The New Millenium Women Entrepreneur


Jadabananda Panda
Senior Faculty
Department of Commerce
Prananath Autonomous College


It is a general belief in many cultures that the role of women is to build and maintain the homely affairs like task of fetching water, cooking and rearing children. Since the turn of the century, the status of women in India has been changing due to growing industrialization, urbanisation, spatial mobility and social legislation. With the spread of education and awareness, women have shifted from kitchen to higher level of professional activities.

Entrepreneurship has been a male-dominated phenomenon from the very early age, but time has changed the situation and brought women as today's most memorable and inspirational entrepreneurs. In almost all the developed countries in the world women are putting their steps at par with the men in the field of business. Except some Islamic countries of the world the law of the country has been made in favour of the development of women entrepreneurship.

This presentation is designed in four different sections. The first one which is continuing under the head 'introduction' depicts a general view of women entrepreneurship and the organisation of the article. The next section deals with the modern avenues of the women entrepreneurs. The third section involves the study of new Central Government scheme for the women entrepreneurs and the last section contains the conclusion of the study.


The efforts of Udyogini an NGO may be cited here as an example for development and training of women entrepreneurs. Udyogini was set up to co-ordinate and facilitate management training for grassroots women's groups for the World Bank Institute-funded Women's Enterprise Management Training Outreach Program (WEMTOP). This was a three-year participatory action learning project aimed at strengthening the capacity of intermediary NGOs to deliver management training to poor women micro entrepreneurs in 1992. The training program consisted of Grassroots Management Training (GMT) carried out for women producers and the Training of Enterprise Support Teams (TEST) for the trainers of GMT. The trainings were carried out through NGOs who were responsible for group formation and bringing together the women. NGO staff was trained as trainers or Enterprise Support Teams (ESTs).

The project was based on a package completion approach. It was recognized that training alone would not be sufficient for promotion of enterprises. A number of other linkages - forward and backward - would be necessary. However it was thought that the field based NGOs will provide these other linkages. During the WEMTOP phase, Udyogini worked with 21 Voluntary Organizations (NGOs) in three states of Orissa, Bihar, and Rajasthan. A total of 130 trainers and 1,077 producer women were trained.

It was exciting that Udyogini was able to train so many women and NGOs that worked with women. But more was needed—especially as the markets were getting more complex. To remain strategic and inform its training programs for others, Udyogini needed to work directly at the grassroots to understand what it takes to take women all the way through from 'mobilization to market'. So, in 2002, Udyogini began direct implementation at the grassroots. It selected sectors of the economy in which women were concentrated and in which depth and scale were required to be demonstrated to make a difference. It selected regions that offered a resource base – skills or natural resources that were required to be harnessed for enterprise and to empower women. It selected locations that were challenging and where women were not being supported for micro enterprise work in any significant measure by government or NGOs.

Udyogini has come a considerable distance since its inception and has acquired critical knowledge of gender and micro enterprise promotion at the grassroots both through its support work with partner NGOs and its programs in the field.


In order to alleviate the problems faced by women entrepreneurs, Government of India launched the scheme Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development of Women (TREAD) in 1998. The scheme envisages development of micro/tiny women enterprises in the country both in the urban and rural areas. The main objective of the scheme is to empower women through development of their entrepreneurial skills by eliminating constraints faced by them in their sphere of trade. A revised scheme of TREAD was launched in May, 2004. It is to be implemented by Small Industries Development Organisation. It also provides for market development and financial loans through NGOs, which are also provided grants for capacity building. This assistance is to be provided for self-employment ventures by women for pursuing any kind of non-farm activity.

The scheme has three components;

(a) To provide assistance to women entrepreneurs through NGOs for non farm entrepreneurial activity.

(b) To build up capacity of Entrepreneurship Development Institutions like National Institute for Small Industry Extension & Training (NISIET), Small Industries Service Institutes (SISI), State level EDIs, etc., by providing financial support in the form of Government of India grant.

(c)  To create entrepreneurship development training facility through NGOs by providing financial support for conducting training programmes.


The modern trend shows that women join hands in enhancing the income of the family. In turn it also changes their personality and living standards. In the advanced countries like USA, women won 25 percent of all business, in Canada 1/3rd of small business are owned by women and in France, it is 1/5. In UK the number of self-employed women has increased three fold as fast as the number of self-employed men. In India the self-employed women account for only 5.2% of the self-employment persons in the countries. Majority of them are engaged in the recognized sector like agriculture, handicrafts, handlooms and cottage based industries.

The role of Women entrepreneur in economic development is inevitable. Now-a-days women enter not only in selected professions but also in professions like trade, industry and engineering. Women are also willing to take up business and contribute to the Nation's growth. There role is also being recognized and steps are being taken to promote women entrepreneurship. Resurgence of entrepreneurship is the need of the hour. Women entrepreneurship must be moulded properly with entrepreneurial traits and skills to meet the changes in trends, challenges global markets and also be competent enough to sustain and strive for excellence in the entrepreneurial arena.


1. Schemes and Programmes of Ministry of Small Scale Industries and Ministry of Agro & Rural Industries, Govt. of India

2. Employment News Weekly – 2005- Women Entrepreneurship for Self Employment.

3. Udyogini -

4. Coughlin Jeanne Halladay & Thomas Andrew – The rise of Women Entrepreneurs: People, processes, and Global trends(2002)

5. Association of Women entrepreneurs of Karnataka -

6. Taori ,Dr. Kamal - Entrepreneurship in the Decentralised Sector

7. Mahanty Sangram Keshari – Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship – Prentice Hall of India

Jadabananda Panda
Senior Faculty
Department of Commerce
Prananath Autonomous College

Source: E-mail February 08, 2007


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