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Overcoming the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Gender Divide: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

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GENRE Israel logo

GENRE is a three-year research project, which is funded by the European Union H2020 program. 

GENRE aims to investigate and cross-culturally compare the lived experiences of female technology entrepreneurs in incubation and investing ecosystems in four different countries. It is a transnational research project taking place simultaneously in Ireland (Dublin City University), Norway (Nord University), Sweden (Karlstad University) and Israel (Kinneret College). The project is coordinated by DCU Business School and led by Prof. Maura McAdam.

Underlying most regional entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem frameworks is the assumption that all entrepreneurs have equal access to resources, participation and support, as well as an equal chance of a successful outcome (venture start-up). However, women are underrepresented in successful entrepreneurial ecosystems and a persistent gender bias continues to exist in entrepreneurship discourse and practice. So for example, the UN STG on Gender states that women suffer from “disadvantages in education [which] translate into lack of access to skills and limited opportunities in the labour market”. We aim to address this, by providing a nuanced understanding of how gender is a decisive factor, i. e. how women and men are influenced by and, in turn, influence entrepreneurial ecosystems differently. In order to achieve this, we focus on a specific facet of gender in entrepreneurship: namely women’s technology entrepreneurship and how this relates to accepted femininity and masculinity norms in different cultural contexts.

Our cross-cultural comparison between Ireland, Sweden, Norway, and Israel will thus help to explain variations and similarities with regard to gender in entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem frameworks. The findings generated will inform policy development aimed at inclusivity and sustainability, thus benefiting both women and men.                           

The GENRE Team 2019 in Dublin.jpg

 The GENRE Team 2019 in Dublin

Determinants of Workplace Behavior

Together with Dr. Yariv Itzkovitch I worked on a project on work place bullying and incivility between the years 2014 – 2916. The project was funded by the Israeli Ministry of Economics.

We presented the project in December 2018 at the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) in the framework on a discussion around the proposition of PM Merav Michaeli to enact a law against work place bullying.

Prof Heilbrunn presenting Workplace Bullying Project at the  Kneset

Report to the Ministry of Economics: Workplace Harassment and Bullying (2016) 

As part of government policy to mitigate bullying, we conducted the second national survey to understand the national trends with regards to workplace bullying. As part of the project, we surveyed a proportional sample of 886 employees who were part of the Israeli labour market. Results indicated that minorities suffer more bullying than other populations and that bullying trickles down the organizational hierarchy.

International Student Exchange – ZHAW

ZHAW logo

In 2016 I was invited to ZHAW to give a guest lecturer on multiculturalism in Israeli Higher Education. This was the beginning of a fruitful academic cooperation and longlasting friendship with Prof. Michael Zirkler.

Since 2017 Prof. Zirkler from the ZHAW in Zürich has come for a one week visit with a group of 20 – 25 psychology students to Israel. Together with Zirkler I have organized a program for the group covering selected issues of the Israeli society, projecting multiculturalism and related challenges. The students stay in Kibbutz Ein Gev where they meet a number of lecturers including Muki Tzur who is providing them with insights into the historical and social development of the Israeli Kibbutz. The Swiss students meet with a selected group of students from Kinneret college and interact in formal sessions on the understanding of culture, identity and societal issues as well as informally on tours to places of religions and nationalities.

In 2019 I led a group of students and academic staff members from Kinneret College to a visit in Switzerland.

Students and Academic staff members from Kinneret College visit in Switzerland, 2019
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