"The Affluent Women Entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu:
Motivational Factors"
An Empirical Study


By

Dr. N. Panchanatham
Ph.D
Reader & Head
Department of Business Administration
Annamalai University
Chidambaram–608002

V. Vijay Anand,
Ph.D - Research Scholar & Asst. Professor
K.A. Shreenivasan
Ph.D - Research Scholar & Asst. Professor
School of Management
SASTRA University
Thanjavur–613401
 


"The Affluent Women Entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu: Motivational Factors"
                                                                                                                                     - An Empirical Study

ABSTRACT

The aim of the present study is to test the status of Women Entrepreneurs in India with reference to selective cities in Tamilnadu. This study was carried out as the role of women entrepreneurs has gained significance in today's environment.  The present study is based on the women entrepreneurs in and around Trichy and Thanjavur. Women, who succeed as entrepreneurs are risk taking personalities.  The women entrepreneurs have their own identity in the world of entrepreneurship. Most of them are capable of fully identifying themselves in their new economic role in society. In this research, stratified sampling technique was used.  A detailed questionnaire bringing out the various aspects of the study was first prepared and tested.  In this research, 60 successful women entrepreneurs were interviewed.  The sample was selected from two towns, Trichy and Thanjavur.  The sample selection was as under:   Trichy  – 60% and Thanjavur – 40% This break up was due to the fact that there was a greated concentration of available successful women entrepreneurs in Trichy when compared to Thanjavur. The study has highlighted many factors that have motivated women entrepreneurs in starting an entrepreneurial career. Success has been seen mostly among the mid thirty and early forty age group. The government schemes, incentives and subsidies have stimulated and provided support measures to women entrepreneurs in and around the city.  In this research, one of the findings was that while a majority of women came from a family business as a core background and they were mostly married to business families. The business environment seems to have prepared them mentally, thereby facilitating their entry into business. Help and guidance was also available within the family in case of any business problems.

Introduction

Entrepreneurs play very important role in socio-economic welfare of the country. They identify the needs of the business, purchases the other factors of production and coordinates them for some productive purposes. They are the innovators, researchers and risk-takers of the company. Due to the mixed economy in India, both public and private entrepreneurship exists here. Large scale sectors are under the public entrepreneurship. The middle and small scale sectors are under the private entrepreneurship. In order to develop entrepreneurship in this sector, Government of India has stepped towards the Entrepreneurship Development Programmes.

An entrepreneur can be defined as one who initiates and establishes an economic activity or enterprise. Entrepreneurship thus refers to the general trend of setting up new enterprises in a society (Begum, 1993). The International Labor Organization (ILO, 1984, cited in Islam and Aktaruzzaman, 2001) defines an entrepreneur as a person with a set of characteristics that typically includes self-confidence, result-oriented, risk taking, leadership, originality and future-oriented. Khanka (2002) referred to women entrepreneurs as those who innovate, imitate or adopt a business activity. Given that entrepreneurship is the set of activities performed by an entrepreneur, it could be argued that being an entrepreneur precedes entrepreneurship. In any case, the entrepreneurial definitions described above highlight the aspects of risk-taking, innovating and resource organizing.

The aim of the present study is to test the status of Women Entrepreneurs in India with reference to selective cities. This study was carried out as the role of women entrepreneurs has gained significance in today's environment.  The present study is based on the women entrepreneurs in and around Trichy and Thanjavur. Women, who succeed as entrepreneurs are risk taking personalities.  The women entrepreneurs have their own identity in the world of entrepreneurship. Most of them are capable of fully identifying themselves in their new economic role in society.  The study has highlighted many factors that have motivated women entrepreneurs in starting an entrepreneurial career. Success has been seen mostly among the mid thirty and early forty age group.  The government schemes, incentives and subsidies have stimulated and provided support measures to women entrepreneurs in and around the city.

The study suggests a new role for women in our economic development.  It also provides great potential of accelerating entrepreneurship movement by developing women entrepreneurship.  The development of women has become an important issue in present day context. Analyses have so far considered anthropological, social and economic factors, which either inhibit or facilitate women development.  A significant trend over the recent years has been towards examining cultural and psychological dimensions of women's role.

This study also attempted to find the motivational factors that drove these women to become entrepreneurs.  It revealed that women do not enter business or industry primarily out of economic factors, or in other words, to make money.  The survey indicates that the first and foremost factor listed out by them was "to keep busy," followed by "wanting to fulfill one's ambition", and "pursue one's own interests."

The detailed aspects of these factors along with others will be discussed in the following.

Objectives of the Study

The broad objectives of the study were:

    • To identify women who make successful entrepreneurs, their motivational factors and their drive.
    • To study the types of problems they encounter in order to reach the level of success.
    • To discover the operational problems they are presently facing.
    • To make suitable suggestions for further improvement.

