The term “women entrepreneur” deals with that section of the female population who venture out into industrial activities i.e. manufacturing, assembling, job works, repairs/servicing and other businesses.

Women entrepreneurs may be defined as the women or a group of women who initiate, organise and operate a business enterprise. Women are expected to innovate, imitate or adopt an economic activity to be called women entrepreneurs.

The Government of India has treated women entrepreneurs of a different criteria-level of women participation in equity and employment position of the enterprise.

As such “women entrepreneurs is defined as an enterprise owned and controlled by a woman having a minimum financial interest of 51 per cent of the capital and giving at least 51 per cent of the employment generated in the enterprise to women.”


Thus, on the basis of above definitions we can say that women entrepreneurs are those entrepreneurs who have taken initiative in promoting and running an enterprise by having a controlling interest in that particular enterprise.

Learn about:-

1. Introduction to Women Entrepreneurs 2. Definitions and Meaning of Women Entrepreneurs 3. Nature 4. Concept 5. Characteristics

6. Essentials 7. Factors Influencing 8. Qualities.  9. Types 10. Functions 11. Profile 12. Comparison between Male and Female Entrepreneurs


13. Training and Opportunities 14. Promotion 15. Problems 16. Suggestions for Growth 17. Development 18. Future.

Women Entrepreneurs: Introduction, Qualities, Types, Functions and Problems 

Women Entrepreneurs – Introduction

The emergence of entrepreneurs in a society depends to a great extent, on the economic, social, religious, cultural and psychological factors prevailing in the society. In the advanced countries of the world, there is a phenomenal increase in the number of self-employed women after the World War II. In the U.S., women own 25 per cent of all businesses, even though their sales on an average are less, than two-fifths of those of other small businesses.

In Canada, one-third of small businesses are owned by women and in France it is one-fifth. In the U.K., since 1980, the number of self-employed women has increased three times as fast as the number of self-employed men.

Women are no longer confined to the hearth and home. The entrepreneurial capacity of women has made a mark in many areas and women have entered the industrial segment, too. It is time to foster and harness the entrepreneurship of women in a big way.


According to the second census of small-scale industries, women entrepreneurs accounted for 7.7 per cent of the total small-scale enterprises in India. Though their share is less than 10 per cent, the heartening feature is that it is steadily increasing.

A stage is set for social take-off for women from a low development path to an accelerated pace is achieving a higher level of self-sustaining economic growth. Women entrepreneurs have to graduate from a state of dependence of subsidies/concessions to that of seizing opportunities as they emerge in an open and competitive modern economy.

Women are now more cognisant about their existence, roles and rights. Women entrepreneurs are those who explore new paths of economic involvement and contribution. Women entrepreneurs have been making a significant impact in all segments of the economy in Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Australia and the United States. The areas chosen by women are retail trade, restaurants, and hotels, education, cultural, cleaning, insurance and manufacturing.

They have made their mark in business for the following reasons:


(i) They want new challenges and opportunities for self-fulfillment.

(ii) They want to prove their mettle in innovative and competitive jobs.

(iii) They want the change to control the balance between their family responsibilities and their business lives. Dina Lavoie, a Professor of Entrepreneurship, Montreal observes that, “women business owners hire an average of two or three employees, whereas men are more likely to have nine employees or more. Often, a micro-business fits a woman’s lifestyle. Expansion might mean a loss of control or disruption in the amount of time she invests in other facets of her life. She may also want to oversee and control every aspect of her life. She may also want to oversee and control every aspect of her business and may feel she will lose that opportunity if she grows to the point where she cannot.”

Women constitute around half of the total world population so is in India also. They are therefore, regarded as the better half of the society. In the traditional Indian society, a distinction was made between ‘men’s work and ‘women’s work, particularly that of the women with family responsibility.


It curtailed employment opportunity for women in conventional and unconventional fields of economic activity with changing times and societal ideologies; there is drastic change in the conditions of women. They are now enjoying an equal status with men and are equally contributing towards the growth of economy.

Women entrepreneurs are the key players in any developed country particularly in terms of their contribution to the economic development. In recent years, even among the developing countries women’s role in terms of their share in small business has been increasing. Women entrepreneur movement has taken off the ground and it is felt the movement has gained momentum and is in the transition period.

According to a study on women entrepreneurship conducted by IIT, Delhi, Indian women have desires and also aspire to enter and succeed in all fields at par with men. But in spite of their aspirations, they are far behind than women entrepreneurs of other countries like Japan and China. One of the main reasons for such state of affairs is that women in India have been quoted as the second sex.

Today, in the changed scenario women have been performing exceedingly well in different spheres of activities like academics, politics, administration, social work and so on. Now, there is growing awareness among women that entrepreneurship opens up a new field for them and they can achieve their cherished profession which has independence and self-support.


Based on the general concept of entrepreneur, women entrepreneur may be defined as – ‘a woman or group of women who initiate, organize and run a business enterprise’.

According to Schumpeter, women who innovate, imitate or adopt a business activity are called “Women entrepreneurs”.

Women Entrepreneurs – Definitions and Meaning

Definition of Woman-Entrepreneurs:

According to GOI, “An enterprise owned and controlled by a woman having a minimum financial interest of 51% of the capital and giving at least 51% of the employment generated in the enterprise to women.”


According to Kamal Singh, “A women entrepreneur can be defined as a confident, innovative and creative women capable of achieving self-economic independence individually or in collaboration, generates employment opportunities for others through initiating, establishing and running the enterprise by keeping pace with her personal, family and social life.”

According to Ruhani J. Alice, “Women entrepreneurship is based on women participation in equity and employment of a business enterprise.”

Thus, women entrepreneurs are those who think of business enterprise, initiate it, organize and combine the factors of production, operate the enterprise, undertake risks and handle economic uncertainty by having a controlling interest in that particular enterprise.

Why Women become Entrepreneurs?

