Women entrepreneur may be defined as a women or a group of women who innovates imitates for adopts an economic activity.
In other words, any women or a group of women who initiate organize and operate a business enterprise.
According to the Government of India, a woman entrepreneur is defined as, an enterprise owned and controlled by a woman and enterprise owned and controlled by a woman and having a minimum financial interest of 51% of the employment generated in the enterprises to women.
Just as entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs are those women who generate business ideas or select the best opportunity, mobilizes resources, combine the factors of production, undertake risk and operate the enterprise in the most effectiveness with a new to earn profit.
The problems faced by women entrepreneurs can be studied under the following heads:
1. General Problems 2. Problems Specific to Women Entrepreneurs only.
Some of the general problems are:-
1. Problems of Finance 2. Scarcity of Raw Materials 3. Stiff Competition 4. Marketing Problem 5. Infrastructure Problems.
Some of the problems specific to women entrepreneurs are:-
1. Low Risk-Taking Ability 2. Lack of Self-Confidence 3. Lack of Entrepreneurial Aptitude 4. Lack of Mobility 5. Family Problem
6. Male-Dominated Society 7. Social Attitudes 8. Lack of Education 9. High Cost of Production 10. Low Need for Achievement.
Some of the other problems faced by women entrepreneurs are:-
1. Socio-Cultural Barriers 2. Market-Oriented Risks 3. Discrimination 4. Motivational Factors 5. Missing Networks
6. Male-Female Competition. 7. Raw Material Problems 8. Problem of skilled manpower 9. Delays in promotional procedures 10. Lack of business information and experience
11. Heavily involved in family problems 12. Lack of Training. 13. Limited Mobility 14. Lack of Managerial Skills 15. Lack of Access to Technology and a Few Others.
Additionally, learn about the remedial measures to overcome the problems faced by women entrepreneurs.
Problems Faced by Women Entrepreneurs in India
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs – In Detail
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 male dominant social order is the stumbling block to them in their way towards business success. Male members think it a big risk financing the ventures run by women.
2. Changing the perceptions about the likely success of women-owned businesses depends on increasing women’s visibility in leadership positions within the greater business community. In an assessment of women’s presence as CEOs or Directors of large business enterprises, it has been anticipated that the exodus of women to entrepreneurial growth firms might be because women believe that they have greater representation in strategic leadership positions in privately-held or family-owned firms as they provide better opportunities for leadership than available to women in publicly- traded companies.
3. The financial institutions are skeptical about the entrepreneurial abilities of women. The bankers consider women loanies as higher risk than men loanies. The bankers put unrealistic and unreasonable securities to get loan to women entrepreneurs. The financial institutions discourage women entrepreneurs’ on the belief that they can at any time leave their business and become housewives again.
4. Another significant need of many women business owners is obtaining the appropriate assistance and information needed to take the business to the next level of growth. Women entrepreneurs required assistance and training in implementing the business idea, identifying initial sources of financing and advertising/promotion. The entrepreneurs, who were already established, had a somewhat different set of needs including financing for expansion and increasing sales.
5. Women hardly interact with other women who are successful entrepreneurs. This results in a negative impact on their networking skills.
6. 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.
7. Socio-cultural Barriers – Women’s family and personal obligations are sometimes a great barrier for succeeding in business career. Women’s family obligations also bar them from becoming successful entrepreneurs in both developed and developing nations. The overlapping of the family and the firm is not significant for women business owners. As the boundaries between the firm and the family tend to be indistinct, women operating family businesses face a unique set of issues related to personal identity, role conflict, loyalties, family relationships and attitudes towards authority.
“Having primary responsibility for children, home and older dependent family members, few women can devote all their time and energies to their business” Additionally, family businesses owned by women are at a disadvantage financially and are forced to rely on internal resources of funding rather than outside sources.
8. Lack of Confidence – women lack confidence in their strength and competence. The family members and the society are reluctant to stand beside their entrepreneurial growth. Women are very critical when it comes to themselves – can I really do this, am I good enough, maybe I have to learn more, others can do it better. It is quite interesting that many successful women have been educated in only girls colleges and schools, which often deliver a safe environment to try out ones personal strengths, learn to overcome weaknesses and be proud of oneself.
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.
9. Married women have to make a fine balance between business and home. More-over the business success depends on the support the family members extended to women in the business process and management. Very few societies accept fathers taking over the role of staying home and taking care of the children. Once these children are old enough to take care for themselves, they have to bear an additional responsibility of taking care of elder parents. If they want to become entrepreneurs, the society expects them to be able to do both – take care of family and home and do business.
10. Market-oriented risks – Stiff competition in the market and lack of mobility of women make the dependence of women entrepreneurs on middlemen indispensable. 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.
11. Discrimination – It is hard to believe but women are still treated differently in our society. Women do get lower salaries compared to men doing the same job; women do not have access to men dominated networks who take their decisions about successors in the company during golf plays or meetings.
12. Motivational factors – Self motivation can be realized through a mind set for a successful business, attitude to take up risk and behavior towards the business society by shouldering the social responsibilities. 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.
13. Missing networks – Through centuries business men have build up their networks but women still have to learn to catch up.
14. 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.
In spite of constitutional equality, in practice the attitude of men is not only tradition-bound but even of those who are responsible for decision-making, planning and research is not equality. They still suffer from male Reservations. This attitude of reservation creates difficulties and problems at all levels i.e., Family support, training, banking, licensing and marketing.
15. Women are hesitant to find out the access to cater their needs in the financial and marketing areas. In spite of the mushrooming growth of associations, institutions and the schemes from the government side, women are not enterprising and dynamic to optimize the resources in the form of reserves, assets mankind or business volunteers.
16. Knowledge of latest technological changes, know-how and education level of the person are significant factors 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.
