WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP: OPPORTUNITIES, CHALLENGES AND REMEDIES

By, Muhammed Basil Ali 

Imam Shafi College of Islamic Science, Busthanabad.

Presented in NATIONAL SEMINAR ON “TRANSPARENCY AND ETHICS IN BUSINESS: AN OVERVIEW ON SOCIAL AMBIENCE” (JAN -20- 2019, Imam Shafi College of Islamic Science)
Organized by Imam Shafi College of Islamic Science in association with Department of Commerce and Management Studies, University of Calicut.

ABSTRACT
“An entrepreneur is one who always searches for change, responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity. Innovation is the basic tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for different business of service.” -Peter Ducker

Entrepreneurship is the practice of starting new organization, particularly new business generally in response to identified opportunities. It also consist a lot of human creativity and effort. An entrepreneur takes a lot of risks and responsibility and he puts all his efforts to achieve a predetermined aim and he sees it through inception to completion. Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the developmental process of a country; it fosters the innovations, employment and growth.

Women entrepreneur is a person who accepts challenging role to meet her personal needs and become economically independent. The hidden entrepreneurial potentials of women have gradually been changing with growing sensitivity to the role and economic status in the society.
This paper discusses the women entrepreneurship. The first phase of the paper describes about women entrepreneurship along with a brief history of the same. The second phase indicates the major challenges faced by the women entrepreneurs. The third part put forward remedies and a few suggestions to get rid of the challenges.

INTRODUCTION
Entrepreneurship is defined as the “capacity and willingness to develop, organise and manage business venture along with any of its risks in order to make profit.” Women entrepreneurship is a mode of business entrepreneurship or ownership and business creation that empowers women economically increases their economic strength as well as position in society. A women entrepreneur can make particularly strong contribution to the economic well being of the family, community etc. The unexplored talents of young women can be utilised for increasing the productivity in the industrial sector.
Most of the women have advocated changing the reflection into reality. They seize opportunities based on their knowledge from previous employment, depending on their educational qualifications or examples learnt from non heritable business. They posses clear visionary and set goals which they can carry forward confidently. A successful women entrepreneur is positive in her power. She is prepared to learn from others, explore for help from experts that adds value to her goals. Her eminent vitality levels prompt her to contribute vastly towards demonstrating and asserting a booming business.

On scrutinising the history of women entrepreneurship we can know about a successful female entrepreneur named sayyidath Khadija (RA) who was the first wife of prophet Muhammad (SAW) and this shows that women entrepreneurship had started before centuries. We can also see that before 20th century women operated small business ventures however they were not considered as of entrepreneurial. They used to do so as a way of income or replace the income of spouse. Women considered these ventures only as secondary because their life was surrounded with and had to focus on domestic responsibilities and they were hardly suppressed by social evils, For example, in some western countries with longstanding and significant barriers to educational and alternative employment opportunities black women were historically relegated to low paying jobs and domestic works.
There were also some breakthroughs in the last phase of 20th century, for example the black women developed entrepreneurial niches in dressmaking, hair care, home care etc. During the late 18th and 19th centuries more women came out from the oppression of society and began to emerge in public eye. One of the examples is Rebecca Lukens an American, despite the disapproval of family and society she took her family business of iron works and later it was transformed into large steel industry and this was impossible for a woman to do at that times.

CHALLENGES

Capital formation: The entry to get finance for the commencement of business is the toughest problem faced by the women entrepreneurs and most of family members do not provide either moral support or financial help to their women folk to start their own business in which the women have skills that is required to start an enterprise. The managing of the working capital by the women entrepreneurs becomes difficult because they are not able to provide surety to get loans from the financial institutions. This may be major challenge because capital is among the basic and inevitable infrastructures of entrepreneurship.
Competition: Most of the women entrepreneurs have to face serious contest from structured industries. They have also to face a tough competition with the men entrepreneurs who can embroil easily in the publicity and marketing of their products with the structured sector. As the male counterparts have more support network and as they are ‘men’ can easily assemble or dig out the huge financial needs which is compulsory for an entrepreneurship at the same time women are striving to get the same. Lack of confidence, leadership qualities and innovative business ideas as compared to men are also some problems under this challenge. The problems like the attitude towards woman entrepreneurs, by the society, inadequate opportunities between women and women and very important amongst all the ‘lack of confidence’ in women are also stalking the entrepreneurs.
Illiteracy: Illiteracy is the main problem that creates social economical blocks. Due to absence in the know-how of change in the technology and lack of education produces troubles for women who want set up their own business concern. Due to this they face problems in coordinating the production activities with change of technology, and the degree of risk will increase as there is more chance for accidents, errors and other misappropriations due to lack of knowledge.
Lack in confidence: Lack of self-confidence and self-esteem amongst women is also a big challenge. A strong mental outlook and an optimistic attitude amongst women are required amongst women to be an entrepreneur. But it has been noticed that women lack these qualities required insetting up their own enterprises. Thus, not having the required confidence that is needed by today’s women to move ahead creates resistance in their being a good entrepreneur.
Gender discrimination: This is a traditionally inherited and a major challenge to the women entrepreneurship, because of this most of the entrepreneurial minded women are getting back due to the fear of failure. And the women entrepreneurs get only minimum support from their house, family and friends. As per a survey conducted in India, out of thousand new start-ups only 11 percentages belonged to women.
Lack of support network: Women fail in building support network. There aren’t as many women as men in leadership positions—meaning there are less women to seek out to be role models, act as sounding boards, or create business deals with. Even though the number of female executives and business owners is increasing, it can still difficult to find fellow women entrepreneurs to connect with. .Having a robot support network is essential for entrepreneurial success. 48% of female entrepreneurs lacks in advisors and mentors.
Marketing troubles: Women entrepreneurs face problems in marketing of their products as this area is mainly dominated by males and women fail to make a mark in this area. Women entrepreneur also find it difficult to capture the market and make their products popular and they often take the help of middlemen in marketing their products who often charge high commission from them.
Balancing business and family life: It is mainly a women’s duty to look after the household and other members of the family. Man plays a secondary role only. In case of married women, she has to strike a fine balance between her business and family. Her total involvement in family leaves little or no energy and time to devote for business. Support and approval of husbands seem necessary condition for women’s entry into business.

