Riding The Tech Wave


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Information technology, particularly the Internet, continues to shape the way entrepreneurs think and do business. But according to Embracing the Information Age: A Comparison of Women and Men Business Owners, a study conducted by the National Foundation for Women Business Owners, both men and minorities have some catching up to do if they want to compete with women, who are taking the most proactive approach to technology. Business owners are incorporating more sophisticated computer systems into their business operations. Twenty-nine percent report using local area networks (LANs), up from 13% just one year ago. However, women are more likely than men (46% vs. 41%) to report using technology on a regular basis and finding it helpful. In addition, women entrepreneurs are embracing the Internet with more zeal. Twenty-three percent of women (vs. 16% of men) have a home page for their company, while 47% of females (vs. 41% of males) subscribe to an online service.

Thirty percent of minority business owners have already invested $5,000-$14,999 in computer software and hardware; 52% of them planned to invest another $5,000 in equipment before the end of last year. About one-third of minority entrepreneurs regularly use technology, while another third say they never log on to the Internet.

Level of Activity on the Internet

Percentage Who: Male Female White Non-white
Never use the Internet 0.39 0.39 0.40 0.36
Use occasionally to gather information 0.33 0.32 0.33 0.18
Use regularly for research and communication 0.17 0.18 0.17 0.22
Constantly on, valuable tool 0.09 0.08 0.07 0.16
Personal Use of Technology
Percentage Who: Male Female White Non-white
Leave to others 0.14 0.07 0.12 0.04
Use sometimes 0.03 0.04 0.03 0.08
Learning, not comfortable 0.26 0.29 0.27 0.25
Use regularly 0.41 0.46 0.27 0.25
Love and use immediately 0.13 0.11 0.11 0.23
Source: Embracing the Information Age: A Comparison of Women and Men Business Owners, The National Foundation for Women Business Owners, Silver Spring, Maryland, 1997