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Entrepreneurs are the people who have the courage to take the risks and make important engagements to get a new or an existing business going, where as a woman entrepreneur is someone who is willing to pass all the hurdles of economic uncertainity and society to create something new. Entrepreneurship is a global phenomenon that has been on boost since a quite a long time. Economic development of any country is not complete only by its physical resources but also by the proper advancement and application of its human resources as well. [Sherly Thomas (2011)]
Since entrepreneurship is simulates as gender-neutral and its definition has never been based on a particular gender, therefore it can be extended to females without any restrictions. Entry of women in an organized business or women starting a new business is quite a new phenomenon. In past, women were considered inappropriate for entrepreneurship because there was a general feeling that women lack confidence and organizational skills for starting a new venture. [Dr. Kumar Prabhakar (2012)] By entering into various professions and industries, women have proved themselves capable enough and to be on par to their men counterparts in businesses by breaking the constraints within the four walls of their houses. [G. Palaniappan, C. S. Ramanigopal, A. Mani (2012)]
For a country like India, its quite important to promote entrepreneurship and self-employment, since India is troubled by the twin problems; one of increasing unemployment and the other of growing population. [Dr. Chandrashekhar (2012)] The approach of women entrepreneurship in India is a recent sensation. For instance, according to Forbes (2012) "India is a great place for women entrepreneurs, business polling and studies tell you. Yet India is the worst place to be a woman, human rights studies inform you", and according to Dell Chairman (Global Emerging Markets) and President (Asia Pacific) Amit Midha "According to the study commissioned by Dell, we have found the ideal country for a woman starting a business in 2012 could well be India" [IBNLive (2012)]. In order to put their talents and capabilities to maximum use, women entrepreneurs should stay aware about the opportunities and chances available to them. In India, changing economic situations like liberalization and globalization have given women opportunities to become professional and take up jobs in order to secure a downright source of income. Even though women have played an important and distinctive role in Indian society but still their entrepreneurial skills have not been given enough consideration because of the lack of education, societal pressure, low status in society and mainly because of old traditional values. [Meenu Goyal, Jai Prakash (2011)]
Well established and wise firms try to put focus on 2 major problems for professional women in emerging economies; first, taking care of their aging parents and commuting. Many major companies make it flexible for their women employees to work from home. Ernst and Young, organizes family days in an attempt to show the parents what their daughters have achieved and also offer medical cover for parents. Many big companies in India, the UAE and Brazil provide services like late-night shuttle buses; female-only taxi companies etc. for their female staff members in order to avoid any inconveniences for them. [The Economist (2011)] In a nutshell, it is essential to broaden the role of women which is not only limited to her household responsibility. There are many areas which are unexplored where women can prove to be successful entrepreneurs. To understand why these barriers exist and how the motivations of individual female entrepreneurs are influenced by different social and economic contexts in which they start their business, requires constant scrutiny. The absence of adequate levels of such scrutiny in the Indian context provides the researcher with the opportunity to investigate critical issues about female entrepreneurship which could important implications for theory, policy and practice.
