Women’s access to SME finance in Australia

Van Hulten, Andrew (September 2012). “Women’s access to SME finance in Australia.” International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 4 (3).


The purpose of this paper is to test whether Australian female and male entrepreneurs differ in their growth aspirations and demand for finance; denial, discouragement and financial constraint rates; and sources of finance.Design/methodology/approach – This paper applies logistic regression techniques to data drawn from a comprehensive survey of Australian small‐ and medium‐sized businesses, which was conducted in 2010.Findings – After controlling for a wide range of firm, owner and risk characteristics, female entrepreneurs are found to have lower growth aspirations than males but do not differ in their demand for business finance. Gender does not influence the probability of reporting denial, discouragement or financial constraint. Females and males do not differ significantly in the types of finance that they use.Research limitations/implications – The online survey had a low response rate.Originality/value – First, the paper tests the proposition that gender mediates demand for finance whilst controlling for a wide range of firm, owner and risk variables. Second, the paper tests whether female entrepreneurs are more likely than males to be financially constrained, that is, to have foregone viable investment opportunities due to inadequate access to finance. In doing so, it endeavours to reconcile the financial discrimination and financial constraint literatures. Third, the paper tests whether gender produces its effects in interaction with owners’ migration status.