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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 traditional societies, they were confined to the four walls of houses performing household activities. In modern societies they have come out of the four walls to participate in all sorts of activities. The global evidences proveÂ Â that women have been performing exceedingly well in different spheres of activities like academics, politics, administration, social work and so on. Now they have started plunging into industry also and running their enterprises successfully. Therefore while discussing on entrepreneurial development of women entrepreneurs in the country.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Al through small businesses owned by women have traditionally focused on fashion , fond and other services sector, but recently women entrepreneurs have been moving rapidly into manufacturing, construction and other industrial filed. Women owned business are lightly increasing in the economics of almost all countries. The hidden entrepreneurial potential of women have gradually been changing with the growing sensivity to the role and economic status in the society. It means women have the potentials, skill, knowledge and adaptability to run a business successfully.
Meaning And Definitions
Women entrepreneur is a person who accepts challenging role to meet her personal need and become economically independent. There are economical, social, religious, cultural and other factors existing in the society which responsible for the emergency of the entrepreneurs.
"Women entrepreneur refers equally to someone who has started a one women business to someone who is a principal in family business or partnership or to someone who is shareholder in a public company which she runs".
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Government of India has definedÂ Â a women entrepreneur is " an enterprise owned and controlled by a women having a minimum financial interest of 51% of the capital and giving at least 51% of the employment generated in the enterprise to women ".
.Advantages Of Female Entrepreneurs
Let's face it-women are natural networkers. They love to talk, mingle, and rub elbows. This is the very reason why husbands rarely ever manage the social calendar. In today's business environment, mastering social media is mandatory, and the ladies absolutely have a leg up!
They call it "women's intuition" for a reason.Â Women in general can size up another person much faster than her male counterpart. In today's ultra-fast paced business environment, you need the ability to quickly identify the allies and the enemies. Regardless if you are a male or female, you need to trust your gut.
Okay, initially I would have said this is irrelevant. But after watching my children be born, there is no question that my wife can handleÂ a lotÂ more pain than I can. And I am not just talking physical pain, I mean emotional, too (have you seen how tough children can be on their mothers?). In business, there are a lot of painful moments. A lot. Women definitely have an advantage in this area.
Â Women are known for juggling many tasks at the same time and still being able to produce excellent results. Conversely, the guys are masters at focusing on one thing. Still, the advantage in today's distracting environment goes to women.
Â Women inherently seem to have more patience. And in today's business environment, patience is key! Aggressive business strategies are not paying off like they once did. Slow and steady wins the race in this category.
A friend of mine went to buy a new bed at a small bedding store owned by a husband and wife team. The female owner approaches my friend and asked all kinds of questions about why they needed a new bed, if they could fix their old bed, what else they were considering, etc. She asked questions and listened closely. She clearly showed that she cared about helping to meet their needs. My friend was moments away from buying any bed that she recommended. But just then, the frustrated husband on the sales team ran up and said "let me handle this." Then he just tried to hard close the sale. He was pushy, telling them what he recommended and what they had to have. Guess what? The sale was lost the second he began speaking! They walked out. I am sure he blamed her, but it was him. The key is to ask questions and really listen. Quite frankly, any great sales person knows this, man or woman, it just seems that the ladies are naturally better at doing it.
Problem/Disadvantages Of Female Entrepreneurs
Women Entrepreneurs encounter two sets of problems i.e. general problems entrepreneurs and problems specific to women entrepreneurs. These are discussed follows
Finance is regarded as life blood for any enterprise be in 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. So that access to the external sources funds is limited. Secondly the banks also consider women less credit-worthy and discourage women barrowers on belief that they can at any time leave their business.Â Â Â Â
Scarcity Of Raw Materials
Most of the women enterprises are plagued by the scarcity of raw materials and necessary inputs. Added to this are high prices of raw materials, on the one hand and getting raw material at the minimum of discount on the other. The failure of many co-operatives in 1971
engaged in based making is example how the scarcity of raw material sounds the death knell of enterprises run by women.
Â Male Dominated Society.
The constitution of India speaks of equality between sexes. But in practice women are looked upon as abla i.e.Â Â Weak in all respects. In male dominated Indian society, women are not treated equal to men. This turn serves as a barrier to women entry into business.