Textile Industry in India and scope for Women Entrepreneurs in the industry
Textile sector of India is one of the largest and is as old as world textile industry. The Indian technical textile industry offers vast opportunities for small and medium enterprises which plays an important role in Indian economy in terms of development, employment and growth. Small scale sector has enormous opportunities since it requires less capital, adding more to its benefits are factors like government support, reservation for exclusive manufacture by small scale sector & exclusive purchase by the government, finance & subsidies, raw material & machinery Procurement, manpower training, export promotion etc. [Uma Ramaswamy and Sarath Davala (1992)] Textile industry in India is also the only industry that has employed women since a very long time. Women have also enjoyed the benefits like sickness benefits, security of employment, bonus, etc. while working in this industry. The gender gap in wages in manufacturing industry is one of the main reasons of the differential distribution of male and female workers of different branches. Moreover, in India, from beginning garment manufacturing has always been one of the most women intensive sectors. But over the decades, women have been replaced by men in the mills and the reduction in women employment in textile sector has been quite abrupt. [Sherly Thomas (2011)]
Even after so many opportunities and options available for Indian women for their entrepreneurial ventures, there are various constraints such as; lack of confidence, motivational factors, market oriented risks, socio-cultural backgrounds, lack of awareness about financial assistance, administration knowledge & experience and lack of knowledge about available resources that stop women in India from becoming successful entrepreneurs. There is a need for encouragement for educated, technically sound and professionally qualified women to manage their own business, rather than depending on wage employment outlets. There is also a need to explore & identify the talents of young women for various types of industries in order to increase the productivity in the industrial sector. There is also a longing for a desirable environment for woman entrepreneurs in India to develop their entrepreneurial values and encourage them to involve more in business dealings. [Asghar Afshar Jahanshahi, Prof. Dr. Bairagi Kachardas Pitamber, Khaled Nawaser (2010)]
There has been an increase in the number of women entrepreneurship in more developed countries and it has been growing in less developed economies as well as an apparatus for women to survive, help and support their families [Gordon (2000)]. Many situations relating to women's decisions of becoming entrepreneurs have been identified by Muriel Orhan, Don Scott, (2001) such as no other choice, pure entrepreneur, informed entrepreneur, entrepreneurship by chance, forced entrepreneurship and natural succession. Initially, the Mumbai city of India was considered to be "Manchester of East" but now due to growing urbanization there, it is becoming more of a land market. Textile industry slowly has been now pushed to other states of India, specially Gujarat and Madras which are now attracting world textile buyers. Even though India is showing a good growth of women entrepreneurs in terms of other industries but when compared with other developing countries, women entrepreneurship in India does not seems to grow in terms of textile industry. [M.Gurusamy; P.Umamaheswari; DR.N.Rajasekar (2012)]
From psychological, educational and business point of view, the development of women entrepreneur in small scale textile manufacturing industries is still at early stage. Female participation in the textile industry in Surat (Gujarat, India) has not reached an impressive amount due to lack of proper education and support. Successful women entrepreneurs are not very readily seen in the textile industry because of absence of basic understanding of the industry which is influenced by proper channeling of information and support. I will try to demonstrate these points in my proposed research.
Rationale and Objectives
In last few years there has been a considerable growth in the number of women starting businesses in India. Therefore, because of this there is also an increase in the interest and level of research around this area. However, most of the researches conducted in this area are more concentrated on examining the differences between male and female business owners rather than on the contrast which prevails between women entrepreneurs from various industry sectors.
In the present entrepreneurship literature, it seems that women are not properly represented; hence there is a need to concentrate more on female entrepreneurs. This research, in particular, intends to understand why female entrepreneurs avoid entering into textile manufacturing in India and what are the challenges and issues they face. Understanding of this aspect may help to understand the factors and barriers that hinder women entrepreneur's participation in textile industry; i.e. the reasons for not starting small scale textile manufacturing units or not working in them. As mentioned earlier, that if women entrepreneurs are encouraged then this will increase the overall level of entrepreneurship and also levels of economic growth in India.
The sectoral dimension of female entrepreneurship is of particular significance for researchers and policy makers. If female entrepreneurs face particular difficulties in starting a new enterprise in general, then there is the possibility of sectoral factors that can impact on entrepreneurs. These include possible high levels of male participation, direct or indirect discrimination and poor access to information for women who are underrepresented. These can create greater problems for women.
Based on the above, the objectives of this study are:
To carry out original research on women entrepreneurs in India and especially in the regional context of Surat focusing specifically on the textiles industry
To examine the start up and early stage development of Indian female entrepreneurs and how the findings relate to a better and more refined understanding of women entrepreneurs generally
To examine critical issues on success factors in female enterprises (especially start-ups) by women in India barriers
To identify local barriers for women (in Indian context), especially in the textile sector for starting and growing their businesses.