17. 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.
18. High production cost of some business operations adversely affects the development of women entrepreneurs. High cost of production undermines the efficiency and stands in the way of development and expansion of women’s enterprises. Government assistance in the form of grant and subsidies to some extent enables them to tide over the difficult situations.
However, in the long run, it would be necessary to increase efficiency and expand productive capacity and thereby reduce cost to make their ultimate survival possible, other than these, women entrepreneurs also face the problems of labour, human resources, infrastructure, legal formalities, overload of work, lack of family support, mistrust etc.
19. Lack of right public/ private institutions – Most public and private incentives are misused and do not reach the woman unless she is backed by a man. Also many trade associations like ministries, chambers of commerce do not cater to women expecting women’s organizations to do the necessary thing. At a government level, the licensing authorities and labour officers and sales tax inspectors ask all sorts of questions like what technical qualifications you have, how will you manage labourers , how will you manage both house and business, does your husband approve, etc.
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs
Women entrepreneurs encounter two types of problems in setting up and developing their enterprises. One, they face the general problems forced by all entrepreneurs and the second, the problems specific to the women entrepreneurs only.
These are presented as follows:
Problems of Entrepreneurs:
1. Raw material problems
2. Marketing problems
3. Problem of finance
4. Infrastructural problems
5. Problem of skilled manpower
6. Delays in promotional procedures
7. Cumbersome difficulties in availing of government concessions and subsidies.
Problems Specific to Women:
1. Lack of need achievement, economic independence and autonomy
2. Absence of risk bearing capacity
3. Lack of education skills
4. Male dominating Society
5. Lack of business information and experience
6. Heavily involved in family problems
7. Lack of viable concept, Social stigma attached to certain vocations.
With effect from February 6, 1992 the definition of Women Entrepreneurs’ Enterprises is as under – “A small-scale industrial unit/industry related service or business enterprise, managed by one or more women entrepreneurs in proprietary concerns in which she/they will individually or jointly have a share capital of not less than 51% as partners/shareholders/ directors of Private Limited Company, members of cooperative society.”
Some of the steps that can be taken to solve the problems of women entrepreneurs are as follows:
1. Finance Cells – Special cells to provide easy finance to women entrepreneurs should be created in all commercial banks and financial institutions. These cells should be managed by women. Efforts should be made to provide finance at the local level and at concessional rates of interest.
2. Marketing Cooperatives – Such cooperatives would pool the output of women entrepreneurs and sell the same in India and abroad. They can eliminate the middlemen and fetch better prices. Central and state governments should give priority to women entrepreneurs while buying their requirements.
3. Supply of Raw Materials – Scarce and imported raw materials should be made available to women entrepreneurs on priority basis. A subsidy may also be given to make their products cost competitive.
4. Training – Women entrepreneurs require training in various aspects of entrepreneurship. Part time training facilities would be more convenient.
5. Social Support – The support of family, neighbours and women associations is essential to encourage and assist women entrepreneurs. Self-help groups can be a great support system.
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs – With Remedies to Solve the Problems
Women entrepreneurs face several problems like male entrepreneurs. In fact, they face more problems than the male entrepreneurs.
These problems can be classified into sets:
I) The general problems faced by all the entrepreneurs, and
II) The specific problems faced by only women entrepreneurs.
I) General Problems:
As an entrepreneur, a woman entrepreneur faces the following general problems:
1) Problems of Finance:
Finance is regarded as life-blood of any business enterprise – whether it is large scale or small scale.
Women entrepreneurs, in particular, suffer from shortage of finance for two reasons:
Firstly, women do not generally possess property in their own names to use such property as a collateral security for obtaining loans from external sources. Hence, their access to external sources of funds is limited.
Secondly, the banks also consider women less credit-worthy and discourage women borrowers on the belief that they can at any time leave their business for one reason or the other.
Under such circumstances, women entrepreneurs are bound to rely on their own savings and loans from friends and relatives like father and brothers but such sources are expected to be very meager and negligible. Therefore, women entrepreneurs fail because of the shortage of finance.
2) Scarcity of Raw Materials:
Most of the women entrepreneurs find it very difficult to procure the raw materials and other necessary inputs. In addition, they may be compelled to pay high prices for the raw materials and they may not be able to get any trade discount or timely supply of such raw materials etc. The scarcity of essential raw materials or their non-availability in time sounds the death-knell of enterprises run by women.
3) Stiff Competition:
The women entrepreneurs do not have adequate organisational set up to pump in lot of money for advertising and canvassing their products. Thus, they have to face a stiff competition for marketing their products from the organised sector and the male counterparts. Such competition may result in the liquidation of women enterprises.
4) Marketing Problem:
Women entrepreneurs find it very difficult to capture new markets and to promote the sale of their products. The middlemen are most likely to exploit the women entrepreneurs in various ways.
5) Infrastructure Problems:
Women entrepreneurs do not have adequate infrastructural facilities either for setting up their manufacturing activity or for making activity as such infrastructural activities require heavy investment which is beyond the capacity of women entrepreneurs.
II) Problems Specific to Women Entrepreneurs:
Women entrepreneurs, unlike men entrepreneurs, face certain specific problems in their business.
These problems are as follows:
1) Low Risk-Taking Ability:
Women in our country lead a protected life. They are less educated and economically more dependent on others. In other words, they are economically not independent. Therefore, these factors reduce their ability to take risks involved in business. Risk-taking is an essential requisite of a successful entrepreneurship.
But women entrepreneurs have a low ability to bear economic and other risks. Inferiority complex, low education, unplanned but protected growth, lack of infrastructure etc. are the main factors for their low ability to take or bear risks.
