Nevertheless, She Persisted: Gender, Rejection and Perseverance in Venture Financing
Research Seminar
03 Feb 2023 (Fri)
9:00am – 10:30am
LSK Rm5047
Prof. Yanbo Wang, The University of Hong Kong

We study gender differences in entrepreneurial ventures’ reactions to failed effort in resource seeking. We examine a premier innovation grant program in China where funding is allocated based on firm merits as measured by the ranking of evaluation scores. As experts evaluate venture qualities based on written documents and are under time pressure, gender is rarely triggered as a salient feature in evaluation score assignment or grant prize allocation. Even in such a gender-blind setting, we observe that male-led ventures are 68% more likely than female-led ventures in grant reapplication after their initial grant requests have been rejected. This gender differential in renewed grant-seeking effort holds even after controlling a long list of firm- and entrepreneur-level observations as well as the way how each venture has been evaluated in the initial round of grant application. We also find gender differences in overcoming the barrier to grant reapplication due to prior rejections; female-led ventures are more likely to wait before reapplying until they have reached certain performance milestones such as the receipt of reputable certification than are male-led ventures. Our findings point to gender differences in self-confidence as likely explanations.