Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies




Purpose: Worldwide, Ecuador is one of the countries with the most entrepreneurial activity from micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). However, the effect of adopting the US dollar (dollarization), over which the central bank has no control, combined with being mainly an exporter of primary products, as well as strategic currency devaluation by neighboring economies, has created a difficult situation, especially for Ecuadorian women’s MSMEs. This paper aims to study the relationship between female ownership and Ecuadorian MSMEs’ financial, economic and social outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach: The authors compile a near-population panel of 617,804 firm-year observations representing an unbalanced panel of 112,917 MSMEs during the 2007–2016 sampling window. Panel (fixed effects) regression is used to test the hypotheses concerning the antecedents to firm financial performance, economic and social outcomes. Cox proportional hazards modeling is used to assess the impact of antecedents on firm survival.

Findings: First, firms providing more social benefits (e.g. employment and higher wages) have higher survival rates. Second, female ownership is negatively related with microenterprise financial performance, but positively associated with small-enterprise financial performance. Third, female-owned enterprises tend to provide higher wages per employee for all firm sizes. Fourth, although female-owned microenterprises are less efficient, they tend to provide more for their employees and possibly communities, through the economic stimulus they provide, in terms of the size of the financial outcomes.

Originality/value: This paper shows that, although this is a “man’s world,” women are learning earlier, developing faster professionally and overcoming stereotypes to focus on activities that generate both economic performance and social outcomes. Governmental policies that have contributed to MSMEs’ growth and women’s participation are identified. The findings suggest ways to improve and support both the creation of more women-owned MSMEs in emerging countries, such as Ecuador, and the survival of existing male- and female-owned MSMEs.


Gender, Emerging economies, Latin America, Business performance, Small and medium-sized enterprises, Ecuador, Performance, Micro, Emerging countries


This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


Global Innovation and Leadership