2) Lack of Self-Confidence:
Women entrepreneurs generally lack self-confidence in doing anything independently, particularly in India. They hesitate to take risks. They are conservative in their outlook. The public in general look women entrepreneurs with suspicion and they do not support nor encourage them.
3) Lack of Entrepreneurial Aptitude:
Women generally lack entrepreneurial aptitude. They lack any entrepreneurial bent of mind as well as entrepreneurial creativity, motivation, behaviour etc.
4) Lack of Mobility:
Women, particularly in India, lack mobility. In other words, their mobility is highly limited due to various reasons. Women cannot travel alone freely and safely nor can they deal courageously with men or male officers who always try to humiliate women, when approached for any official or business work. Travelling is also not possible and feasible for women entrepreneurs. Thus the mobility of women entrepreneurs is very limited, particularly in India.
5) Family Problem:
In India, it is mainly the duty of a woman to look after her children and other elderly or old members of the family. Lot of time and energy will have to be used by the woman in looking after her family affairs. Therefore, her involvement in family affairs leaves little time and energy for business. Therefore, married women entrepreneurs have to make a satisfactory balance between family burden and business burden.
Their success in this connection depends upon the willing support of their husband and other family members. Because without the consent and full support of her husband and without the cooperation and encouragement from the other members of her family, no woman entrepreneur can hope to succeed in her business. Otherwise, there arises a role of conflict for women entrepreneurs in their business life. Such conflicts prevent them from taking prompt and sound decisions in their business.
The movement of women has been slowed down because of the traditions and family responsibilities, despite modernisation. Further, the occupational background of the families, and educational level of the husbands will have a great impact on the development of women entrepreneurship.
The development of kindergartens, day-time nurseries, and creches and family planning and most important one, desire for a larger income and higher standard of living, have to some extent helped the women entrepreneurs to carry on their business without affecting the social prestige of their husbands.
6) Male-Dominated Society:
Ours is a male-dominated society. Our constitution speaks of equality between men and women, but in reality women are not treated equal to men. Women are looked down upon as weak and incapable in all respects. Women suffer from male reservations about their role, ability and capacity. Such an attitude of men towards women acts as a great barrier to women’s entry into business.
7) Social Attitudes:
The biggest problem faced by the women entrepreneurs is the problem of social attitudes towards women and the constraints in which women entrepreneurs live and work. Despite constitutional equality, there is a great discrimination against women. In our society, which is bound by customs and traditions, women suffer from many reservations imposed by men on their role and capacity.
This is particularly true in rural India. In rural areas, women face resistance not only from the male members but also from the elderly female members who do not accept the principle of equality. The overbearing presence of the elders in the family restrains the young girls from venturing out.
Though the rural women have the potential to become entrepreneurs, they are not properly trained and given scope. It is believed that the skill imparted to a girl is lost when she is married. Hence, girls, though having entrepreneurial talent, continue to be helpless in rural handicrafts and small scale and tiny industries and hence they do not become entrepreneurs.
8) Lack of Education:
In India, women are less educated and therefore, they are not aware of the business technology and market knowledge. Nearly 48 percent of women in India are still illiterate as per 2001 census. Lack of education among women causes low achievement motivation.
Therefore, lack of education creators problems for women in setting up and running business enterprises. Lack of education leads to lack of information and experience among women creates still more problems for them in their business i.e. because of their inability to deal with outsiders.
9) High Cost of Production:
Another problem faced by the women entrepreneurs is the high cost of production, which undermines the efficiency and restricts the development of entrepreneurship among the woman. The assistance given by the government and other agencies in the form of grants and subsidies may enable them to tide over this difficulty but to ensure their ultimate success and survival, it becomes necessary to increase their efficiency expand productive capacity and reduce cost of production.
But even then, the women entrepreneurs still face certain problems such as problems of labour, human resources, infrastructure, legal formalities, lack of family support etc.
10) Low Need for Achievement:
Need for high achievement, independence, autonomy and freedom are the pre-requisites for success in entrepreneurship. But women, by nature prefer to grow under some assured shelter and glory of their parents, husbands, brothers, sons etc. They have got some pre-conceived notions about their role in life and this attitude of women inhibits their achievements.
There should be a keen usage for achievement in women but it is true that all women cannot be expected for achievement in women but it is true that all women cannot be expected to have such an urge. Only these women who have got such exceptional urge for achievement and independence are most likely to succeed in their business.
Remedies to Solve the Problems of Women Entrepreneurs:
The following steps may be adopted to solve the problems of the women entrepreneurs:
1) Finance Cells:
In various financial institutions and banks, special finance cells should be opened for providing easy finance to women entrepreneurs. Such finance cells should be managed by women officers and clerks. The finance cells should provide to women entrepreneurs at low rates of interest and on easy repayment basis.
2) Marketing Co-Operatives:
Women entrepreneurs should be encouraged and given all assistance for setting up marketing cooperatives. The Government and semi-government bodies should give highest preference to such women’s marketing cooperatives while making their purchases. Such cooperatives will be able to eliminate the middlemen while making their purchases of inputs and selling their products at remunerative prices.
3) Supply of Raw Materials and Other Inputs:
The government should make necessary arrangements for the supply of scarce and imported raw materials and other inputs required by the women entrepreneurs. The government should also give subsidy to the women entrepreneurs to make their products cost- competitive and sell them at competitive prices.
4) Education and Awareness:
Intensive educational and awareness programmes should be arranged so as to change the negative or unfavourable attitudes towards women. The attitude of the elders, particularly, the elderly women whether mothers or mother-in-laws, should be made aware of the potential of the girls and their due role in the society. The social attitudes of these people should be made positive so as to enable the women entrepreneurs to achieve progress in their venture.
