• SSTI's Annual Conference moved to spring 2022

    Due to the pandemic, SSTI is rescheduling the Annual Conference to the spring of 2022. Check back for details and join us in Little Rock!

  • Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

Recent Research: Website diversity shown to attract more prospective entrepreneurs

September 30, 2021
By: Jordan Kendall

A recent research study suggests that diverse identity representation of website spokespeople increases the likelihood of attracting a higher proportion of prospective entrepreneurs.

Rosanna Garcia and Daniel Baack, researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Denver respectively, explore whether the demographic of spokespeople featured on websites had an impact on the entrepreneurial intention of individuals of various identities. Their article, Entrepreneurial Intent Is Not Black or White: An Intersectional Perspective, sampled 562 students across five American universities to gain insight into this issue. The goal of the study was to isolate and cross-examine individual and compounded impacts of race and gender in both the website spokesperson and student respondent in order to identify ways to encourage more diverse entrepreneurial involvement in university settings.

Garcia and Baacks experiment entailed student respondents of a variety of races and genders viewing different versions of a website, each version specifically tailored to a particular race and gender. The researchers measured respondentspropensity to participate in entrepreneurship on their college campus, which they codified as entrepreneurial intention, or EI. It is important to note that variable EIin this study was confined to entrepreneurial activities within the respondentsrespective universities. Therefore, the conclusions are not reflective of company creation and other entrepreneurial efforts. Nonetheless, this piece of research contributes to understanding how the intersection of race and gender can influence entrepreneurial propensity.

The study concludes that:

  • Independently, the racial identity of website spokespeople did not make a statistically significant difference to respondentsEIs;
  • Independently, the gender of website spokespeople did not make a statistically significant difference to respondentsEIs;
  • Combined, incongruency of race and gender between the respondents and the website spokespeople yielded the most positive influence on respondentsEIs.

This is good news for female and racially diverse prospective entrepreneurs because they are entering a time where role incongruence stereotypes are becoming less of a barrier to entry. The overarching outcome of the study is that a wide diversity of website spokespeople is most encouraging to the largest number of students to explore campus entrepreneurship activities.

While this study is limited to university activities, large-scale trends could be extrapolated as an indicator of American entrepreneurship as a whole. Organizations trying to attract the greatest proportion of prospective entrepreneurs may want to consider mirroring a diverse population through the images on their site.

recent research, diversity, entrepreneurship