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Technology adoption and gender-inclusive entrepreneurship education and training

Purpose: Drawing on social feminist theory, this paper aims to close gaps between knowledge about gender-related barriers to information, communication and technology (ICT) adoption and the provision of entrepreneurship education and training (EET) programs. Design/methodology/approach: Empirical findings are drawn from 21 semi-structured interviews (22 informants) possessing differing training expertise regarding digital technology among women entrepreneurs. An open-coding technique was adopted where descriptive codes were first assigned to meaningful statements. Interpretive and pattern codes were then assigned to indicate common themes and patterns, which were reduced to higher-order categories to inform the research questions. Findings: The findings specify and validate further gender influences in the digital economy. Digital skills are identified, and strategies to close gender barriers to ICT adoption with EET are described. The findings are discussed in reference to a large-scale, Canadian ICT adoption program. Research limitations/implications: Perceptual data may be idiosyncratic to the sample. The work did not control for type of technology. Gender influences may differ by type of technology. Practical implications: Findings can be used to construct gender-inclusive ICT supports and inform ICT adoption policies. This includes program eligibility and evaluation criteria to measure the socio-economic impacts. Originality/value: The study is among the first to examine the intersection between knowledge about gender-related barriers to ICT adoption and EET. The findings can be adopted to ICT support programs targeted at small business owners and entrepreneurs.