Many studies indicate that women start businesses for fundamentally different reasons than their male counterparts. While men start businesses primarily for growth opportunities and profit potential, women most often found businesses in order to meet personal goals, such as gaining feelings of achievement and accomplishment.

In many instances, women consider financial success as an external confirmation of their ability rather than as a primary goal or motivation to start a business, although millions of women entrepreneurs will grant that financial profitability is important in its own right.


Women also tend to start businesses about ten years later than men, on average. Motherhood, lack of management experience, and traditional socialization has all been cited as reasons for delayed entry into entrepreneurial careers. Many women start a business due to some traumatic event, such as divorce, discrimination due to pregnancy or the corporate glass ceiling, the health of a family member or economic reasons such as a layoff.

But a new talent pool of women entrepreneurs is forming today, as more women opt to leave corporate America to chart their own destinies. These women have developed financial expertise and bring experience in manufacturing or nontraditional fields. As a result, the concentration of women business owners in the retail and service sectors and in traditional industries such as cosmetics, food, fashion and personal care is slowly changing.

Based on the general concept of entrepreneur, women entrepreneurs may be defined as “a woman or group of women who initiate, organize and run a business enterprise”.

The Government of India has defined women entrepreneurs based on women participation in equity (control) and employment of a business enterprise. Accordingly to its opinion, a women entrepreneur is defined as “an enterprise owned and controlled by a women having a minimum financial interest of 51 percent of the capital and giving at least 51 percent of the employment generated in the enterprise to women.”

This definition has been criticized by many personalities on the ground of giving employment to more than 50 percent to women only.

In the modern era of globalization and liberalization, a revolutionized method has been invited in our country with which the women population is being given more importance. Due to constant increase in the cost of living, it has become essential for women to engage themselves in economic activities to stand as a support to their families.


They have proved themselves in not only various job areas but have also taken a bold step of invading the forbidden land of entrepreneurship. Women have been acting as true entrepreneurs, taking risks, managing resources and accepting challenges to gain economic independence and establish their strong position in the society.

Some facts about Status of Women in the area of entrepreneurship:

i. Women won one-third of small business in USA and Canada.

ii. Women make for 40 percent of total work force in Asian Countries.

iii. In China, women outnumber men by at least two times when it comes to starting business there.

iv. Women have desires and also aspire to enter and succeed in all fields at par with men.

Women Entrepreneurs – Nature of Women Entrepreneurs

The term “women entrepreneur” deals with that section of the female population who venture out into industrial activities i.e. manufacturing, assembling, job works, repairs/servicing and other businesses.


Women entrepreneurs may be defined as the women or a group of women who initiate, organise and operate a business enterprise. Women are expected to innovate, imitate or adopt an economic activity to be called women entrepreneurs.

The Government of India has treated women entrepreneurs of a different criteria-level of women participation in equity and employment position of the enterprise. As such “women entrepreneurs is defined as an enterprise owned and controlled by a woman having a minimum financial interest of 51 per cent of the capital and giving at least 51 per cent of the employment generated in the enterprise to women.”

Thus, on the basis of above definitions we can say that women entrepreneurs are those entrepreneurs who have taken initiative in promoting and running an enterprise by having a controlling interest in that particular enterprise.

Women Entrepreneurs’ Enterprise, as defined for the first time in 1988, laid down that an enterprise owned and administered by a woman entrepreneur with a minimum financial interest of 51 per cent in the share capital and giving at least 50 per cent employment to women would be treated as Women’s Enterprise.

The investment ceilings were kept at par with the limits specified in 1985 for other units, i.e. upto Rs.35 lakh for SSI units and upto Rs. 45 lakh for ancillaries. This definition was revised in August 1991, by dispensing with the employment criterion for women workers.


Currently, the women’s Enterprise is defined as 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 individually or jointly have a share of capital of not less than 51 per cent as partners/shareholders/ directors of private limited companies/members of cooperative societies.

Women Entrepreneurs – Concept

Women entrepreneurs may be defined as the women or a group of women who initiate, organise and run a business enterprise. According to Schumpeter, “Women who innovate, imitate or adopt a business activity are called women entrepreneurs.” According to the Government of India, a woman entrepreneur is defined as “an enterprise owned and controlled by a woman and having a minimum financial interest of 51 percent of the capital and giving atleast 51 percent of the employment generated in the enterprise to women.”

But this definition is opposed by the women entrepreneurs because of the imposition of the condition of employing more than 50 percent women workers. They point out that this condition is discriminatory. They argue that the enterprises set up by women should be provided with incentives and support on the basis of their ownership and management characteristics and not on the basis of employment of women.

In a nutshell, we may state that women entrepreneurs are those women, who thinks of a business enterprise, initiate it, organise and combine the various factors of production, operate the enterprise and undertake risks and handle economic uncertainties involved in running a business enterprise.

“An enterprise owned and controlled by a women having a minimum financial interest of 51% of capital and giving at least 51% of the employment generated by the enterprise to women.” – Government of India According to Kamala Singh, A women entrepreneur is a confident, innovative and creative woman capable of achieving economic independence individually or in collaboration generates employment opportunities for others through initiating establishing and running an enterprise by keeping pace with her personal, family and social life.

In the words of Former President APJ Abdul Kalam “empowering women is a prerequisite for creating a good nation, when women are empowered, society with stability is assured.” Pandit Jawaharlal Lai Nehru has remarked “When women move forward, the family moves, the village moves and the Nation moves.”


Women Entrepreneurs have been making a significant impact in all segments of economy of the world. Their willingness for the future is apparent in their growing confidence, in their strengths and in their desire to seek different forms of work in order to achieve a new balance between work and home.

Thus a women entrepreneur is one who starts business and manages it independently and tactfully takes all the risks, accepts challenging role to meet her personal needs and become economically independent. A strong desire to do something positive is an inbuilt quality of entrepreneurial women, who is capable contributing values in both family and social life and is one who faces the challenges boldly with an iron, will to succeed.