5) Training Facilities:
Training and skill development are quite essential for development of entrepreneurs. Special training schemes should be designed so as to suit the women entrepreneurs so as to create self-confidence in their mind about the success of their entrepreneurship. Since family members will not be permitted to go too far distant places for training, mobile training centres should be arranged.
Similarly, part-time training facilities should also be provided during week-ends and holidays. In addition, stipend, good hygienic creches, transport facilities, and such other facilities should also be provided to attract more and more women-entrepreneurs to the training centres.
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs – With Suggestions to Promote Women Entrepreneurship
Women entrepreneurs are facing the following problems:
(i) Banks and financial institutions do not have faith in women entrepreneurial abilities so they consider women applicants a higher risky than men loanees. They look for men behind the women applicants.
(ii) They lack ability to bear economic risk, social risk, technical and environment risk.
(iii) They have peculiar problem in domestic affairs like husband and child care etc.
(iv) They have low level of favourable family background in the field of family cooperation, education, occupation and entrepreneurial base.
(v) Women have led a protected life. So, they are handicapped by their inability to travel from one place to another place for business reasons.
(vi) They lack high achievement motivation. They have preconceived notions about their role in life and this inhibits achievement and independence.
(i) Women entrepreneurs should be treated a separate target group for all entrepreneurial development programmes.
(ii) Vocational training facilities are to be developed by the Government for women. It is a first stage in developing women entrepreneurship.
(iii) Institutional support system should be designed to suit the requirements of women entrepreneurs.
(iv) Encouragement should be given to appropriate technologies, equipment and practice for reducing their drudgery and increasing their efficiency and productivity.
(v) Government should try to involve women entrepreneurs in decision making process meant for entrepreneurship development.
Thus, more and more potential women candidates should be motivated to join entrepreneurial activities. For this purpose, effective entrepreneurship development programme is necessary to suit their requirements.
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs – In India (With the Remedial Measures)
Women entrepreneurs in India are suffering from different problems.
The important problems are briefly explained below:
1. Problem of Finance – Women entrepreneurs suffer from shortage of finance on two counts. They are –
(i) Women do not generally possess property on their names to offer them as security while raising loans. Therefore, their fund raising capacity is very limited,
(ii) The lending institutions consider women less credit worthy and discourage them from borrowing.
On account of these two major reasons, Women entrepreneurs are forced to depend upon internal sources for their financial requirement. However, internal sources are very limited
2. Lack of Family Support – Indian women entrepreneurs are suffering from family support to start any kind of enterprise. In case of married women, they have to strike a balance between their family and business. Their total involvement in family leaves little or no time to devote for business. Support and approval of their husbands seems necessary condition for women’s entry into business.
3. Lack of Education – In India, around 60% of women is less educated. It is the root cause of socio-economic problems. Women do not aware of business, technology, market strategy etc. Also, lack of education creates problems for women in setting up and running enterprises.
4. Lack of Awareness – Many women entrepreneurs are unaware of various governmental schemes meant for women. This has caused the lower rate of women entrepreneurship in India.
5. Low Risk Bearing Ability – Women in India lead a protected life. They are less educated and economically not self-sufficient or independent. All these reasons reduce the risk bearing ability.
6. Limited Mobility – Most women entrepreneurs lack the ability to move from one place to another for business reasons.
7. Humiliating Attitude – Women entrepreneurs have been facing humiliation from different quarters. Family members, general public, public authorities etc. humiliate at different levels. These situations force women to give up their entrepreneurial attitude or to suspend business operations.
8. Competition – This is the age of competition. Modem MNCs poses greatest danger to women entrepreneurs. Those women who can innovate only exist in this field now.
9. Lack of Marketing Skills – Woman entrepreneur lack marketing skill when compared to male entrepreneurs. Maintaining existing business and access to fresh business requires strategic marketing skills.
10. Lack of Managerial Skills – Woman entrepreneur does not possess managerial skills equal to male entrepreneurs due to discriminating attitude played in the society. This problem is inherent in the Indian society till today. On account of this limitation Indian Women though qualified, did not take up entrepreneurial activity.
11. Lack of self-confidence – Lack of self-confidence is the other problem of Indian woman entrepreneur. This is due to a non-supportive attitude by her family members and the society.
12. Family ties and relationship – Indian women give more emphasis to family ties and relationships. Married women have to make a fine balance between business and family. The success in entrepreneurship also depends on the support extended by family members.
13. Lack of access to technology – Women managed business are often small and it is always not easy to access the information they need regarding technology, training, innovative schemes, concessions, alternative markets etc. Only a small percentage of women can avail these assistances.
14. Other problems –
i. Lack of practical knowledge
ii. Lack of self confidence
iii. Lack of positive attitude
iv. Family conflicts
v. Lack of storage facilities
vi. Male dominated society
vii. Ignorance of banking procedure
viii. Lack of accounting knowledge and management skill
ix. Lack of exposure to business practices.
x. Lack of assets in their our name
xi. Procedural complexities and bottleneck
xii. Preparation of viable project proposal.
In India, a large number of training and promotional activities are being organized to develop entrepreneurial skills among women. Some of these programmes are exclusively for women while others take women along with male entrepreneurs.
Given below are some of the remedial measures initiated to improve women entrepreneurs in India:
1. Creating Awareness – Steps should be taken to make women aware of financial and technical assistance available to them under government and non-government schemes.
2. Offering Concessions – Women entrepreneurs should be offered concessions, subsidies and incentives as supporting elements to promote them take up entrepreneurial activities.
3. Simple legal formalities – Legal and administrative procedures and formalities should be made more simple and flexible. This induces them to undertake entrepreneurial activities. Application forms, appraisal standards and other procedural formalities for extending finance to women should be simple.
4. Co-operation from Agencies – Government and its agencies should co-operate with women entrepreneurs to make the environment more friendly and courteous.
