Women Entrepreneurs- A mirage of Indian Women
(A Research Paper)


Ms. Akanksha Singh
NGF College of Engineering & Technology


Till the turn of the century, man has enjoyed a dominant position. But change in position technological innovation and modern way of thinking can reduce the disparity between man and women, and bring about equality and equity between them, the need of the hour in women empowerment both through provision of employment and enterprise creation. Women constitute around half of the total world population and also in India. They are regarded as the better half of the society. Today's Indian women are enjoying the fruit of globalization marking an influence on the domestic and international sphere. They have carved a niche for themselves in the male dominated world. Indian women well manage both burden of work in household front and meeting the deadlines at the work place. . Many corporations are more eager to work with women-owned businesses, and a host of organizations are helping to get them up and running. Appropriate training and interventions are needed to bring qualitative changes in this situation. An attempt is made in this study to examine the quality of women enterprise management in socio-cultural milieu and to project the management training needs of women entrepreneurs. Keeping in view the findings of the study, perceptions of women entrepreneurs and insights of experienced trainers - confidence building, competence, connections and capital are projected as essential management training needs.

Keywords;- Business,Entrepreneurs, Management & Women


"You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women"
- Jawaharlal Nehru

Entrepreneurship is a more suitable profession for women than regular employment in public and private sectors since they have to fulfill dual roles. Entrepreneurship emerges from an individual's creative spirit into long-term business ownership, job creation, and economic security. Female entrepreneurs seek the professional and personal support that is found in business associations. Economic globalization has encouraged the expansion of female business ownership. Women bring commitment and integrity because they care about economic empowerment, entrepreneurial development and innovation. Women have been taking increasing interest in recent years in income generating activities, self employment and entrepreneurship. This is seen in respect of all kinds of women both in urban and rural areas. Women are taking up both traditional activities (knitting, pickle making, toy making, jam and jelly) and also nontraditional activities (like computer training, catering services, beauty parlor, gym etc.).It is clear that more and more women are coming forward to set up enterprises. Generally, women who initiate a micro-enterprise do it because of the factors which limit their capacity to start large ventures-low levels of self-confidence, little access to technical information, poor local market conditions, regulatory barriers and no access to capital. Some micro enterprises offer a meaningful source of income and satisfaction. Women who try to enter an industry, either in managerial or in entrepreneurial role are generally exposed to various environmental constraints. Starting and operating business involves considerable risk and effort on the part of the entrepreneur, particularly in the light of highest failure rate. Perhaps, this rate is even higher in the case of women entrepreneurs who have to face not only the usual business problems but also their family problems. This not only limits the scope of their contribution to the industrialization process, but also undermines the productive utilization of an available human resource, that is most needed in our country. Development as entrepreneurs is a recently discovered phenomenon for women for which they need motivation, training and family support

Meaning of Entrepreneurs:-

The word ' entrepreneur' derives from the French word "Entreprendre" (to undertake) .in the early 16th Century it was applied to persons engaged in military expeditions, and extend to cover construction and civil engineering activities in the in this 22nd century the meaning of entrepreneurs has changed. Entrepreneurship is more than simply "starting a business."  The definition of entrepreneurship is a process through which individuals identify opportunities, allocate resources, and create value.  This creation of value is often through the identification of unmet needs or through the identification of opportunities for change. Entrepreneurs see "problems" as "opportunities," then take action to identify the solutions to those problems and the customers who will pay to have those problems solved.

Entrepreneurial successes are simply a function of the ability of an entrepreneur to see these opportunities in the marketplace, initiate change (or take advantage of change) and create value through solution.

Women Entrepreneurs:- A brief prologue:-

Women Entrepreneurs may be defined as the women or a group of women who initiate, organize and operate a business enterprise. Government of India has defined women entrepreneurs as an enterprise owned and controlled by a women having a minimum financial interest of 51% of the capital and giving at least 51% of employment generated in the enterprise to women. A women entrepreneur has many functions. They should explore the prospects of starting new enterprise; undertake risks, introduction of new innovations, coordination administration and control of business and providing effective leadership in all aspects of business. A large number of women around the world have set up and managed their own businesses. It was not easy for these women to succeed in business. They had to face a lot of difficulties and overcome a number of barriers to become successful in their ventures. They had to deal with discrimination and withstand the skepticism of society, and also put in more effort than men to prove their credibility to others. Women entreprenurer's have been making a significant impact in all segments of the economy in India. The areas chosen by women are retail trade, restaurants, hotels, education, cultural, insurance and manufacturing.