Women Entrepreneurs – Characteristics of Women Entrepreneurs in Business 

All Women entrepreneurs who have achieved noteworthy success have developed the below characteristics for a very simple reason these characteristics are among those that are absolutely critical for long-term success and business growth –

1. Courage is the first characteristic. It takes courage to start your own business. While everyone may have opportunities, it is only those who are brave enough to capitalize on those opportunities that are able to profit from them. Being an entrepreneur offers no guarantee of success, and therefore it requires a certain degree of courage.

2. Vision is another necessary quality of a successful woman entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are visionary thinkers. They look outside the box. They perceive the world in terms of what isn’t rather than what is.

3. Passion is a characteristic that is found in just about every woman entrepreneur’s tool box. The beginning stages of business development and ownership can often be tedious, involving many long hours and some sleepless nights. When business ownership is motivated and backed by passion and a real strong burning desire; then the entrepreneur does not perceive obstacles as problems but rather as opportunities.

4. Persistence is probably the most important characteristics of all. Many people never stick with any one thing long enough to see any results. Persistence is something displayed by all those who achieve great things and this is a quality that we all can develop over time.

It is also about maintaining that discipline that comes with persistence through the least fun parts of running a business.

5. Balance is important for ensuring that you do not take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

As a woman entrepreneur, you must to be able to balance these characteristics, obtain the most from them without going over the edge. Just as an entrepreneur does not have a boss to keep her at work when necessary, she-doesn’t have one to send her home when she is done. If you working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life.

6. Become known as an expert is critical for any entrepreneur. It only stands to reason that the more you become known for your expertise in your field, the more people will seek you out to tap into your expertise thereby creating more selling and referral opportunities.

Women Entrepreneurs – Essentials

Female entrepreneurs must fulfill conditions like:

1. They should be educated and skillful.

2. Must have professional education to become better entrepreneur.

3. She should be capable enough to do innovations and be able to bear risks and uncertainties.

4. Able to make utilisation of various schemes, and aids given by government.

5. She should be capable enough to face male competitors and should possess guts to move ahead.

6. She should be capable enough to make autonomous investment.

7. She must possess some ethics and egoism and should be egotist as well.

Women Entrepreneurs – Factors Influencing: Motivational and Facilitating Factors

Women set up an enterprise due to economic and non-economic reasons as well.

Various important reasons can be due to:

1. Motivational factors, and

2. Facilitating factors.

1. Motivational Factors:

a) Economic necessity.

b) Economic independence.

c) Self-actualisation.

d) Establishing their own creativity.

e) Establishing their own identity.

f) Equal status in society.

g) Achievement excellence.

h) Education and qualification.

i) Building self-confidence.

j) Developing risk-taking ability.

k) Employment generation.

l) Family occupation.

m) Greater freedom and mobility.

n) Government policies and programmes.

o) Role model to others.

2. Facilitating Factors:

a) Adequate financial facilities.

b) Innovative thinking.

c) Self-satisfaction.

d) Co-operation of family.

e) Network of contacts.

f) Experienced and skilled people at work.

g) Support of family members.

Women Entrepreneurs – Qualities of Women Entrepreneurs

The important qualities of women entrepreneurs are:

1. Positive Attitude:

There’s no energy that can mimic what’s released when a positive, high-stepping woman enters a room. A positive attitude is the fuel needed to drive us from idea conception to realization.

A positive attitude takes conscious effort on your part. Arrest negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Listen to the things you’re saying to yourself in your mind. Deliberately use words that focus on constructive, affirming truths about you. To help you stay positive, surround yourself with people who’ll encourage, inspire and believe in you. If you have a positive attitude, you’ll be able to see the potential that lies within you.

2. Vision: 

The female entrepreneur is a big-picture person. She can see her successful business, what it looks like with all of its components. She can see her product on the shelves, her services in action. She is not only afraid to dream big, but views her daydreams as achievable.

3. Autonomy:

This woman likes to be in control and isn’t afraid to make decisions by herself. She is comfortable with being alone and has confidence in her intelligence. She is a take-charge person. This woman doesn’t wait for someone else to act and doesn’t second guess her choices.

4. Intuitive: 

The woman entrepreneur trusts her instincts about her product or service, the market and her business management skills. She uses her instinct as well as her research and her knowledge to guide her business decisions. She knows that her instincts will be what sets her apart from her competitors and will ultimately lead to her success.

5. Distinctive:

People remember this woman. She is distinctive. Her product or service is distinctive and her company is a stand-alone. There is nothing ordinary here.

6. Planner:

This woman not only devises and puts down on paper her business plan, she follows it. She doesn’t lose sight of her goals or methods for reaching her goals. When she reaches a fork in the road, she might explore the alternate route and add it to her business plan. However, she never forgets her vision. Her business plan is the written version of the vision she sees in her mind.

7. Risk-Taker:

Starting a business isn’t the first time this woman has thrown the dice. She isn’t afraid to bet everything on herself. She has been known to jump before.

8. Drive:

Failure is not an option for the committed entrepreneur. Bumps in the road will not set her back, but will steel her resolve. She is on a mission and knows she will get to her goal.

Leadership Qualities:

Some of the outstanding leadership qualities of women entrepreneurs are:

i. Accept challenges

ii. Adventurous

iii. Ambitious

iv. Conscious

v. Drive

vi. Educated

vii. Enthusiastic

viii. Determination to the end

ix. Hard work

x. Keenness to learn and imbibe

xi. Patience

xii. Experienced

xiii. Industrious

xiv. Intelligent

xv. Motivator

xvi. Skillful

xvii. Perseverance

xviii. Studious

xix. Unquenchable optimism.

The basic problem a woman has is that she is a woman, weaker sex. Added to that, her twin responsibility she has is towards family, society and work. If joint families break, many women do not have support of elders. They still suffer from male reservations about a woman’s role and capacity. Women in the rural areas are mostly engaged in low paid, back breaking agricultural activities or act as helpers in handicrafts.