5. Financial Assistance – Loans and advances should be made available to women entrepreneurs through public sector bank is and private banks at concessional or lesser rate of interest. Besides this, women entrepreneurs should be advised to form SHGs (self-help groups) or co-operatives.
6. Training and Development Programmes – For inexperienced women, special type of training and development programems should be arranged to inculcate in them entrepreneurial knowledge and skills. Besides this, every women entrepreneur needs to have prior knowledge and skill before they undertake the assignment of starting enterprises.
7. Women’s Cell – Women’s cell should be setup at the directorate of industries and District Industries Centres (DIC) to provide information, Counselling or guidance and other credit related information to women entrepreneurs. These women cells should be preferably handled by women officers or staff.
8. Single window Approach – The single window approach would be helpful for promoting women entrepreneurs. A separate cell should be established under the DIC.
The cell should ensure the following assistances:
i. Preparation of the project report
ii. Preparation Technical know
iii. Allotment of site, sheds etc.,
iv. Term loan approval
v. Working capital loan sanctions
vi. Raw material allocation
vii. Training both to women entrepreneurs and staff
ix. Marketing assistances
9. Women entrepreneurs’ Associations – A women entrepreneurs’ Associations can be formed. This would help them to form groups, seek help from different institutions and exchange mutual needs. A formal association would also encourage other potential entrepreneurs.
10. Women co-operatives – Women should be encouraged to work in groups by forming women co-operatives for production as well as marketing of their products. This would help them in getting success in their ventures and improve their confidence. They feel strong economically, socially and emotionally by managing enterprises in a cordial environment.
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs – In Assam
The problems of the women aspiring to become entrepreneurs in Assam are:
1. The women lack motivation for being an entrepreneur. The women often suffer from inferiority complex, emotional attachment with family, feeling of insecurity and afraid of social taboos. Owing to their traditional role attached with household chores they are rarely fascinated by the notion of entrepreneurship.
2. The women may be owing to their educational background lack the knowledge of source of raw materials availability and high negotiation skills that are required to run a business.
3. Lack of the information of latest technological changes, technical knowhow is a serious drawback.
4. Aspiring women entrepreneurs require financial assistance of some kind to launch their enterprise, but the women suffer from paucity of capital and lack of confidence to borrow.
5. Due to the low level of exposure to the business world, the women lack the appetite for undertaking risk.
6. Lack of the proper information of the available facilities and incentives provided by the government and related organizations.
7. The male dominance is business activities is also sometimes a deterrent.
8. The prevailing atmosphere is the area is also responsible.The low level of infrastructural facilities like transport, communication and, electricity retards the zeal for being an entrepreneur.
Problems of Woman Entrepreneurs – 10 Major Problems
While women make up 48% of the 1.2 billion people in India, according to a study by Deloitte, yet Indian women hold only around 8% of board seats and just about 3% of board chairs.
Women launch only 9% of all Indian startups, with those numbers significantly decreasing in rural areas. Even the ones who attempt to break the glass ceiling are often seen as the exception rather than the rule. There are myriad problems faced by women at various stages during their entrepreneurial journey.
Some of the problems faced by women entrepreneurs are as follows:
1. Problem of Finance:
Finance is regarded as “life-blood” for any enterprise, be it big or small. However, women entrepreneurs suffer from shortage of finance on two counts. Firstly, women do not generally have property on their names to use them as collateral for obtaining funds from external sources. Second, women are not regarded as a serious business person, hence their creditworthiness is very low. Thus, their access to the external sources of funds is limited
2. Patriarchal Society:
Entrepreneurship has been traditionally the pursuit of men often underestimating the potential and passion of women to break the glass ceiling. Even if women are allowed to initiate any entrepreneurial activity, they constantly undergo criticism and face an uphill task of managing business and family responsibility.
3. Lack of Entrepreneurial Aptitude:
Although many women undertake the training by attending the Entrepreneurship Development Programmes yet they may not possess entrepreneurial bent of mind as compared with the male section of the society. As per a study, involvement of women in small scale sector as owners stands at mere 7 percent. Women who are imparted training by various institutes must be verified on account of aptitude through the tests, interviews etc.
4. Poor Quality of Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDP)s:
All those women entrepreneurs seeking training, are given the same training through EDPs. However for Second-generation women entrepreneurs, different set of skills and exposure is required, which is often missing from EDPs.
5. Marketing Problems:
Successfully marketing the products is often viewed as a major obstacle for women entrepreneurs. It is one of the core problems as this area is mainly dominated by males and even women with adequate experience fail to make a dent. Presence of middleman, incomplete information and lack of expertise make marketing exercises, a tedious task.
6. Family Conflicts:
Women entrepreneurs have to often juggle between two boats as they have to perform myriad duties at home along with the long hours in business. Paucity of time leads to their inability to cater to domestic work, devoting time for education of children, nurturing personal hobbies for self-joining and training programmes etc.
7. Credit Facilities:
Though women constitute about 50 per cent of population, the percentage of small scale enterprise where women own 51 percent of share capital is less than 5 percent. Women are often denied credit by bankers on the ground of lack of collateral security. Therefore, women’s access to risk capital is limited. Further, the complicated procedure of seeking bank loans, the inordinate delay in obtaining the loans, deter many women from venturing out.
8. Shortage of Raw-Materials:
Lucrative business avenues at times have to shut down due to shortage of raw-materials. For instance, the failure of many women co-operations engaged in basket making was shut down in 1971 mainly because of the inadequate availability of forest-based raw materials.
9. Heavy Competition:
Many of the women enterprises have imperfect organizational set up, making them more vulnerable to face and survive the severe competition from organized industries.
10. High Cost of Production:
High cost of production undermines the efficiency and stands in the way of development and expansion of women’s enterprises. Sometimes, government assistance in the form of grant and subsidies to some extent enables them to tide over the difficult situations.
Other than the above problems, women entrepreneurs also face the problems of labour, human resources, infrastructure, legal formalities, overload of work, lack of family support and mistrust.
However, in order to nurture and bolster the growth of women entrepreneurs, it would be necessary to increase efficiency and expand productive capacity of women entrepreneurial ventures and thereby reduce cost structures to make their ultimate survival possible.
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs – In India
Women entrepreneurs encounter two sets of problem, viz., general problems of entrepreneurs and problems specific to women entrepreneurs.
These are explained as follows:
1. Problem of Finance:
Finance is regarded as “life-blood” for any enterprise, be it big or small. However, women entrepreneurs suffer from shortage of finance on two counts. Firstly, women do not generally have property on their names access to the external sources of funds is limited.
Secondly, the banks also consider women less credit-worthy and discourage women borrowers on the belief that they can at any time level their business. Given such situation, women entrepreneurs are bound to rely on their own savings, if any and loan from friends and relatives who are expectedly meager and negligible. Thus, women entrepreneurs fall due to the shortage of finance.
2. Scarcity of Raw Material:
Most of the women entrepreneurs are plagued by scarcity of raw material and necessary inputs. Added to this is the high price of raw material, on the one hand and getting raw material at the minimum of discount, on the other.
3. Shift Competition:
Women entrepreneurs do not have organization setup pump in a lot of money for canvassing and advertisement. Thus, they have to face a stiff competition for marketing their products with both organized sector and their male counterparts. Such a competition ultimately results in the liquidation of women enterprises.
4. Limited Mobility:
Unlike men, women mobility in India is highly limited due to various reasons. A single women asking for room is still looked upon suspicion. Procedural formalities involving in starting an enterprise coupled with the official’s humiliating attitude towards women compels them to give attitude towards women compels them to give up idea of starting an enterprise.
5. Family Ties:
In India, it is mainly a woman’s duty to look after the children and other members of the family. Man plays a secondary role. In case of married women, she has to strike a fine balance between her business and family. Her total involvement in family leaves little or no energy and time to devote for business. Support and approval of husbands seem necessary condition for women’s entry into business. Accordingly, the educational level and family background of husbands positively influence women’s entry into business activities.
6. Lack of Education:
In India, around three-fifths (60%) of women are still illiterate illiteracy is the root cause of socioeconomic problems. Due to the lack of education and that too qualitative education, women are not aware of business, technology and market knowledge. Also, lack of education causes low achievement motivation among women.
7. Male-Dominated Society:
The Constitution of India speaks of equality between sexes. But, in practice, women are looked upon as weak section of society in all respects. Women suffer form male reservations woman’s role, ability and capacity and are treated accordingly. In nutshell, in the male-dominated Indian society, women are not treated equal to men. This, in turn, serves as a barrier to women entry into business.
8. Low Risk-Bearing Ability:
Women in India lead a protected life. They are ‘less educated and economically not self-dependent. All these reduce their ability to bear risk involved in running an enterprise. Risk-bearing is an essential requisite of a successful entrepreneur.
In addition to above problems, inadequate infrastructural facilities, shortage of power, high cost of production, social attitude, low for achievement and social-economic constraints also hold the women back from entering into business.
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs
The basic problem of a women entrepreneur is that she is a woman. This is because of her dual responsibility towards family and workplace. The attitude of society towards her and the constraints in which she has to live and work are hostile. With joint families breaking up many women simply don’t have the support of elders.
However, in rural India joint families are still the order of the day. Women have to face resistance not only from men but also from elderly woman who are ingrained with this attitude of inequality. This attitude of reservation creates difficulties and problems at all levels, i.e., family support, banking, marketing, training, licensing etc.
The main problems faced by women entrepreneurs can be analyzed as:
(i) Family involvement – Most of her time is devoted in the upliftment of the children and other members of the family. Married women entrepreneurs have to strike a balance between the home and business. Her success to a great extent is dependable on the support extended by her husband and other members of her family.
(ii) Male dominance – Equal treatment to men and women is absent at all levels in the society as well as at business level. There exists a male superiority ego complex with creates an obstacle in the road to success.
(iii) Social attitude – In a male dominated society women do not get equal treatment in spite of the constitutional and legal equality, in practice the attitude of men is not only tradition-bound but even of those who are responsible for decision making and research is not of equality. It is not that women do not have skills or capacity but they are not properly trained because it is felt that if a skill is imparted it is felt that it is imparted to a girl, because when she gets married she takes away the skill with her.
(iv) Lack of education – The literacy rate among women in India is quite low. Due to this lack of education women are unaware of the latest developments taking place in different areas of knowledge e.g., finance, marketing, accounts, competitors, etc.
(v) Non-availability of finance – Women entrepreneurs suffer from inadequate financial resources and working capital. Banks are reluctant to provide assistance to women because banks feel that these women may at any time leave their business and become housewives again.
(vi) Shortage of raw materials – Scarcity of raw materials and other inputs is one of the main reasons for the failure of the enterprise run by women. These women lack the capability to take the advantage of the market when the prices are low due to shortage of working capital. Moreover, they are also unable to avail the attractive discounts offered by their suppliers.
(vii) Severe competition – Women entrepreneurs’ faces severe competition severe competition for their products from male dominated industries. The organizational set-up is poor which is unable to pump the required funds at right time. Moreover a lot of capital is required for regular advertisement of the product to withstand in the market.
(viii) No risk bearing capacity – The most important pre-requisite for success in entrepreneurship is the risk bearing capacity. All throughout her life-time she has led protected life dominated by the family members namely her parents, elder members in the family and after marriage her husband and in-laws. Hence at no time has she faced the risk of life alone. She therefore lacks the risk-bearing capacity and without the risk-bearing she cannot become a successful entrepreneur.
(ix) Too much dependence on middlemen – The women entrepreneurs are mostly dependent on middlemen who take the major share of the profits. It may be possible for the women to eliminate these intermediaries, but then it will necessitate a lot of running about, which may be difficult for the women entrepreneurs.
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs
1. Subordinate to men.
2. Lack of suitable environment for promotion of entrepreneurship.
3. Lack of confidence to start their venture.
4. Dual role to play at workplace and at home place.
5. Not awareness of facilities provided by government.
6. Competition with large scale units.
7. Problems related to marketing.
8. Social pressure and attitude of doubting a women’s capability and restricting her freedom of movement.
9. Close scrutiny by financial institutions.
10. Inadequate involvement of financial and other agencies to assist women.
11. Other problem includes religious and social taboos, conservative attitude of society, health problems, procurement of loans etc.
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs – In Recent Days
The constraints in Indian women, mainly arise out of socio cultural factors. Women entrepreneurship encounters many problems in their efforts to develop the enterprise. They have established apart from the trait assumption that women are indecisive.
Therefore, the main problem faced by women entrepreneurs in recent days are given below:
1. It is a real fact that lack of awareness hinders women entrepreneurship. There are number of factors such as illiteracy, ignorance, lack of proper propaganda by agencies, corruption among govt., functionaries etc. responsible for this problem.
2. The owner may need to move to various places often to gain knowledge and to get things done. But in the rural as well as urban area, the women are prohibited to move to long distances. This immobility creates an obstacle to the way of women entrepreneurship.
3. In the practical society, men still dominate over women in all walks of life. The Indian culture traditional value system and writings like manuscript, vedas and other literatures do not allow to go out of the family to take any jobs or to get professional trainings.
4. It is well known that women do not derive any assets from their parents because they are not willing to ask for the property rights and in the husband family also, they have no property in their names. They also face a lot of problems to avail any benefit from the financial institutions. This effects on the women entrepreneurship very much.
5. Illiteracy or low level of education is another important barrier to the entry of women in the entrepreneurship sector, because it creates many other problems to the entrepreneurs.
6. Women do not find time to think of their individual economic freedom because they have spent seven to 10 hours or more, daily for their household responsibilities.
7. A number of schemes and programmes have been introduced and implemented for enhancing socio-economic activities, participation of women at various levels. But these provision and facilities are unknown to majority of women who are living in rural areas. The better informed people do not come forward to start self-employment and to climb up to economic ladder.
8. Some other problems such as low ability to bear risk, absence of ambition for the achievement of goal inefficient arrangements, scarcity of raw materials, high cost of production etc. are commonly mentioned by women entrepreneur.
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs
One of the reasons for women not taking to entrepreneurship in a big way is the initial hesitation and inhibition, both at family level, social level and also due to the traditional perceptions of the woman’s role. Moreover, like any other entrepreneur, any first generation woman entrepreneur has to compete in the business against those already well-established as market forces do not see the face or sex of the entrepreneurs, but only their skills.
The following are some of the critical constraints which prevent aspiring women entrepreneurs from becoming actual entrepreneurs:
1. Lack of confidence and motivation.
2. Lack of knowledge about business opportunities.
3. Lack of information regarding how to go about formulating a business plan including market survey.
4. Lack of information about procedures and resources of assistance including finance.
5. Lack of knowledge about how to manage one’s own enterprise. While running enterprises, it has been seen that women entrepreneurs are generally less aggressive than their male counterparts and often business decisions are taken at an emotional rather than practical level.
6. Lack of experience or business background. Women generally take a long time in deciding their project. More so in the Indian society, where a project choice has to be cleared by family members also. Since fewer women in our society go in for technical education and employment, women tend to take up less technologically-savvy projects for their ventures.
7. Women find it very difficult to raise loans for their projects. Although financial institutions are slowly responding to the credit requirement of women entrepreneurs, lenders initially hesitated in lending them money as they are considered novices for whom business itself is a new experience.
8. Mobility is generally restricted in the case of women compared to men.
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs – External Problems and Problems Specific to Women
Female entrepreneurship/enterprises/ventures need not be run by females only but only the ownership should largely be in their hands. Female entrepreneurs face problems of two kinds. One where there exists problems of general nature i.e. problems faced by all entrepreneurs and second the problems specific to the women entrepreneurs only.
1. External Problems:
General problems refers to the difficulties faced by all entrepreneurs which includes:
a. Raw material problems
b. Marketing problems
c. Finance problems
d. Infrastructural problems
e. Skilled manpower problems
f. Promotional procedures problems being delayed
g. Difficulties in availing of government concessions and subsidies.
2. Problems Specific to Women:
a. Lack of education.
b. Lack of economic independence and autonomy.
c. Lack of risk bearing capacity.
d. Competition with male entrepreneurs.
e. Lack of business information and experience.
f. Family problems and involvement in family affair.
g. Lack of viable concept.
h. Status and society to certain vocations.
i. Under representation research and development facilities which do not provide them innovations.
j. Lack of confidence.
k. Female can become entrepreneurs after their marriages. They are not given support by techno-financial agencies which demand male guarantor.
l. They are not involved in their business directly but some male member is responsible for performance of various activities for them.
m. Male hostility problems also exist. Sometimes males do not want to get orders from females or do not want females to acquire dominance over them. Females do not dare to work in illegal conditions which males can tackle very well. For this, female many a time hire males to perform their jobs.
n. Females suffer from immobilities. They set up ventures only where they have their family set-up. They get affected by encouraged worker effect, where the women provide services as the total earning of a family needs to increase either in inflation or deflation conditions. The other is discouraged worker effect where the women are housewives and do not work, as the family bears a handsome earning.
o. Women are not able to form self-help group easily.