In India, textile industry has an astounding effect on the economic development. Because of textile industry's augmentation to the industrial output, generating employment and earnings, the industry plays a vital role in Indian economy. India's beetling part in production of textiles emerges from it wealth and natural resources. The performance of this sector inculcates confidence and adaptability of small scale textile sector, when viewed against the advancement of the industry sector as a whole. [Export-Import Bank of India (2008)]
It is important for women to play an important role in the overall development of Indian economy by taking part in entrepreneurial activities in all possible industrial sectors because women constitute 50 percent of the total population. The opportunities available for women in this modern era are facilitating them to turn from job seekers to job creators. In India, even though women are prospering as designers, interior decorators, exporters, publishers and are exploring new approaches to economic participation, but still the entrepreneurial world is still dominates by males. Hence it has now become necessary for women entrepreneurs to explore all types of prospects and grab the opportunities for their professional betterment. Moreover, the development of women entrepreneurs is more important because many small and medium firms are well operated and organized by women, though this aspect is less recognized. There are many reasons for why women should enter into small scale textile entrepreneurial ventures in a predominantly society. Entrepreneurship among women can help them to overcome their vulnerability within the family and the society as a whole.
Generally, women are assumed as those who undertake businesses which of anticipated lines such as tailoring, knitting, pickle manufacturing, etc. It is a fact that women do engage in such ventures in order to generate income for their families, and they usually are involved in such activities because these are home based and it is a common perception in India that women are good in the kitchen or as a housewife. But even though such barriers exist, still women are trying to overcome these obstacles and enter into the business world. No doubt they have to overcome many frustrations, struggles and many drawbacks to come into existence as entrepreneurs and eventually becoming successful in their businesses, but this is what makes their entrance and achievements in the entrepreneurial world more meaningful.
Being born in Surat, one of the fastest growing cities and the "textile hub" of India, I have always observed that the small scale textile industries are still unexplored by Indian women entrepreneurs. All the manufacturing units and the whole textile trading market is dominated and run solely by men. Young women like me, who belong to middle class or upper middle class of the society and have a degree in textile designing or textile engineering, face many challenges while trying to start a new business or work in the small scale textile manufacturing units. The old trends are changing in modern emerging India, therefore, a women entrepreneur also has many functions like any other male entrepreneur. She should explore the possibilities of starting a new business, undertake risks, administrate & control the business and provide effective leadership in all aspects of business.
An Overview of the Literature
This research wants to show the connection between motivations for starting up by female entrepreneurs and their eventual outcomes. To do this, the researcher will explore what do women entrepreneurs do to achieve their goals and what are the barriers they face and how do they overcome them. The key concepts that will be used, therefore, are those of personal motivation, social and institutional barriers, and the use of resources (both personal and others). In this sense this research is located within the framework of socio-psychological discourse where the interplay between the personal and the social or environmental has an impact on the ability of women to set up new enterprises. In the Indian context this takes on a particular local shape given the specific social and cultural dimension of Surat.
The following diagram provides an early idea of the overall conceptual framework for the study.
Industry (textiles) Factors
Barriers and Obstacles
Levels of Entrepreneurial outcomes
Motivations and Opportunities
7) Research Aim
Adopting the above framework, this study aims to conduct a detailed survey on women entrepreneurs in the Surat city of India and assess the major obstacles that they face while trying to start a new textile manufacturing business or work in the small scale textile manufacturing units. The main purpose of this research is to reveal to what extent the above factors and components affect women textile entrepreneurs in India and to give a descriptive account of associated problems. This research intends to examine the following research questions:
1. What are the challenges faced by Women Textile Entrepreneurs in Surat city of India?
2. What are the motivations for starting up and what steps do these women take in order to start their businesses or work in this particular industry?