Â Lack Of Education
In India around 60% of women are still illiterate. Illiteracy is the root cause of socio- economic problem. Due to the lack of education women are not aware of business, technology and market knowledge. Also lack of education causes low achievement motivation among women.Â
Market Oriented Risk
A number of women have to face the challenges of market because of stiff competition. Many business women find it difficult to capture the market and compete with their product. They are not fully aware of the changing market conditions.
Successful businessmen can be self motivated through setting up a mind and taking up risk and accepting social responsibilities on shoulder. The other factors such as family support government policies financial assistance etc. are also important to set up business.
Lack of Confidence
Women lack confidence in their strength and competence. The family members and the society and reluctant to stand beside their entrepreneurial growth
Training programs are essential to new rural and young entrepreneurs who wish to set up a small and medium scale unit. The programs enrich the skill and potential of women entrepreneur.
Present Position Of Women Entrepreneurs
Out of the total 940-48 million people in India in the 1990's of the female comprise of 465% of the total population. There are 126.48 million women work force (representing 28.9% of the female population) but as per the 1991 census only 185900 women accounting for only 4.5% of total self employed personsÂ Â in the country were recorded. Majority of them are engaged in the un organized in the unorganized sectors like agriculture, agro based industries, handicrafts, handloom and cottage based industries. As per the 2001census report, there are of women workers of the total working population including formal as well as informal sector. In the era of L.P.G (Liberalization, Privatization, Globalization) theÂ Â Â Indian women entrepreneurs are very fast entering the non -traditional sectors. Which indeed is in response to their greater awareness.
Five Business Challenges Women Entrepreneurs Face and How to Overcome them
The first entrepreneurial challenge women entrepreneurs face is that of cultural value or tradition. This challenge is more profound on women entrepreneurs in Africa; where the cultural value entails that the man/husband be the bread winner. A woman exhibiting her entrepreneurial prowess is presumed as wanting to take over the leadership role of the husband.
This challenge also surfaces in families where the husband/father is an entrepreneur. The male children are usually groomed onÂ running the family businessÂ and carrying on after the demise of the father while the female children are usually left out of this entrepreneurial grooming process.
To overcome this entrepreneurial challenge,Â you must be prepared to breakthrough this limiting tradition; you must stick to what you believe in.
The next challenge women face in business is societal discrimination. Most people still live with the mentality that certain businesses or tasks are better handled by men.Â Have you ever come across a female auto mechanic, plumber, mason or welder? What was your first reaction?
You must have screamed "what the hell is a woman doing with such occupation." Well, I have done it countless times. The truth is that we often assume women are generally incompetent in certain fields of life. People would rather deal with a business man than a woman. Why? The reason is because it's believed that the men are born to do it.
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You might think this challenge is uncommon; wait until you lose a business deal or contract just because you are competing with male counterparts. The only solution to handling the challenge of societal discrimination is to develop a tough skin towards criticism. Stop seeing your feminine gender as a weakness; see it as a strength, and prove yourself by striving to outperform your male competitors.
Lack Of Investor's Confidence
The third challenge women entrepreneurs face when starting a business is the challenge of raising capital. Investors naturally give less consideration to business women and I can't really pinpoint the reason for this. It's easier for business man to raise capital than a woman; except such a woman has proved her competence and credibility over time. Women entrepreneurs generally find it difficult to raise capital or obtain a bank loan because investors and bankers would rather risk their venture capital with male entrepreneurs than females.
Now how do you overcome such challenge? The answer is persistence. You must keep asking for what you want;Â irrespective of the amount of rejections you get. You must press on while selling yourself on why you should be trusted.
Balancing Business And Family
The fourth business challenge women entrepreneurs face is that of balancing business and family. Women naturally are the backbone of the family; they lay the building blocks on which the family foundation is built. So often times, women entrepreneurs usually find themselves torn between commitment to the family and business.
Now how do you handle such challenge? The answer lies inÂ time management and delegation. These two keys areÂ essential to balancing your act and building a successful home alongside a family.
