What is Women Entrepreneurship?
Women Entrepreneurship implies a process in which a female initiate, lead, own and organize an enterprise or industry and give employment to others and also contribute in improving the standard of living of their families.
When a woman legally owns and operates an enterprise, holding a minimum of 51% share capital and employs more than 51 percent of women, is a women-led enterprise and the initiative is women entrepreneurship.
Who is a Women Entrepreneur?
A women entrepreneur is one who is innovative, confident, financially independent women proficient in achieving self economic independence or in partnership, creates employment opportunities for the people, by promoting, setting up, and operating an enterprise, combining factors of production, undertake risks while keeping pace with personal and social life.
Factors Affecting Women Entrepreneurs
- Financial Independence
- Creating their own identity
- Achievement of excellence
- Developing risk-taking ability
- Freedom and mobility
- Equality in society
- Establishing their creativity
Function of Women Entrepreneur
Frederick Harris Harbison – an American Labor Economist introduced five functions of women entrepreneur which are stated hereunder:
- Exploring new opportunities for starting the business venture
- Undertaking risks and managing economic uncertainties related to the business.
- Introduction of innovation
- Coordination, administration, and control
- Supervision and leadership
Problems of Women Entrepreneurship
Lack of Confidence: Women usually doubt their own potential and capabilities, especially the ones who have been at home for years and so they are not too confident when it comes to their abilities and decision making. In general, our society also lacks confidence in a women’s strengths and competence.
Problem of Finance and Working Capital: One major problem that women entrepreneurs face is the problem of raising funds from banks and markets due to the unavailability of tangible security and credit. Also, they face problems in obtaining working capital for smooth functioning of the routine operations like the purchase of raw materials, payment of wages to workers, etc. Due to a lack of access to finance, women entrepreneurs are extremely vulnerable to competition and crisis.
Socio-cultural Barriers: A woman is always expected to perform her family duties leaving her career and education behind which limits the capabilities of the women. Even in many parts of the world, more priority is given to educating the male child rather than the female one. And due to a lack of primary education and vocational training, they lack technical skills and because of that, they lack awareness of the opportunities available to them.
Lack of encouragement from family: Even after a drastic change in the people’s mentality over the years. There are still people around us who do not support women of their own family in their work. And only a few women are lucky enough to get encouragement from their family to set up an enterprise. Women are expected to do all the household chores alone and look after the members of the family. And due to these reasons, women get very little time to undertake the entrepreneurial activity.
Indeed various studies have revealed that women who are born and brought up in families which are broad-minded and not restrictive tend to be independent, innovative, and competitive.
Low mobility: Due to socio-cultural barriers, women are less mobile in comparison to men, which also limits their capabilities. They have dual responsibility as to making a success of their enterprise while looking after their home and family, imposes restrictions on women.
Lack of Education: Illiteracy is the major reason for the socio-economic problems in the country. And due to a lack of quality education, most women lack business, technical and market knowledge due to which they lack the motivation to do or achieve something.
Competition: Women enterprises often struggle with stiff competition from the large organized industries and their male counterparts. They do not have an organizational set up to inject capital for its promotion and advertisement. And when these enterprises fail to survive in the market, this leads to the closure of the women enterprise.
Role Conflict: Being an entrepreneur is not easy, it requires commitment, dedication, focus, risk-bearing ability, and perseverance. Women entrepreneurs often suffer from stress, and tension as a result of role overload, because they have multiple roles to play at the same time like being a mother, wife, daughter, homemaker, etc. along with the entrepreneur.
Suggestions for Women Entrepreneurship Development
Encouragement and support, from the family, society, and the government are the two most important things that motivate women entrepreneurs. There are a number of schemes and programs which are started by the government to boost the morale of and provide financing to women entrepreneurs.
- Facilitating financial support to women and providing loans at low or zero interest, to motivate women.
- Government can run training programs for women, at nominal or no fees to train them regarding the operation of machinery and other equipments.
- Conferences, workshops, seminars, and webinars can be organized for encouraging women.
- Forums must be established where prospective women entrepreneurs can talk and chat with successful entrepreneurs and discuss their queries and share knowledge.
- Certain policies and rules are required to be made for women’s empowerment.
- Help desk, websites and support forums can help in getting instant help.
- Encouraging home-based businesses, so that women can effectively coordinate with household and entrepreneurial responsibilities.
- The loan procedure by banks and other governmental organizations needs to be simplified.
The empowerment of women by way of women entrepreneurship encompasses three main factors i.e. access to resources and market, majority ownership, and active control.
Here, it must be noted that the education of women entrepreneurs is important, however, the most important thing that they must possess is the basic knowledge of the language and entrepreneurial skills.
Women are the building block of the nation. For the economic development of the nation, women are the most important economic agents as they act as a catalyst of development. Also, when the women are educated and independent, the country prospers and progress.
At present, many ventures are run by women in various sectors. In fact, they need not look for employment outside their homes, as they can effectively commence and run the business and earn money while staying at home.