Problems of Women Entrepreneurs
Women entrepreneurs encounter two sets of problems, viz., general problems of entrepreneurs and problems specific to women entrepreneurs. The problems and constraints experienced by women entrepreneurs have resulted in restricting the expansion of women entrepreneurship.
The major barriers encountered by women entrepreneurs are as follows:
1. Problem of Access to Finance:
Women entrepreneurs are lacking access to institutional finance because of three reasons:
(i) Women do not generally have property on their names to use them as collateral security for obtaining funds from external sources. Thus, their access to the external source of funds is limited.
(ii) Banks also consider women less credit-worthy and discourage women entrepreneurs on the belief that they can at any time leave their business, and
(iii) The family members have little confidence in the capability of women to run a business.
Given such a situation, women entrepreneurs are bound to rely on their own savings, if any, and loans from friends and relatives which are expectedly meagre and negligible. Thus, most of the women enterprises suffer from sickness due to lack of financing.
2. Limited Mobility:
Unlike men, women mobility or travelling from place to place in India is limited due to various reasons.
3. Family Ties:
In India, it is mainly a women’s duty to look after the children and other members of the family. Her involvement in family leaves little energy and time to devote for business. Married women entrepreneurs have to make a fine balance between business and home.
Their success in this regard also depends upon supporting husband and family. Without the support and approval of husband, the female entrepreneurs cannot succeed. There arises a role conflict in many women entrepreneurs.
4. Male-Dominated Society:
An Important barrier to the empowerment of women through enterprise is male chauvinism. Prevalent socio-cultural attitudes and beliefs are not conducive to the blossoming of women as entrepreneurs.
Male child is still preferred than female child right from birth. Constitution of India speaks about equality of sexes, but till today women are considered as weak in all respects. This consideration acts as a stumbling block in their strife for equal status with men in the pursuit of economic activity.
5. Family Conflicts:
Women entrepreneurs also face the conflict of performing home role as they are not available to spend enough time with their families. They spend long hours in business and as a result, they find it difficult to meet the demands of their family members and society as well. Their inability to attend to domestic work, time, children’s education, personal hobbies, entertainment adds to their conflicts.
6. Role Conflict:
Entrepreneurship needs a high level commitment, devotion and dedication. Women taking on the mantle of entrepreneurship suffer from stress and strain caused by role over load and role conflict as they strive simultaneously to cope with their multiple role as being a mother, wife, homemaker etc.
7. Lack of Education:
The greatest barrier of entrepreneurial career among women is the lack of education. In India, Illiteracy is the major problem of socio-economic backwardness. Due to lack of education, majority of women are unaware of business, technological developments, marketing knowledge, etc. Lack of information and experience creates further problems in the setting up of running of business enterprises.
8. Discrimination in Upbringing:
Right from early childhood, a girl child is taught not to be aggressive or independent. They are discouraged to move out of the family and take up their business. Conservative attitude of the family members makes the women weak and passive in their approach. Decisions are taken for them by others.
9. Low Need for Achievement:
Need for achievement, independence and autonomy are the pre-requisites for success in entrepreneurship. But women are proud to bask in the glory of their parents, husbands, children’s, etc. Their preconceived notions about their role in life inhibit achievement and independence. In the absence of the required urge to achieve, few women succeed as entrepreneurs.
10. Low Risk-Bearing Ability:
Women in India lead a protected life and they are confined to the four walls of the house. They are less educated and economically not self-dependent. Sometimes, they face discrimination in the selection for entrepreneurial development training. Some of them lack entrepreneurial initiative or specialised training. All these reduce their ability to bear risk involved in running an enterprise.
Other problems and constraints faced by women entrepreneurs are:
a) Negative attitude of banks and financial institutions.
b) Lack of working capital.
c) Lack of managerial efficiency.
d) Lack of Access to Advanced Technology.
e) Red Tapism.
f) Lack of business experience.
g) Scarcity of raw materials.
h) Inefficient arrangement for marketing and sale.
i) Lack of information.
j) Inadequate infrastructural facilities,
k) High cost of production.
l) Stiff competition,
m) Lack of training.
n) Other social and economic constraints.
In order to promote women entrepreneurship, the following measures have to be made at different levels of the economy:
1. Vocational Education:
The first measure would be to provide education, particularly vocational and technical education to girls. The curriculum should be restructured to include accountancy, management, computer science, small scale industry, entrepreneurial development etc.
2. Entrepreneurial Motivation at School Level:
The girls at the school level should be inspired to adopt entrepreneurship. Generally, women dream to become job seekers rather than job makers. To motivate the women, a coordinated effort should be made among the educational institutions, government departments and the business world.
3. Accessibility to Information:
All possible access to information should be provided for women entrepreneurs. Government agencies, association of women entrepreneurs, NGO’s and universities should assume responsibilities in this regard.
4. Separate Publication:
Separate publication should be brought out and distributed to women entrepreneurs on subsided rate in order to create awareness and encourage them to avail of the benefits offered to them. Media should be used to give maximum information for promoting the cause of women entrepreneurs.
5. Access to Technology:
Access to technology is low for women entrepreneurs. Due to lack of finance and information they cannot have proper tools and equipments to improve the products.
6. Simple Formalities:
Efforts should be made to simplify the procedures, formalities, rules and regulation etc., in matters regarding registration and getting assistance from different departments and government agencies.
7. 100% Finance:
Banks and financial institutions should offer 100% loans without collateral security to qualified technocrats. Similarly term loans and working capital loans should be sanctioned liberally on different terms.