Push-Pull factors and Women in business

Women in business are a recent phenomenon in India. By and large they had confide themselves to petty business and tiny cottage industries. Women entrepreneurs engaged in business due to push and pull factors. Which encourage women to have an independent occupation and stands on their on legs. A sense towards independent decision-making on their life and career is the motivational factor behind this urge. Saddled with household chores and domestic responsibilities women want to get independence Under the influence of these factors the women entrepreneurs choose a profession as a challenge and as an urge to do some thing new. Such situation is described as pull factors. While in push factors women engaged in business activities due to family compulsion and the responsibility is thrust upon them.

They have made there marks in business because of the following reasons:

* They want to improve their mettle in innovation and competitive jobs.
* They want the change to control the balance between their families and responsibility and their business levels.
* They want new challenges and opportunities for self fulfillment.

Role of women as an Entrepreneur's:

* Imaginative: It refers to the imaginative approach or original ideas with competitive market. Well-planned approach is needed to examine the existing situation and to identify the entrepreneurial opportunities. It further implies that women entrepreneur's have association with knowledgeable people and contracting the right organization offering support and services.

* Attribute to work hard: Enterprising women have further ability to work hard. The imaginative ideas have to come to a fair play. Hard work is needed to build up an enterprise..

* Persistence: Women entrepreneurs must have an intention to fulfill their dreams. They have to make a dream transferred into an idea enterprise; Studies show that successful women work hard.

* Ability and desire to take risk the desire refers to the willingness to take risk and ability to the proficiency in planning making forecast estimates and calculations.

* Profit earning capacity:  she should have a capacity to get maximum return out of invested capital.

A Woman entrepreneur has also to perform all the functions involved in establishing an enterprise. These include idea generation, and screening, determination of objectives, project preparation, product analysis, determination of forms of business organization, completion of formal activities,  raising funds,  procuring men machine materials and operations of business.

Tribulations Faced by Women Entrepreneurs

Women in India are faced many problems to get ahead their life in business. A few problems can be detailed as:

1. The greatest deterrent to women entrepreneurs is that they are women. A kind of patriarchal male dominant social order is the building block to them in their way towards business success. Male members think it a big risk financing the ventures run by women.

2. The financial institutions are skeptical about the entrepreneurial abilities of women. The bankers consider women loonies as higher risk than men loonies. The bankers put unrealistic and unreasonable securities to get loan to women entrepreneurs. According to a report by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), "despite evidence that women's loan repayment rates are higher than men's, women still face more difficulties in obtaining credit," often due to discriminatory attitudes of banks and informal lending groups (UNIDO, 1995b).

3. Entrepreneurs usually require financial assistance of some kind to launch their ventures - be it a formal bank loan or money from a savings account. Women in developing nations have little access to funds, due to the fact that they are concentrated in poor rural communities with few opportunities to borrow money (Starcher, 1996; UNIDO, 1995a). The women entrepreneurs are suffering from inadequate financial resources and working capital. The women entrepreneurs lack access to external funds due to their inability to provide tangible security. Very few women have the tangible property in hand.

4. Women's family obligations also bar them from becoming successful entrepreneurs in both developed and developing nations. "Having primary responsibility for children, home and older dependent family members, few women can devote all their time and energies to their business.The financial institutions discourage women entrepreneurs on the belief that they can at any time leave their business and become housewives again. The result is that they are forced to rely on their own savings, and loan from relatives and family friends.

5. Indian women give more emphasis to family ties and relationships. Married women have to make a fine balance between business and home. More over the business success is depends on the support the family members extended to women in the business process and management. The interest of the family members is a determinant factor in the realization of women folk business aspirations.

6. Another argument is that women entrepreneurs have low-level management skills. They have to depend on office staffs and intermediaries, to get things done, especially, the marketing and sales side of business. Here there is more probability for business fallacies like the intermediaries take major part of the surplus or profit. Marketing means mobility and confidence in dealing with the external world, both of which women have been discouraged from developing by social conditioning. Even when they are otherwise in control of an enterprise, they often depend on males of the family in this area.

7. The male - female competition is another factor, which develop hurdles to women entrepreneurs in the business management process. Despite the fact that women entrepreneurs are good in keeping their service prompt and delivery in time, due to lack of organizational skills compared to male entrepreneurs women have to face constraints from competition. The confidence to travel across day and night and even different regions and states are less found in women compared to male entrepreneurs. This shows the low level freedom of expression and freedom of mobility of the women entrepreneurs.

