European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Engaged entrepreneurship research in Europe

Entrepreneurship and Gender Special Interest Group

Acronym: GENSIG


Short content and objectives

Women entrepreneurs around the world make significant contributions to economic growth and poverty reduction. Despite research showing that gender makes a difference regarding business strategies, performance, and growth, entrepreneurship is still a very gendered field. Women face challenges that their male counterparts do not and even the most experienced growth-oriented female entrepreneurs cannot escape the influence of the prevailing masculine norms and gender order. Researchers interested in gender and entrepreneurship need places to meet and share their experiences and research, and we want the ECSB GENSIG to be one of these places for gender and entrepreneurship researchers in Europe.

GENSIG objectives are:

  1. To create a European-focused scholarly platform for research on the influence of gender upon entrepreneurship
  2. To enable the exchange of knowledge among scholars, entrepreneurs, small business owners, policymakers, and business advisors interested in gender and entrepreneurship
  3. To offer opportunities for career progression through publications and mentoring
  4. To enhance the academic experience at the Gender and Entrepreneurship Track at ECSB / RENT conference

GENSIG ambition is to create an open research community where important theoretical, empirical, and practical questions can be explored. We want to help scholars legitimise research on gender and entrepreneurship as an important area of study.


Planned activities

GENSIG plans to organise various academic events and activities over the next three years:

  1. Regular online and in person seminars
  2. Conference / writing retreats for publication support for young scholars
  3. Organize the track on Gender and Entrepreneurship at the RENT conference
  4. AGM for the SIG at the RENT conference
  5. Initiating special issues in various journals around gender and entrepreneurship

GENSIG is supported by International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, whereby Editor in Chief, Prof. Helle Neergaard is offering pre-submission advice on potential publications.


Leadership and membership 

Chair: Natalia Vershinina (Audencia Business School, France)

Professor Natalia Vershinina has been a long standing participant in and contributor to the RENT Conference. Natalia is a leading expert in family business and migrant entrepreneurship and, in particular, their gender relations. She has worked for 20 years in England and is now a Full Professor in Entrepreneurship at Audencia, Nantes, France. She regularly organises activities that engage communities and that develop Early Career Researchers across places and disciplines. She is also a co-editor of International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research (IJEBR) , associate editor for entrepreneurship section of Journal of Business Research (JBR) and associate editor of Entrepreneurship & Regional Development (ERD).  (Email:

Co-chair: Gry Agnete Alsos (Nord University Business School, Norway)

Professor Gry Agnete Alsos has been a long standing participant in and contributor to the RENT Conference. She has academic expertise in entrepreneurship, innovation and related policy areas. She is also interested in role of gender in entrepreneurship and innovation in various contexts, and the role of gender in family businesses. She is currently the Dean at the Nord University Business School. (Email:

Co-chair: Helle Neergaard (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Professor Helle Neergaard has been formally associated with ECSB for more than 15 years, 12 of which she has spent in various capacities on the ECSB Board. She has co-organised the Doctoral Workshop for RENT conference of many years. She is a leading scholar in women’s entrepreneurship and is Editor-in-Chief of IJGE and co-editor of IJEBR and is well-known for her handbooks in qualitative methods. She has regularly organised workshops for ECRs on gender and entrepreneurship. She is currently head of section at the Department of Management at Aarhus University. (email:

The GENSIG Committee

Natalia Vershinina, Audencia Business School, France
Gry Agnete Alsos, Nord University Business School, Norway
Helle Neergaard, Aarhus University, Denmark
Sally Jones, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Saskia Stoker, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Sibel Ozasir Kacar, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Caroline Essers, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands


Current GENSIG members

The list of current SIG members will be updated later by the chair of the SIG and will be sent to all members of the SIG.


How to become a member of the Entrepreneurship and Gender Special Interest Group (GENSIG)?

Gender and Entrepreneurship Special Interest Group (GENSIG) of the ECSB welcomes both ECSB members and non-members. Joining the future activities of the SIG requires a valid ECSB membership. If you do not have a valid membership, you have 9 months to register as an ECSB member. This can be done at You can also join the ECSB by attending the RENT or 3E conferences.

If you are interested in being a member of the GENSIG please fill in the online form via the link below: