A Comparative Study of Opportunities, Growth and Problems of Women Entrepreneurs

By Garga, Pawan; Bagga, Rajesh | Asia-Pacific Business Review, January-March 2009 | Go to article overview

A Comparative Study of Opportunities, Growth and Problems of Women Entrepreneurs


Garga, Pawan, Bagga, Rajesh, Asia-Pacific Business Review


Introduction

Entrepreneurship has long been recognized as the key to economic growth. The role of entrepreneurs, especially the small scale entrepreneurs who successfully exploit the industrial and commercial opportunities on a small scale can not be under estimated. Small scale enterprises help in enhancing economic growth because they have better chance to carry out innovations, new means of production, new markets, new materials, new forms of organizations that lead to increased productivity. In his studies relating to entrepreneurship Matlay (2006) posited that conceptual and contextual convergence is of paramount importance to the ongoing debate of whether entrepreneurs are born or made and to issues surrounding entrepreneurship education and its impact on entrepreneurial activities. Schutte (1995) suggested that the male entrepreneurs have been extensively studied and the focus has now shifted to the study of female entrepreneurs. Hisrich and Brush (1984) mentioned that most of what is known about entrepreneurs, their background, motivation for starting a business and business problems faced by them are based on studies of male entrepreneurs. It is important to differentiate entrepreneurs on the basis of gender if women entrepreneurship is to be promoted (John, 2004).

Women entrepreneurship has come a long way in India. In urban areas, more and more women are successfully running day care centres, placement services, floriculture, beauty parlours and fashion boutiques. Even in rural areas, self-help groups are empowering women to start their own micro business. In her study Anju (1994) emphasized on value orientation among women entrepreneurs. She argued that women entrepreneurs had a preference for values like achievement, independence, leadership effectiveness and conformity to social obligations, which change the scale of success in favour of entrepreneurs. Problems, however, are plenty for a female business enthusiast who wishes to start her own unit. In general, whatever problems men might face in setting up a small-scale unit are accentuated in the case of women. In certain businesses that are traditionally male dominated, women are looked at with suspicion on their seriousness of managing the business with a long-term perspective. Rinkal et al., (2004) suggested that women of today are in several ways different from the women of past years. During the present times, they seek social and economic independence and are prepared to take risk for the same. Mitchell (2004) found that women entrepreneurs tend to be motivated by the need to provide security to their families and by their family circumstances. Women entrepreneurs are motivated by the need to be independent, economically and otherwise. Entrepreneurship allows women to combine caring for their family with bringing in the money needed for day-to-day survival. This trend has also been visible in several Asian countries including Indonesia and Singapore. In the opinion of Watson (2003) there are quite a number of potential systematic differences between male and female owners, that might explain why female-owned businesses appear to under perform than male-owned businesses. The prominent factors are age of female owned business, family commitments, lesser access to capital, different education levels, prior experience of business and attitude towards risk. According to Jesselyn (2004) developing countries should also tap the potential of women entrepreneurs. Women are generally more serious entrepreneurs in developing countries, even though their businesses are small. They repay loans more reliably than men, and use their earnings for the benefit of families and for reinvestment.

The available literature on women entrepreneurship does not provide sufficient insights and in-depth analysis of the various facets of women in business and problems faced by them. This research paper is planned to explore and analyse in detail the unknown facets of women entrepreneurs in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh & Union Territory of Chandigarh in India. …

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