8. Knowledge of alternative source of raw materials availability and high negotiation skills are the basic requirement to run a business. Getting the raw materials from different souse with discount prices is the factor that determines the profit margin. Lack of knowledge of availability of the raw materials and low-level negotiation and bargaining skills are the factors, which affect women entrepreneur's business adventures.

9. Knowledge of latest technological changes, know how, and education level of the person are significant factor that affect business. The literacy rate of women in India is found at low level compared to male population. Many women in developing nations lack the education needed to spur successful entrepreneurship. They are ignorant of new technologies or unskilled in their use, and often unable to do research and gain the necessary training (UNIDO, 1995b, p.1). Although great advances are being made in technology, many women's illiteracy, structural difficulties, and lack of access to technical training prevent the technology from being beneficial or even available to females ("Women Entrepreneurs in Poorest Countries," 2001). According to The Economist, this lack of knowledge and the continuing treatment of women as second-class citizens keep them in a pervasive cycle of poverty ("The Female Poverty Trap," 2001). The studies indicates that uneducated women don't have the knowledge of measurement and basic accounting.

10. Low-level risk taking attitude is another factor affecting women folk decision to get into business. Low-level education provides low-level self-confidence and self-reliance to the women folk to engage in business, which is continuous risk taking and strategic cession making profession. Investing money, maintaining the operations and ploughing back money for surplus generation requires high risk taking attitude, courage and confidence. Though the risk tolerance ability of the women folk in day-to-day life is high compared to male members, while in business it is found opposite to that.

11. Achievement motivation of the women folk found less compared to male members. The low level of education and confidence leads to low level achievement and advancement motivation among women folk to engage in business operations and running a business concern.

Future Prospects of Development of Women Entrepreneurs:-

If we see the present business and entrepreneurship trend throughout the world, we can notice that the percentage or ratio of women entrepreneurs is growing tremendously. This is a good indicator as if the aforesaid condition prevails through a long period of time the number of women entrepreneurs will just double and even in certain sectors of economy it may triple in the coming 5-7 years. The emergence as well as development of women entrepreneurs is quite visible in India and their over-all contribution to Indian economy is also very significant. The occupational structure and the enterprises are undergoing a drastic change. IT and the Internet revolutionize the very method of doing business. New types of enterprises are created, and there are new requirements as regards the organization of work, qualifications and management. Entrepreneurial culture is undergoing a positive development.

The Government wants this trend to continue. Several of the initiatives are especially useful for women entrepreneurs' improvement of the entrepreneurial culture, regional contact points and entrepreneur networks as well as more ready access to financing, especially to small loans. These initiatives are to be further adjusted to appeal to women entrepreneurs. All this is providing immense confidence in the women entrepreneurs and enabling them to exercise their skills, risk taking abilities, uncertainty bearing attitude while working in an enterprise. To inspire confidence and to "sell one's idea" is the policy nowadays being adopted by women entrepreneurs. Above all, women want competent counselling in various fields: such as namely: financing, liquidity, budgeting, etc. Women entrepreneurs also want more appreciation of their idea on the part of the banks. Many say, however, that they themselves must also be better at selling their idea. More-over with increasing government and non-government and other financial institutions assistance for various women entrepreneurs within the economy there can be significant increase brought about in the growth of women entrepreneurship process. Still efforts are being made to coordinate with the enterprise activities of women and providing them utmost financial, morale, psychological support by various institutions working within the economy and world-wide.


"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile".
Yes. Today there is a greater awakening among women.  In education, they have not only excelled but also become top makers.  Likewise, in office and industry, many have shown brilliant results.  Even in rural India with education, women have shown better performance.  Educating women is absolutely essential in straightening her personality.  The need of the hour is to provide an opportunity in a conducive atmosphere free from gender differences.  The need for awareness motivation and courage to correct the faults of male counterparts is great challenges today.  It is, therefore, encouragement of the growing intensity of motivation amongst educated young women for coming in the entrepreneurial stream and extends support with scientifically designed package of the technical and financial assistance.  The non-governmental organizations have a bigger role in stimulating and nurturing the spirit of entrepreneurship among women. Towards this end, an integrated approach is necessary for making the movement of women entrepreneurship a success.  For this purpose, both the government and non-government agencies have to play a vital role.





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Ms. Akanksha Singh
NGF College of Engineering & Technology

Source: E-mail February 21, 2014


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