Methodology

 In this research, a stratified sampling technique was used.  A detailed questionnaire bringing out the various aspects of the study was first prepared and tested. In this research, 70 successful women entrepreneurs were interviewed. The sample was selected from two towns, Trichy and Thanjavur. The sample selection was as under: Trichy  – 60% and Thanjavur – 40% This break up was due to the fact that there was a greated concentration of available successful women entrepreneurs in Trichy when compared to Thanjavur.

Scope and limitation of the study

As a purposive sampling technique was applied, the results arrived at do not reflect the views of the total population of successful women entrepreneurs.  However, the results are indicative of the general trend in the motivation, identity and problems faced by successful women entrepreneurs. It was planned to assess the financial performance of firms with the help of financial statements. But it was not readily available, as the respondents were reluctant about sharing the financial information. The study was carried out in between January, 2010 and April, 2010 and completed by May, 2010.

Analysis and Interpretations:

Research on entrepreneurship has evolved various characteristics that have identified entrepreneurs. 

1. A majority (52.2%) of the respondents were between the ages of 36-45 Years.

2. From the  sample, 78.3% were married, 8.3% were divorced, 8.3% were widows  and 5.0% were single.

3. 50.0 % of the respondents were graduates followed by 25.0% were  undergraduates/diploma holders.  10% of them were postgraduates and 15% were  professionally qualified.

4. Of the total sample, the majority (63.3%) belonged to nuclear families.  When  analyzed on the basis of number of children, the majority (84.2%) has upto 3 children.

5. The figures clearly indicates that despite the common belief that joint families  would be more supportive to women who want to branch off on their own  and enter  business, we find that it is the nuclear family which has produced more  entrepreneurs.  This may be due to the fact that in nuclear setup, the woman has an  equal say and is more open to new ideas; also it is easier to convince only one person  in the family.

6. 45.0% of the children of the respondents are in the age group of 11-20 years.  As  children at this stage do not need the consistent attention, it is quite understandable  that women would take to doing something worthwhile to keep themselves busy.

7. An analysis of the occupation backgrounds of the families-parents, in-laws and husbands' occupations were collected. It is interesting to note that while majority 44.6% of respondents originally come from service background they are mostly married into business families 41.4% and where the husbands occupation is also business (43.5%).  Having lived in business environment after marriage, it seems it is easier for these women to take to business rather than any other vocation.  This is despite the fact that majority of then belonged to the safer service environment before marriage.

Motivational factors of Women Entrepreneurs

The reasons for which women enter business seem quite different from that of men to become entrepreneurs. In order to arrive at an objective assessment, the respondents ranked 15 possible motivating factors in the order of priority.  The weighted scores were accordingly prioritized.

The first 3 ranks were taken for scoring purpose.  The reason ranked first was given 3 points, the second received 2 points and the third 1 point. It is evident from the study, "To keep busy" ranked 1 st amongst the motivational factors followed by "to fulfill ambition".  "To pursue own interest" ranked 3rd, followed by "By accident or circumstances beyond control". The above ranking indicates an interesting assemblage of reasons and factors that motivated the respondents.

The research on entrepreneurship has proved that "the need to excel and achieve" and "the ability to take calculated risk" are the prime factors that motivate people.  However, this study indicates different things from the accepted pattern of thinking. "Keeping busy" has emerged as the dominant factor motivating women entrepreneurs.  The data reveals that while 60.8% of respondents have been taking male help in running their enterprises, 39.2% are operating entirely on their own.  However, when asked whether they could successfully run their enterprises on their own, 75% said yes.

This is further supported by the fact that majority of respondents were not under economic stress at the time of entering business. "To earn money" has been given the fifth priority.  The fact that low priority has been given to "to giving good education to children", "securing social prestige", "making quick money" etc., further substantiates that most of the respondents belong to fairly well to do families.  The second and third priorities have been identified as "to fulfill ones' ambition" and "to pursue own interest", which indicates their sense of independence.  However, the difference in score between these two factors and the first factor identified is rather significant.  Some respondents on their own have indicated "facing challenges" as a motivating factors, but the priority to this factor works out to 6th position with a score of only 16.

The fourth priority was "by accident or circumstances beyond control". This is because of the death of their fathers/husbands. As pointed out earlier a larger percentage of women entrepreneurs have either married into business families or have businessmen as husbands.  This could be one of the reasons why, despite having educational qualifications, none of them thought of taking up a job.  No priority has been allotted to the factor "no educational qualification for job". 65.2% of women, have approached banks for some kind of financial assistance, 24.1% have depended entirely upon their own capital.  The facility taken from banks was basically for working capital limits.

Sources of Idea generation

In continuation of the earlier analysis, we find that majority of women (31.3%) have entered business of their own initiative. Although the women had entered business primarily to keep busy, the idea was generated from their own desire (33.3%).  Other factors like advice from family, business family background and availability of finance (26.7%) coupled with their own desire did contribute significantly towards this decision.

It is evident from data that majority of women (48.3%) has gone in for sole proprietorship concerns, followed by partnership concerns (36.7%) and private limited companies (15.03%).
 

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Source: E-mail January 8, 2011

          

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