3. What are the factors and barriers that inhibit the women from starting their textile entrepreneurial ventures?
4. What are the problems along with socio cultural constraints that are affecting women entrepreneurial activities in textile industry and how do they overcome them?
5. What are the eventual outcomes (both success and failure rates) of women in the textiles sector in Surat?
8) Research Design and Methodology
The research will be exploratory & descriptive in nature. The research process will be examined with particular emphasis based on the "Research Process Onion" as promoted by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2003). The sources of data will be primary and secondary. After a detailed literature review I plan to conduct surveys and personal interviews to constitute primary data and collect secondary data from government reports, books, journals and internet materials for the analysis. I will perform a broad spectrum analysis of all critical factors that contribute to our best understanding of the connection between motivations, contextual issues and entrepreneurial outcomes. I will also band together the strategies for data handling and to investigate minute technicalities presented in the collected data.
The secondary data will be collected by reviewing past researches and other reports. The research methodology for this research will be qualitative in nature with the phenomenological philosophy supporting the research. The primary data for this research will be then gathered through the use of in-depth semi-structured interviews of at least 15 female entrepreneurs. Qualitative interviews will help the researcher to gain scopic insight into each female entrepreneur's situation, the issues and challenges they face in textile industry and the influences that impact their choice of selecting a particular industry sector.
9) Ethical Considerations
According to Punch (2000), "All social research involves consent, access and associated ethical issues, since it is based on data from people about people". For interviewing the participants the researcher will follow the general protocols and procedures. The researcher will make sure to acquire informed compliance from the selected participants. They may need full information about the research and also the reasons they have been chosen to participate. Moreover, the participants' privacy, confidentiality and anonymity will be guaranteed.
Likewise, the school being used for the case study will need to give permission for access to chronicle material, documents and reports useful for the study. The school will be assured that all the findings will be used properly and will not be misused in anyway. The researcher will follow all the conidtions of the University's ethical guidelines for doctoral research.
10) Expected outcomes and contribution and Benefits of the Study
The objective of this research is to analyze the problems and issues faced by women entrepreneurs in small scale textile manufacturing units in Surat, India. This research should have be an attempt to understand
The challenges that women entrepreneurs who belong to middle/upper middle class face in the small scale textile manufacturing units.
Why this sector is still unexplored by them.
The key issues and problems that women entrepreneurs have to face while starting a new business or working in textile industry in India.
The above proposed research will contribute to the growing body of literature on female entrepreneurship and it will also offer many insights which will be beneficial for variety of individuals and organizations that preach and support policies for female entrepreneurs. Therefore, this research will also have indications for researchers and teachers of entrepreneurship as well as in general, policy makers, business supporting agencies, and women entrepreneurs.
I firmly believe that a strong curriculum in theory and balanced practical experience is very necessary to develop effective and good research skills; your university has a sound research base with respect to this perspective. This has motivated me to apply for the PhD program at your esteemed university. If given an opportunity I would like to make a significant contribution by demonstrating the challenges that hinder the participation of women in the areas sited in my research proposal. UK has a very constructive policy background with reference to development of transferrable skills for women in all squares of social, economic and cultural fronts. This will provide a very wide curve to help me analyze conditions which impact the participation of women in the textile industry in Surat City of India as a particular focus. India being a multi-lingual country has complex interacting systems of social importance; this will be a large prospect of exchange of information across this cross-cultural system which can be of further research importance at the global level. This will create a platform for understanding different views, choices and opinions across the two states which can be crucial in providing solutions to the problems that I propose to analyze in my research.
I would work hard to the best of my ability if given an opportunity to pursue PhD in the above proposed field. I would bring along a penchant for independent work at a high level, team work, leadership qualities and building strong professional networks. My qualities and abilities will be found suitable as a prospective research student. I would earnestly request you to consider my research proposal for the Doctor of Philosophy Program.
Pratiksha M. Saxena
(MSc.) International Business and Entrepreneurship
University of Glasgow