It is felt that if a skill is imparted to a girl, it is wasted because when she gets married, she takes away the skill with her. Social attitude keeps women away from it both in urban and rural areas.

Even the government and licensing authorities ask women many a times a number of questions doubting their capacity of managing the business. For marketing, women have to be at the mercy of the middlemen who will eat away a big chunk of their profit. Though women entrepreneurs are sincere in maintaining the quality and time schedule, the tendency is always to ask questions pertaining to the quality of the product produced by them.

Women Entrepreneurs – Types

According to gender and age, the entrepreneurs are grouped as:

i. Men Entrepreneurs

ii. Women Entrepreneurs

These are again subdivided into three classes:

i. Young

ii. Old

iii. Middle aged

Hence women entrepreneurs are of three types:

i. Young

ii. Middle aged

iii. Old.

Women Entrepreneurs – Functions

Like a male entrepreneur, a woman entrepreneur performs different functions of different nature.

Some of them are:

i. Generating New business ideas

ii. Exploring the prospects of starting new enterprises

iii. Undertaking risks and handling of economic uncertain tic

iv. Employment generation

v. Introducing new ideas of innovation

vi. Support to family’s income

vii. Overall economic growth

viii. Balanced regional development

Women Entrepreneurs – Profile of Women Entrepreneurs in India

Entrepreneurship among women has been a matter of recent concern. In India, men generally take the lead in the entrepreneurial world. With the change of time as well as cultural norms and increase in literacy, women are increasingly entering the field of entrepreneurship. There has been a significant growth in female self-employment with women starting new ventures at a faster pace.

The myth that women lack entrepreneurship or entrepreneurial motivation has been exploded. What they lack is not innate will and inclination nor motivation but the supportive climate where their motives to excel is charged, their vision for action sharpened. The hidden entrepreneurial potential of women has gradually been changing with the sensitivity to their role and economic status in the society.

Women entrepreneurs represent a group of women who have broken away from beaten track and are exploring new ventures of economic participation. Women look at entrepreneurship from a different perspective depending upon their education. The women who have higher educational qualifications are looking at it as a challenge, ambition and doing something fruitful while other women with moderate qualifications cannot think of it beyond a tool for earning money.

The factors that favour women in running organised industries are their skill, knowledge, their talents and abilities in business and compelling desires to do something positive. Although the characteristics of both men and women entrepreneurs are generally same, women entrepreneurs differ in terms of motivation, business skills and their occupational background. There is a difference in the factors, which propel men and women to become entrepreneurs.

Men are more often encouraged by their dissatisfaction with present goals, motivated by their drive to control their-destiny and an urge to make thing happen their way. As against this women are motivated by need to achieve arising out of job frustration that is caused by lack of growth opportunities. The need for achievement or excellence was present amongst the women on a relatively moderate pace as compared to the trend of entrepreneurs in general.

Women prefer to combine their need for excellence with emotional bond so that they can influence people around them and nurture the world they lived in. Thus they are found keen to strike a balance between their business and home life. The other important motives for women are flexibility and control over their work environment that allows them to fulfil the dual role of family and business.

The reasons of becoming an entrepreneur can be multifarious but establishing their creative idea along with a sense of economic independence is perceptible. As per a study by Dr. N. P. Singh and Ms. Rita Sen Gupta ‘Economic Gain’ is ranked as the reason of greatest importance followed by “keeping one self-busy”. ‘Fulfilment of own ambition’ ranked third followed by “want to become independent”.

A large number of women take to entrepreneurship at a later stage of their lives, after they are married and are having school going children. Their family expenses are increasing and at this stage of life it is difficult to start afresh in wage employment. Thus educated and dynamic women get motivated to start their own enterprises. Men and women have similar reasons for starting their business ventures. Both have some experience and strong interest in the area of their business.

For men, their business ventures often are an outgrowth or sideline of their existing occupation. Women on the other hand start their business because of high level of frustration with their existing jobs, outgrowth of a hobby or just an enthusiasm to start a new venture to supplement family earnings. They generally lack practical experience thereby making transition somewhat difficult.

The personalities of women are similar to those of male entrepreneurs. Researches and experiences have indicated that women entrepreneurs in comparison with men are not different in terms of their personality, cognition, achievement, motivation, dependency and other selected attitudes. However, women still needed a ‘pull’ and ‘push’ because they were still hesitant to put forth their ideas. Though, like men they are energetic, goal oriented and independent, yet they are more flexible and talented than men.

Without moral support of males or any other members of the family the venture seemed impossible. The married women get direct or indirect help from their husband. This help may be financial, physical or moral in nature. Hence more of married women start their ventures.

The bankers have greater confidence in financing a married lady. Behind every successful woman entrepreneur there is a likelihood of a man who would have paved the way either with money, business knowledge or moral support. Unlike men who have their own information sources, women entrepreneurs depend entirely on trade associates and women groups.

Most women start their business ventures at the age of 35-45, when they have settled in family life as against men who start their ventures at a younger age of 25-30 before they settle down for raising family. As per a study by NIESBUD, 75 percent, of women entrepreneurs were married at the time, of starting their enterprise. 58 percent of women were working and 33 percent of them were housewives, remaining were unmarried and unemployed.

There are no special businesses, which are more suitable for women entrepreneurs. Basically, women entrepreneurs are found in all types of business. However, they are more likely to start a business in service related areas such as retail, public relations or educational services and shy away from manufacturing and high tech ventures. As a result women enterprises are generally smaller with lower earnings.

Women Entrepreneurs – Comparison between Male and Female Entrepreneurs


1. Motivation:

i. Achievement strives to make things happen, personal independence, self-image as it relates to status through their role in the corporation is unimportant.

ii. Job satisfaction arising from the desire to be in control.

2. Departure Point:

i. Dissatisfaction with present job side line in college, sideline to present job, or outgrowth of present job

ii. Discharge or layoff

iii. Opportunity for acquisition.