Stress Due To Competition And Business Routine
The last but not the least challenge women face in business is the stress and stiff competition associated with running a business.Â The entrepreneurial process of building a business from scratch entails hard work, commitment and persistence. Business is a game of dog eat dog; to survive, you have to be tough.
As a woman in business, you might find yourself going head to head with competition and fulfilling your business tasks; and this might lead to fatigue. When confronted with such challenge,Â you have to use the art of delegation and time management to your advantage. Get the tedious business tasks off your neck and concentrate more on the core issues at hand.
How to Develop Women Entrepreneurs?
Â Â Â Right efforts on from all areas are required in the development of women entrepreneurs and their greater participation in the entrepreneurial activities. Following efforts can be taken into account for effective development of women entrepreneurs.
Consider women as specific target group for all developmental programmers.
Better educational facilities and schemes should be extended to women folk from government part.
Adequate training programmed on management skills to be provided to womenÂ Â community.
Encourage women's participation in decision-making.Â
Vocational training to be extended to women community that enables them to understand the production process and production management.Â
Skill development to be done in women's polytechnics and industrial training institutes. Skills are put to work in training-cum-production workshops.Â
Training on professional competence and leadership skill to be extended to women entrepreneurs.Â
Training and counseling on a large scale of existing women entrepreneurs to remove psychological causes like lack of self-confidence and fear of success.Â
Counseling through the aid of committed NGOs, psychologists, managerial experts and technical personnel should be provided to existing and emerging women entrepreneurs.Â
Continuous monitoring and improvement of training programmers.Â
Activities in which women are trained should focus on their marketability and profitability.
Making provision of marketing and sales assistance from government part.Â
To encourage more passive women entrepreneurs the Women training programmed should be organized that taught to recognize her own psychological needs and express them.
Â Â Leading Business Women In India
EktaÂ Â Kapoor
Lalita .D. Gupte
Jt.ManagingÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Director (MD)
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (MD)
Rashree Sugar and Chemicals Ltd.
Ravina Raj Kohli
Media Personality and Ex- President
Former Chairman and MD
Schemes for Women Entrepreneurs
1. Seed Capital Scheme
2. National Equity Fund
3. Prime Minister's Employment Guarantee Scheme
4. Single Window Scheme.
5. Bank Schemes for Women Entrepreneur
6. Mahila Artik Vikas Mahamandal
What Makes Women Entrepreneurs Different from Men?
Over the past few years, there has been a surge in business startups by female entrepreneurs. Today I'm going to discuss how the way women run things may be a bit different from how men play the game.
Strong Focus On Values
It's not that men don't put values in the front lines of their company, but most women entrepreneurs make it the number one priority over everything else. According to Margaret Heffernan, who recently wrote How She Does It: How Women Entrepreneurs Are Changing the Rules of Business, women think about what their business will stand for before they start planning anything else.
Will Ask For Help
Many men (not all) have difficulty asking for help when it comes to something like their very own business. Pride can sometimes get in the way. But most women don't have a problem admitting that they're not sure how to accomplish a certain task or what needs to be done next in the building-a-business game. This can sometimes provide an advantage in a well-spring of knowledge from sources that help ground their business more quickly.
Focused On The Working Environment
According to Heffernan, male entrepreneurs see their businesses as a machine, while female entrepreneurs see it as a living organism. I can see where she's coming from. Men may be more likely to take the position that "bad parts" (employees) can easily be replaced with new and better functioning ones. Many male entrepreneurs may overlook the fact that the "parts" are going bad because the machine as a whole is not in great condition. Some may take the position that a new employee here or there will help to make the business function better, rather than examining the whole business under a microscope to see if there may be underlying problems.
Women entrepreneurs tend to be on the other end of the spectrum with the perspective that, if the environment their employees are in isn't working, then the entire "ecosystem" of the business, if you will, could collapse. Basically, women entrepreneurs focus more on making sure the work environment is comfortable to obtain the best performance from their employees, rather than expecting the best from their employees despite the work environment.
Strength Of The Business
Women entrepreneurs tend to focus on building a business so strong that it could function completely and successfully without them. Men build strong businesses, but often want to make sure they are always part of the central element that keeps things going. According to Heffernan, women entrepreneurs are more like the "conductor of the symphony - the person who doesn't make the noise, but pulls it all together."