Women entrepreneurs’ self-presentation online: Tensions and achievements during the scale-up process
Previous literature has found that women entrepreneurs participate less often than their male counterparts in networking activities. However, women seem to use networks while they are expanding their businesses abroad. The scaleup is a process that conveys a disruptive change in the way of doing business, not only because the size and structure change, but also because the audience/stakeholders change. The aim of this project is to explore the changes in women’s entrepreneurial identity and how this is reflected in self-presentation in (virtual) social networks and identify the strategies for internationalization success. We will conduct a qualitative study reviewing online profiles of and interviewing 15 Latin American women founders in the process of scaling up their business. The data will be analyzed using a case study method and constant comparison approach. Expected results include: 1) The “when” of changing the entrepreneurial identity occurs before the process of internationalization, gradually after a series of fundraising events. 2) The “who”: other people are involved in advising how the entrepreneur has to be presented online. 3) “What” elements of the personal brand do change during the internationalization process of a startup? We expect that aspects of the identity are modified, and that is reflected in the personal brand that is presented in social networks, taking into account the social norms (e.g., feminine modesty, aesthetics, charisma) and current norms in virtual social networks (catchy statements, visuals, frequency of messages, transparency). This new knowledge will advance the self-presenting and self-promoting competencies of women in business.
This project does not only provide scientific outputs (2 articles, 1 master’s thesis, 2 conference presentations) but also includes impact transferable to society (support students training, a webinar, and the development of a workshop to train evidence-based competencies for personal branding during the scale-up stage).