3. Sources of Funds:

i. Personal assets and savings

ii. Bank financing

iii. Investors

iv. Loans from friends and family.

4. Occupational Background:

i. Experience in line of work

ii. Recognized specialist or one who has gained a high level of achievement in the field

iii. Competent in a variety of business functions.

5. Personality Characteristics:

i. Opinionated and persuasive

ii. Goal oriented

iii. Innovative and idealistic

iv. High level of self confidence

v. Enthusiastic and energetic

vi. Must be own boss.

6. Background:

i. Age when starting venture – 25-35

ii. Father was self-employed

iii. College educated-degree in business or technical area (usually engineering)

iv. Firstborn child.

7. Support Groups:

i. Friends, professional acquaintances (lawyers, accountants) Business associates

ii. Spouse.

8. Type of Business Started:

Manufacturing or construction


1. Motivation:

i. Achievement—accomplishment of a goal,

ii. Independence to do it alone.

2. Departure Point:

i. Job frustration

ii. Interest in and recognition of opportunity in the area

iii. Change in personal circumstances.

3. Sources of Funds:

i. Personal assets and savings

ii. Personal loans.

4. Occupational Background:

i. Experience in area of business

ii. Middle management or administrative level experience in the field

iii. Service related occupational background.

5. Personality Characteristics:

i. Flexible and tolerant

ii. Goal oriented

iii. Creative and realistic

iv. Medium level of self-confidence

v. Enthusiastic and energetic

vi. Ability to deal with the social and economic environment.

6. Background:

i. Age when starting venture – 35-45

ii. Father was self-employed

iii. College educated-degree in liberal arts

iv. Firstborn child.

7. Support Groups:

i. Close friends

ii. Spouse

iii. Family

iv. Women’s professional groups

v. Trade associations.

8. Type of Business Started:

Service related educational services, consulting or public relations.

Women Entrepreneurs – Growth and Development

Under the Seventh Five Year Plan, a special chapter covered Integration of Woman in Development.

In this regard the plan suggested:

(a) To treat women as specific in target groups in all development programmer.

(b) To properly diversity vocational training facilities for women to suit their varied needs and skills.

(c) To encourage appropriate technologies, equipment’s and practice for reducing their drudgery and increase their productivity for women to suit their varied needs and skills.

(d) To provide marketing assistance at the State level.

(e) To increase women’s participation in decision making. The new industrial policy of the Government of India has stressed the need for conducting special Entrepreneurship programmers for women. Product and process oriented course may be conducted to enable women to start small scale industries. The policy further add that the objective of such course should be as to give representation to women in the field of small industry development with a view to uplift their status in the economic and social fields.

The international agencies like UNCTAD, UNDP, ILO and the national government should adopt appropriate measures to encourage free flow of trade of products manufactured by women Entrepreneurs and provide fiscal and expert assistance to the government and other agencies engaged in promotion of Entrepreneurship among women.

In international and national trade fairs, the products manufactured by women Entrepreneurs should be widely displayed.

UNESCO and the education ministries in different countries should provide necessary literature, course books and publication for the benefit of women students.

International bodies have also paid attention to the economic problems of women. The UNIDO Preparatory Meeting on the Role of Women in, Industrialisation Developing Countries held at Vienna in November 1978 identified the following primary constraints upon women’s more effective participation social, attitudinal and institutional barriers; insufficient employment opportunities; inadequate and inappropriate education and training; unsatisfactory employment conditions and environment; lack of participation in decision- making and insufficient information.

The Secretary General, United nations, in his report on Status and Role of Women in Education and in the Economic and Social Field presented at the Thirty-fourth Session of United Nations General assembly pointed out that inadequate basic that education and insufficient appropriate professional technical and vocational training were the main obstacles to equal conditions of work and notably in attempting to combine employment with household and child care.

The World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women at Copenhagen. Denmark, at its 20th plenary meeting on July 30, 1980 adopted a programme of action for second half of the United Nations decade. The programme aimed at promoting full and equal opportunities and treatment of women in employment, equal remuneration for work of equal value and equal educational and training opportunities in both rural and urban areas.

The programme called for increased employment opportunities to enable women to obtain jobs involving more skills and responsibility, particularly at the managerial level in all sector of the economy and promoting the access of women and girls to non-traditional skilled trades.

Several institutional arrangements have been made to protect and develop women entrepreneurship. In the United States, Small Business Administration (SBA) established an office of Women’s Business Enterprise in 1980. This agency makes special efforts to assist. Women to get into business through its district and local offices. It offers courses in counseling and publication on everything from marketing to accounting, with specific on computing, selling, dry cleaning, fish farming etc.

In India the Federation of India Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), National Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (NAYE) and other voluntary agencies assist women Entrepreneurs. Under the Social Education Scheme of Community Development Programme. Mahila Samagams (Women’s groups) were organized and women’s Industrial cooperatives were set up in 1958. The Sixth Five Year Plan proposed for promoting female employment in women preferred industries.

The nationalized banks and State Financial Corporations advance loan to women Entrepreneurs on preferential basis. State Industrial Development Corporation and District Industries Centers provide loans, subsidies, and grants to small scale and women Entrepreneurs. State level agencies assist women Entrepreneurs in preparing project reports, buying machinery and building, training and hiring staff.

Women possess a futuristic outlook and the capacity to nurture new enterprise. What is needed is proper training, helpful attitude and facilities and assistance. In this connection. At present emphasis in women polytechnics is on traditional skills like embroidery; interior decoration, tailoring, knitting, etc. In addition to these, entrepreneurial skills in starting and running business units should be imparted to girls.

Many institutions are now imparting training under various schemes. But social attitudes keep young women away from these intuitions. Women are not allowed to go away from home or to neglect the family. Mobile training centers, part time training facilities during afternoons, transports facilities, stipend, etc. can overcome this problem.