REMEDIES
• As the major challenge to women entrepreneurship, so in tune with the national priorities, a number of commercial banks have evolved their own schemes of financial assistance to women entrepreneurs. For example in India ‘Sthree Shakti Package Scheme’ of the State Bank of India which aims at providing a package of assistance to women entrepreneurs. The consultancy wing of the state bank of India gives guidance on project identification and project viability. Training of entrepreneurs including women is being impacted by the bank at different locations to whom assistance for finance is provided.

Some of the institutions and organisation which works for the development of women entrepreneurship are given below
o SIDO (small industries development organisation)
o CWEI( consortium of women entrepreneurs in India)
o SEWA (self employed women’s association)
o National alliance for young entrepreneurs
Apart from these a number of financial supports are now available for women entrepreneurs.
• Not all women in business are married or have children, but for those who do, it can be a major challenge finding a balance between business success and home life. It’s not impossible to achieve balance between family and business, but there is a perception within the business community that women without families are less distracted and better able to focus on business. Accordingly, the educational level and family background of husbands positively influence women’s entry into business activities .The key to success is finding the time for both, and creating boundaries which work for them. This is especially true if they work from home.
• One of the hardest aspects of being a woman entrepreneur is to believe in their own achievements. They worry that they’ll sound arrogant or boastful if they have something positive to say about the things that they’ve done. They should keep in mind that they are your strongest advocate. If they won’t sell their business by sharing their expertise, no one else is going to do it for them. They are a worthwhile investment, and they need to believe it!

• Women should try to improve their literacy level; illiteracy is one of the major challenges for women entrepreneurship. There are number schemes and other facilities world wide specially created for women education. A rise in the educated women society will make a skyrocket increase in women entrepreneurship.

SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES
• There should be a continuous attempt to inspire, encourage, motivate and co-operate women entrepreneurs.
• Attempts should be there to enhance the standards of education of women in general as well making effective provisions for their training, practical experience and personality development programmes, to improvise their over-all personality standards.
• Attempts to establish for them proper training institutes for enhancing their level of work-knowledge, skills, risk-taking abilities, enhancing their capabilities.
• Attempts to bring about a society attitude change, generation of awareness and consciousness on the policy of self-development of women entrepreneurs.
• Attempts by various NGO’s and government organizations to spread information about policies, plans and strategies on the development of women in the field of industry, trade and commerce.
• Establishing various policies to offer easy finance schemes for economically strengthening the position of women.
• Forming a cooperative association of women entrepreneurs to mobilize resources and pooling capital funds, in order to help the women in the field of industry, trade and commerce.
• Offering seed capital, uplifting schemes, women entrepreneurs fund etc. to encourage them economically.
• Extend confessional rates facilities and schemes for women entrepreneurs to prosper in the field of enterprise.
• Establish forums to discuss the problems, grievances, issues, and filing complaints against constraints or shortcomings towards the economic progress path of women entrepreneurs and giving suitable decisions in the favour of women entrepreneurs and taking strict stand against the policies or strategies that obstruct the path of economic development of such group of women entrepreneurs.

Thus by adopting the aforesaid measures the problems associated with women can be solved.

CONCLUSION
Entrepreneurship is presently the most discussed and encouraged concept all over the world to overcome economic challenges. Women being the vital gender of the overall population have great capacity and potential to be the contributor in the overall economic development of any nation. Therefore, programs and policies need to be customized to not just encourage entrepreneurship as well as implement strategies which can help support entrepreneurial culture among youth. Media has the potential to play the most vital role in entrepreneurial development by creating and highlighting all such platforms which can bring out the creativity and innovation among the women and men to grow entrepreneurship culture in society.

Developing countries are definitely in dire need to encourage women entrepreneurship as women workforce is promptly available to exploit the unexplored dimensions of business ventures. Developed nations should primarily focus on entrepreneurial educational programs in order to develop women entrepreneurs.
Generally speaking, globally business world has realized and is working on war footing to create entrepreneurship as the final remedy to overcome all types of business and market challenges.

REFERENCES:
1. “Lean in: Women, work and the will to lead” by Sheryl sandberg.
2. Quora [website].
3. Wikiped [female entrepreneurship].
4. Articles and magazines related entrepreneurship.

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