Bridging the disconnect: how network creation facilitates female Bangladeshi entrepreneurship.

J. Maas, A.A. Seferiadis, J.G.F. Bunders-Aelen, M.B.M. Zweekhorst

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Networking has been suggested as a tool to address the challenges of social entrepreneurs in severely resource constrained environments. Especially in countries where women do not usually take part in economic activities, like in Bangladesh, stimulating networking and entrepreneurship among women could have a high impact. We use longitudinal data gathered over two years, to study how entrepreneurial networks are developed and used by female entrepreneurs in Bangladesh, and how a third party can stimulate network development. We followed 26 women from the start of their entrepreneurial development. Adopting a social capital perspective on network formation and development, we identified four essential strategies in building entrepreneurial networks: modifying and building on existing bonding networks, transferring linking ties, teaching how to build bridging networks, and the creation of a network of entrepreneurial peers. We found that a third party can successfully stimulate network development for the poorest in Bangladesh. We also found that the patterns of network development in this severely resource-constraint environment are remarkably different from those found in corporate studies. Our findings can contribute to developing new pathways to stimulate entrepreneurship in developing countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-470
JournalInternational Entrepreneurship and Management Journal
Issue number3
Early online date12 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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