In rural areas, women are already helping men in agriculture and agro-based industries. With little training they can set up industries independently. Women can ‘particularly enter’ food preservation, bakery, dairy, poultry, and forest based weaving and handloom areas of bus mess. In urban areas women can be assisted to set up ancillary units, maintenance and repair units in mechanical and electrical industries.

Role of Women Entrepreneurs Associations:

With the growth of women Entrepreneurs, a few associations of women Entrepreneurs have been set up both at international and national levels. The main purpose ‘of these associations is to create a congenial environment for developing women Entrepreneurship in rural urban areas.

These associations seek to achieve the following objectives:

(i) To provide a meeting ground for women Entrepreneurs;

(ii) To promote and develop feeling of unity and brotherhood among the Entrepreneurs;

(iii) To develop self-confidence and hope among female entrepreneurs;

(iv) To present the problems of women Entrepreneurs before the concerned authorities for consideration and redress;

(v) To secure various concessions, subsidies and assistance for women Entrepreneurs;

(vi) To conduct entrepreneurial development programmes for women.

Growth and Development of Women Entrepreneurship:

According to Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises women-owned enterprises accounted for just 10 per cent of the total 10.5 million enterprises in the country in 2001-02. It is, however, important to know that more than 85 per cent women entrepreneurs were operating as unregistered entities and apparently based in rural areas, perhaps an indication that they are income-generating activity for self/family. Women enterprises were concentrated in sectors with particular ease of entry and low returns.

This does not mean that women entrepreneurs are not in to quality products/services, but their number would be relatively small. This is borne out of the fact that the average investment in a MSE was only Rs. 1.47 lakh, as revealed by the Third Census of Small-scale Industries. Some category of woman informally takes up business activities like academic and non-academic coaching, fabric painting, making dresses, tailoring, etc., as part-time activities as well as to supplement family income.

The policy approach, however, has to make a distinction between ‘survivalist enterprises’ (poverty alleviation) and commercial ventures owned and proposed by ‘better off sections’ of women, since each require a specific treatment. In case of the former category, they have to strengthen so that they can continue to generate income for self/family on long-term basis, and, if possible, graduate to commercial venture level. Moreover, in respect of the other category, they need support in establishing and successfully managing/operating their enterprises, besides coping up with the fall-outs of globalization.

To help women take active participation in the economy via enterprises, both the categories need firstly improved access to finance. Although MSEs are part of priority sector lending, women entrepreneurs do not get any special facility. Policy makers can consider stipulating certain percentage of MSE lending to women-owned ones as is now available for tiny & cottage units and units with investment below a certain level to ease the problem.

Commercial banks also need to be impressed upon to be more considerate towards women entrepreneurs to build their confidence and make them more communicative. Further, Banks should consider adopting liberal attitude in extending loans to small service and trading enterprises as a vast majority of women entrepreneurs are apparently in these activities. As much as 50.09 lakh SHGs had savings of 3,785 crore with banks as on 31st, March, 2008, across the country, 80 per cent of which were exclusively women groups.

Women Entrepreneurs – Promotion of Women Entrepreneurs (With Steps)

The following steps to be taken to promote women entrepreneurs:

1. Women promotional organizations should establish specific strategies to promote women entrepreneurship. Those strategies should include counseling, mentoring, training and the development of new policies.

2. The Government should establish an infrastructure and programs that support women entrepreneurship.

3. The training institutions should launch a need based training program. They should include more topics on global environment challenges and offer more practical programs on marketing and financial management.

4. The programs in marketing management should be based on case studies and innovative skill development programs should be offered.

5. There should be special training cell for women entrepreneurs.

6. There is also a need for opening more training institutions catering to the needs of vast number of untrained women entrepreneurs.

7. The promotional and regulatory agencies should be motivated to be considerate, understanding and helpful towards women entrepreneurs.

8. Motivate new women entrepreneurs into this field through audio visual media.

9. Simplify the procedure of licensing and government regulations to start a new business enterprise

10. Banks and other financial institutions must provide credit to women entrepreneurs on both priority and concessional terms.

11. Women should be motivated to come out of their traditional occupation for accepting more challenging and economic activities.

12. Workshops and seminars should be organized frequently for the officials of financial and supporting agencies and for women entrepreneurs to make their relations more cordial.

Women are entering into entrepreneurship even in the face of socio-cultural, economic, technical, financial and managerial difficulties. Women entrepreneurship movement can gain momentum by providing encouragement, appropriate awareness, training, environment and support. This would definitely enhance their socio-economic status, a prerequisite for women’s empowerment

Industries promoted by women entrepreneurs are given below:

1. Agarbati manufacturing

2. Papad making

3. Embroidery

4. Handicrafts

5. Catering service

6. Running schools and tutorials

7. Beauty parlors

8. Working women hostels

9. Telephone booths

10. Photographic studios

11. Women hostel

12. Travel agencies.

To summarize, an integrated approach is necessary for making the movement of women entrepreneurship a success. In order to ensure that the development of women entrepreneur takes place as fast as possible, there is a need to set up apex bodies at all levels as to ensure fair gender economic life.

Women Entrepreneurs – Problems of Women Entrepreneurs in India

The problems of women entrepreneurs in India are:

i. Need for achievement, economic independence and autonomy are absent (held back by her own preconceived notions of her role in life)

ii. No risk bearing capacity (as dependency is more)

iii. Lack of education (literacy percentage is only 18.5)

iv. Family involvement (cannot be avoided)

v. Male dominated society (equal treatment still absent)

vi. Lack of information and experience

vii. Liquidity and easy availability of finance (only 11% of the total earnings are by women) –

a. Inadequate size of loans

b. Lack of experience in formulating bankable projects

c. Margin money requirement

d. Insistence on collateral

e. Time taken to process loans

f. Tight repayment schedule

g. Ignorance of banking procedure due to illiteracy

h. Lack of marketing, accounting and management skills leading to failure of projects and consequent inability to pay loans.

In spite of women cells, the problem of getting loans and aids from banks still persists. Women face discrimination. People including bankers and government officials find it difficult to take women seriously as entrepreneurs.

