Entrepreneurial Sexual Dimorphism

Entrepreneurial Sexual Dimorphism

It might sound intuitive, but, in nature, males have different biology than females. Scientists and clinicians call it sexual dimorphism. For example, severely injured women younger than 50 years of age have a survival advantage when compared with men of equal age and injury severity. Young men have a 27% greater chance of dying than women after trauma. Gender dimorphism affects the survival of patients after trauma.

Does the same hold true for entrepreneurship? Does gender dimorphism affect the survival of female vs. male entrepreneurs and their ventures?

Some have noted the differences between male and female entrepreneurs.

Recently a group of Swedish scientists decided to test bias among investors in Sweden, which ranks No. 1 in the world for gender equality. (Sounds like they would be pretty confident they were less biased.)

By the numbers, one in three companies in Sweden is owned by a woman. The government has generous programs for venture capital financing for new business starts, too. Yet only 7 percent of women raise money successfully. 

Investor notes and dialogue showed four common stereotypes about how men and women run businesses differently, which were:

1. Men take more risks than women.

2. Men are more growth-oriented than women are.

3. Men have more money than women do to bring into their businesses.

4. Men generally run businesses better than women do.

A quantitative analysis showed no statistically significant difference between male and female entrepreneurs on all four measures. In short, the stereotypes were myths with no basis in metrics. Unfortunately, the funding decisions were made in alignment with bias, not business sense.

In addition, there's substantial evidence that gender diversity at the management level enhances a company's performance.

In sick care, the medical matriarchy is changing how we deliver care.

In fact, entrepreneurial outcomes are determined by whether your genetic makeup is XX or XY. Women owned startups are a better bet. Entrepreneurial sexual dimorphism is real so we should no longer consider it a confounding variable when we run the numbers.

Still not convinced? Here's the business case for diversity from an old, white guy perspective.

It turns out your genetic code is more important than that computer code you wrote for your digital health startup. Your ZIP code is another story.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.

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  • Steve Farrell

    Very interesting.......

  • Melissa Davies

    Powerful read, thanks for sharing Dr.Arlen

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org. He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at www.bridgehealth.com and www.cliexa.com and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at www.globalminded.org, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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