Stenholm, P., Acs, Z. J., & Wuebker, R. (2013). Exploring country-level institutional arrangements on the rate and type of entrepreneurial activity. Journal of Business Venturing, 28(1), 176-193.

Stephan, U., & Uhlaner, L. M. (2010). Performance-based vs socially supportive culture: A cross- national study of descriptive norms and entrepreneurship. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(8), 1347-1364.

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basic of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. Sage Publications.

Thiel, M. (2013). NGOs in India: The Challenges of Women's Empowerment and Accountability. South Asian Journal of Global Business Research, 2(1), 149-152.

Toros, E., & Altinay, M. (2018). Women Entrepreneurs as Employers. . In Active Learning - Beyond the Future. . IntechOpen.

Tracey, P., Phillips, N., & Jarvis, O. (2011). Bridging Institutional Entrepreneurship and the Creation of New Organizational Forms: A Multilevel Model. Organization Science, 22(1), 60–80.

Welch, C., Piekkari, R., Plakoyinnaki, E., & Paavilainen-Mantymaki, E. (2011). Theorising from case studies: Towards a pluralist future for international business research. Journal of International Business Studies, 42, 740-762.

Wright, M., Filatotchev, I., Hoskisson, R., & Peng, M. (2005). Strategy reseearch in emerging economies: Challenging the conventional wisdom. Journal of Management Studies, 42(1), 1-33.

Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods (4 ed.). Sage Publications.

Zahra, S., & Wright, M. (2011). Entrepreneurship’s next act. Academy of Management Perspectives, 25, 67-83.

Zapalska, A. (1997). Profile of woman entrepreneurs and enterprises in Poland. Journal of Small Business Management,, 35(4), 76-82.




How to Cite

Kothari, T., & Roldan, M. (2022). The Next Billion in Business: Women Entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets . Journal of Comparative International Management, 25(1), 84–124.



Research Articles