Women Entrepreneurs – Suggestions for Growth of Women Entrepreneurs (With Measures)

Empirical evidence shows that women contribute significantly to the running of family businesses mostly in the form of unpaid effort and skills. Their efforts and contribution is always undervalued. Even many of the enterprises defined as being run by women are in fact run in their names by men who control the operations and decision making.

Various programmes introduced by the government can succeed only if independence and mobility is not denied to women. Programmes started are bound to fall or succeed partially if taken up in isolation. Entrepreneurship basically implies being in control of one’s life and activities and women entrepreneur need to be given confidence, independence and mobility to come out of their paradoxes.

The following measures are suggested to empower the women to seize various opportunities and face challenges in business:

1. Change in Attitudes:

Promoting entrepreneurship for women requires reversal of traditional attitudes than the mere creation of jobs for women would. Societal change is not an overnight phenomenon; it is a gradual and slow process. Unless attitudes are changed, subsidies and credit allocation to women will not bring much change. The various programmes initiated by the government have to go beyond incentives and exemption to change social outlook, attitudes, group formation, training and other support services.

2. Training:

Training in entrepreneurial attitudes have to be imparted which should start right at the high school level through well designed courses which will instill confidence. Various case studies and behavioural games can be formed part of curriculum. In addition, practical knowledge can be imparted regarding financial management, cost accounting, preparation of project report and various legal aspects related to business.

The curriculum should be designed to give hands on experience of assessing the marketability of a commodity or a service. The syllabus should introduce this subject on a compulsory basis and should also be reviewed continuously on the basis of the feedback received.

3. Increase in Mobility:

The constraints on mobility should be released as mobility contributes to raise the confidence levels to an incredible extent. Girls should be compulsorily trained to learn cycling, play games, participate in extra-curricular activities and youth festivals and also trained to learn the techniques of self-defence (karate etc.)

4. Initiation into Professional Work:

Efforts made by the government to train the girls and to increase their mobility will turn out to be futile unless women are initiated into independent professional work. Families usually provide financial and emotional support to sons but don’t extend similar support to the daughters.

Parents and daughters together need to be convinced that the skills acquired in school and polytechnics could provide them with profitable occupations. In women’s institutes therefore, an additional year of training should be introduced where women are put to work in training-cum- production workshops, whose produce is sold and income earned. The training programmes should be viewed constantly and the spirit of entrepreneurship spread among women.

5. Self Recognition and Decision Making Authority:

Any programme started for women could be misused by those who are not entitled to the benefits. These individuals could exploit the programme by using the truly deserving beneficiaries, i.e., women, as fronts for their personal interests. This practice can be curbed only if women beneficiaries are induced to claim greater decision making authority in family businesses, whether run in their names or not.

This can come only from greater experience and motivation induced by greater knowledge and experience of dealing with external world and from moving with other successful women entrepreneurs.

The women must be pulled out of normal restrictive environment and should taught to recognise her own psychological needs and give her needs an expression. Women must be motivated to involve themselves actively in business being run in their names but actively driven by menfolk of their families. They should not be contended by just lending their names in the business and putting their signatures as and when required.

6. Provision of Amenities:

Infrastructure to set up industries is provided in the form of industrial plots and sheds. Apart from allotting units to women entrepreneurs on priority basis, it is desirable to provide amenities particularly required by them in industrial areas.

Following amenities can be arranged:

(i) Easy mobility and closeness to homes.

(ii) Child care facilities.

(iii) Regular bus service inside industrial areas.

(iv) Crèches for children.

(v) Allotment of sheds on priority basis.

Whenever sheds or land is allotted on priority basis or at concessional rates to women, the scope of misuse is higher than in the case of any other disadvantaged group. Therefore, the screening committee should take precautionary measures to evaluate whether the beneficiary is indeed going to be in full charge of the enterprise especially in case of allotments made for highly sought after areas. Rather training in running an enterprise from quality approved institutions should be insisted upon as a precondition for such priority allottees.

The same condition can be applied while granting special investment subsidies or other facilities being extended for women.

7. Inculcating Marketing Skills:

Women generally prefer to undertake those projects which ensure almost total marketing support. Women lack in confidence to seek out and develop markets and are usually short of time due to their family obligations. In many cases, they depend on the males of the family for marketing. Marketing requires mobility and confidence in dealing with the external world and women have been discouraged in both the requirements.

As a remedy to this ailment, the long term strategy should be to inculcate marketing skills in women entrepreneurs. Women should be equipped to conduct – (i) market survey to select the product, (ii) training and advice should be given to expose her enterprise to the market, (iii) In addition, professional marketing expertise should be provided to identify marketing channels for the products made by women entrepreneurs, and (iv) Industrial estates could also provide marketing outlets for the display and sale of products made by women.

A Women Entrepreneur’s Guidance cell has been set up by Karnataka State Financial Corporation (KSFC) to handle various problems of women entrepreneurs. The experiment has proved to be successful to familiarise the women with external world and has assisted women in their projects. Similar cells can be setup in the District Industrial Centres (DICs) and through Single Window Agencies.

8. Causes of Stagnation in Growth:

Women entrepreneurs usually suffer from stagnation in growth of their enterprise. The stagnation is caused due to various reasons like household responsibilities, lack of mobility, fear of expansion of business and staff, lack of self-confidence, fear of success, resentment and hostility from family etc. In addition, lack of managerial and technical skills also act as a barrier to the growth of women’s businesses.

Women entrepreneurs should also understand the need for constant training, development and counselling in order to cope up with advancement taking place in their respective enterprises. Women entrepreneurs can be counselled through NGOs, psychologists’ behavioural experts, managerial experts and technical persons so as to enable them to adopt appropriate strategies to full growth.

Women Entrepreneurs – Training and Opportunities

Training organisations have been advised to keep in mind the following:

1. In the pre-training component, the need for identification of industrial opportunities consistent with the knowledge, skills and personal background of trainees.

