By Kriti Chauhan
Edited by Anandita Malhotra, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
In the words of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam “empowering women is a prerequisite for creating a good nation, when women are empowered, society with stability is assured. Empowerment of women is essential as their thoughts and their value systems lead to the development of a good family, good society and ultimately a good nation.”
Women entrepreneurship has been recognised as an important source of economic growth. Women entrepreneurs create new jobs for themselves and others and also provide society with different solutions to management, organisation and business problems. Even as women are receiving education, they face the prospect of unemployment. In this background, self employment is regarded as a cure to generate income. Women entrepreneurship is seen as an effective strategy to solve the problems of rural and urban poverty. Entrepreneurship development for women is an important factor in economic development of a country. Experts believe that leveraging rural women enterprises during the economic crisis will help mitigate the impact of the crisis especially in rural areas. Women’s entrepreneurship can make a particularly strong contribution to the economic well-being of the family and communities, poverty reduction and women’s empowerment. In fact, some experts believe that greater female economic independence promotes geopolitical stability and world peace. Female entrepreneurs make significant contributions to economic growth and to poverty reduction around the world. In the United States, for example, women-owned firms are growing at more than double the rate of all other firms, contribute nearly $3 trillion to the economy and are directly responsible for 23 million jobs. Also in developing countries, female entrepreneurship is increasing—there are about 8 million to 10 million formal small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with at least one female owner. Thus, governments across the world as well as various developmental organizations are actively undertaking promotion of women entrepreneurs through various schemes, incentives and promotional measures. Today the significant role of women in entrepreneurship is constantly increasing due to various global factors. The Governments of various countries have been implementing several policies and programmes for the development of women entrepreneurship. The Planning commission as well as the Indian government also recognizes the need for women to be part of the mainstream of economic development. In Modern India, more and more women are taking up entrepreneurial activity especially in medium and small scale enterprises as
India has witnessed the growth of a number of women entrepreneurs such as Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, founder Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Biocon Limited who started Biocon in 1978 and spearheaded its evolution from an industrial enzymes manufacturing company to a fully integrated bio-pharmaceutical company and Biocon today under Shaw’s leadership has established itself as a leading player in biomedicine research with a focus on diabetes and oncology, Shahnaz Hussain, founder and CEO, Shahnaz Herbals Inc. is the biggest name in herbal cosmetics industry in India who has introduced a number of trend setting herbal products and currently the Shahnaz Husain Group has over 400 franchise clinics across the world covering over 138 countries, Mallika Srinivasan ,director, TAFE (Tractor and Farm Equipment) who joined TAFE in 1986 and has since been responsible for accelerating turnover from 85 crores to 2900 crores within a span of two decades, her innovative business ideas and excellent leadership qualities have won her laurels from every quarter and was awarded ‘Businesswoman of the year 2006’ award by ET, Ekta Kapoor, JMD & Creative Director, Balaji Telefilms, has created a niche for herself in TV serial and film production, she can easily be termed as the most successful female producer of entertainment world, to name a few
The following table shows the statistics of women entrepreneurship in India:
Women entrepreneurs today not only have overcome all negative notions and have proved themselves beyond doubt in all spheres of life including the most intricate and cumbersome world of entrepreneurship but have also shown that this is no longer a male dominant world.
While the number of women operating their own business is increasing globally, women continue to face huge obstacles that stunt the growth of their businesses, such as lack of capital, strict social constraints, and limited time and skill. The most common problem, which a woman faces, is the non-cooperation from her husband or close family members. Access to finance is another main constraint to the growth of female-owned enterprises. The Gallup World Poll shows significant differences in access to financial services for women- and men-owned businesses in developing countries. Besides they face other problems like mobility constraints, dual responsibility, low managing ability, risk-bearing ability etc. The standard of technology used by the women entrepreneurs is qualitatively low; they are poor in technical know-how. Transportation difficulties, improper power supply and telecommunication are some of the other problem faced by them.
Entrepreneurship among women, no doubt improves the wealth of the nation in general and of the family in particular. Women today are more willing to take up activities that were once considered the preserve of men, and have proved that they are second to no one with respect to contribution to the growth of the economy. Women entrepreneurship must be moulded properly with entrepreneurial traits and skills to meet the changes in trends and also be competent enough to sustain and strive for excellence in the entrepreneurial arena. Women have the potential and the determination to set up, uphold and supervise their own enterprises in a very systematic manner. Appropriate support and encouragement from the Society in general and family members in particular is required to help these women scale new heights in their business ventures. The right kind of assistance from family, society and Government can make these Women Entrepreneurs a part of the mainstream of national economy.