2. The facility for the training part could include women trainers so as to help participants to open up and discuss their problems freely.

3. Women trainees should be motivated to set up modern small-scale units, for example, in electronics, engineering, plastics and chemicals, rather than conventional female enterprises.

4. The extension services should be tailored to the special needs and problems of women entrepreneurs, such as the long lead time invariably required by them to complete procedural formalities, arranging finances and tying up marketing arrangements.

5. Apart from knowledge and skill inputs, demonstration of entrepreneurial initiative and exposure to actual industry operations through field visits should receive due weight.

6. Post-training escort services would be provided by the conducting agency till the projects taken up by women entrepreneurs reach their break-even stage.

The experience in conducting EDPs for women indicates that:

1. Though women have the same potential as men to succeed as entrepreneurs, they suffer from two distinct disadvantages as compared to men and these entitle them to some special considerations. The first is solely internal and therefore, within their control to improve – Bring forth their initial confidence in their own abilities. The other is the long lead time required to complete all legal and procedural formalities in view of the various restrictions on their mobility.

2. The majority of women entrepreneurs felt that discrimination was evident during the implementation stage but became less severe once the units were established.

3. While carrying out the market survey during their training and in marketing their products after they had started their enterprise, some women entrepreneurs had to face the discouraging attitude of tradition-bound traders.

4. Women coming from families in industrial and business activities could achieve success faster than most others. They easily assumed the role of independent decision-makers and had leadership qualities in the fullest measure.

5. Young unmarried women were not found suitable for our programme as the course of their future life was not in their hands. Compared to them, married women in the age of 30-45 were found to be more reliable as their responsibilities towards their family were clearly defined and were gradually lessening.

6. Today, 8 out of 10 working women forgo their careers for the sake of their family. We naturally do not expect women entrepreneurs to be free from this concern. We have seen that almost all successful women entrepreneurs had strong family support in the form of finance and business know-how, and enjoyed personal freedom. The family adjusted and rescheduled the normal house routine to suit them.

7. Generally, women are considered less aggressive and more emotional. Initially, they get involved in the business situation where a man would usually remain cool. But, with a little experience, they quickly learn to be tough and remain objective.

8. Their patience and gentleness make women sound personnel managers in small enterprises. They can generally understand the feelings of others and have a keen sense of justice and fairness.

Opportunities for Women in Semi-Urban Areas

Considering the socio-economic, cultural and educational status and the motivational of Women in semi- urban; particularly projects with low investments, low technical know-how and assured market are suggested for the Improvement opportunities identified for semi-urban women are enlisted below-

i. Production of liquid soap, soap power, detergents, deodorants etc.

ii. Office stationary like cushion pads, germ, ink pads etc.

iii. Convenience, readymade, instant food products including pickles, spices, papads etc.

iv. Community kitchens and communication services

v. Different types of training and coaching classes

vi. Child care centers and culture canters for children

vii. Nursery classes

viii. Manufacturing of leather goods

ix. Garments

Opportunities for Women in Rural Areas:

In the recent industrial policy, the government has given tremendous importance for the agro- based products-and allied products. Only one to two percent of the total production of fruitful and vegetables is processed every year in India. This reveals a huge scope for the food, fruit and vegetables processing industry.

Women have a natural flair and instinct for food preparation and processing. A new market is developed for the processed fruits and vegetables in form of baby foods, ice cream, convenience food cold drinks, and canned products traditional medicine preparations etc. Thus there are plenty of opportunities available for women entrepreneurs.

Women Entrepreneurs – Future

With the pace of new economic reforms in our country, there would be a widespread development of business and industry throughout the length and breadth of the country. Women entrepreneurs are bound to get the best scope in the country, provided they overcome certain constraint on their parts.

1. Most of the women do not have complete independence in taking a decision to start a business enterprise. They are influenced by the male members of the family.

2. Most of them do not have economic independence also, as a result of which she finds it difficult to raise funds for investment in business.

3. A woman in the family is not allowed to bear any business risks and she is always demotivated by the family members for starting any enterprise by mentioning to her that she might not get support from the outside environment in business. She is not trained at all to take any risks in her life.

4. Most of the women are not adequately educated. Given the percentage of literacy among women is below 15%, a woman is not allowed to learn more than other male members of the family. A woman does not get any opportunity to learn the advance knowledge of science and technology. As a result of which she does not know, in what area of business activity she should become manufacturer.

5. As a woman, she is generally discouraged from having a free inter­action with the members of the larger society, she does not get the exposure of the market opportunities that are available.

6. Most of the women get married at a very late age and then their bookish knowledge obtained by them from their schools and colleges becomes stale.

7. There is no positive and supportive environment in the family itself, as a result of which a woman does not have a courage to come out of her own moorings.

8. Normally in a backward or developing country, the Society is male dominated. If a woman is seen to be successful as enterpriser, people become jealous to her and try to create all kinds of problems for her. Even male subordinates and customers normally have a negative reaction towards her.

9. On account of her inability to get outside exposure, a woman hardly gets sufficient information regarding the avenues open for self-employment.

10. A woman is very often unaware of procedures and formalities to be followed for getting guidance including information regarding finance. The bankers are also sceptical about their enterprising ability while giving loans to her.

11. Women entrepreneurs all the world over, have experienced a hostile discrimination while they are doing business. The discouragement is tremendous when a woman starts a new enterprise.

12. Unmarried women find it more difficult to think of starting a business, since she is not sure, whether after her marriage her husband and other members of her family, would allow her to continue the business.

13. Woman suffers from certain inherent physical limitation. She cannot physically move frequently from one place to another. She cannot endeavour long hours of work. She may not be able to bear the tensions that prevails in business.

This situation discouraging the woman to become entrepreneur prevails almost all over the world. However, advanced countries have, in recent years, made some progress in allowing women to become enterprisers. Comparing all other undeveloped countries, India has also made reasonable progress in giving a scope to women to become enterprisers.