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USHMA K VALA, U. (2017). Women Entrepreneurship Challenges and Opportunities: Indian Scenario. PHILICA.COM Article number 1048.

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Women Entrepreneurship Challenges and Opportunities: Indian Scenario

USHMA K VALA USHMA K VALAunconfirmed user (SWAMI SAHAJANAND SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedebad)

Published in mani.philica.com

In ancient India, women enjoyed great respect and freedom in the society. In fact far superior position to the men of that time. “Sakthi” a feminine term means “power” and “strength”. But, due to repeated attacks on India by Muslims and the British through centuries changed the situation. In former days, women were confined to kitchen, kids, knitting, pap pad, pickles. With the spread of education and awareness, women have shifted from the kitchen, handicrafts and traditional cottage industries to non-traditional higher levels of activities. Since the 21st century, the status of women in India has been changing as a result to mounting industrialization and urbanization and social legislation. Over the years, more and more women are going in for higher education, technical and professional education and their proportion in the workforce has also been increased.

Article body

Women Entrepreneurship in India

Out of total 940.98 million people in India, in the 1990s, females comprise 437.10 million representing 46.5 percent of the total population. There are 126.48 million women workforce but as per the 1991 census, only 1, 85,900 women accounting for only 4.5 per cent of the total self-employed persons in the country were recorded. As per a rough estimate the number of SSIs is expected to be2.5 billion having 9% women entrepreneurs in to it. Considering this trend, women participation in another five years was 20 % more, raising the number of women entrepreneurs to about 5, 00,000. Combined effect of motivational drive, preparation of information material, conducting training, creation of women industrial estates, and training of promoters and use of mass media all together is bound to accelerate the process of women entrepreneurship development.

Women Entrepreneurship: Key to Success


Today’s world is not static it is dynamic; more women are deciding to launch their own business for a variety of reasons.

1. To achieve for independence & flexibility.

2. To better balance work & family.

3. To make optimum use of technical education & qualifications.

Women & Social Role

·         Self-role

·         Community

·         Membership

·         Daughter

·         Mother

·         Wife

·         Parents

Growth of Women entrepreneurs in India:

Increase in cost of living has prompted the Indian women to undertake economic activities in order to support their families. They are coming forward to take risks, face challenges and prove to the world that their role in the society is no more limited to that of buyers but they can be also successful sellers.

There are thousands of good examples where women have shown entrepreneurial talents and have succeeded. Women entrepreneurs are the key players in any developing country in terms of their contribution to economic development. Now, it is imperative to know who is an women entrepreneur.

Women Entrepreneurs may be defined as the women or a group of women who initiate, organize and operate a business enterprise. Government of India has defined women entrepreneurs as an enterprise owned and controlled by a women having a minimum financial interest of 51% of the capital and giving at least 51% of employment generated in the enterprise to women. Women in business are a recent phenomenon in India. By and large they had confide themselves to petty business and tiny cottage industries.

Almost half of India's population consists of women. But they constitute a very negligible proportion of the total entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial traits and competencies have not been well developed amongst the women entrepreneurs. They are very shy in nature and emotionally attached to the family. They are treated as weak and dependent on men. They are the neglected sections in the society. In spite of the above, in sixties, women have started entrepreneurial activities as one- woman enterprises at home and from home for self-occupation and engagement. The number of women entrepreneurs was only 6000 which miserably low during the period.

Indian women started their entrepreneurial work in 1970s. Their entrepreneurship is traced out as an extension of kitchen activities mainly pickles, powder and pappad. Women are encouraged to start an occupation or venture with an urge to do something independently started to tide over their economic difficulties and responsibilities.

In the seventies, Government of India has also brought a change in its policy objective of welfare approach of women to development approach of women. Women were given priorities in all the sectors including small scale industries sector. As a result, the number of women entrepreneurs has increased over the years.

Successful Leading Business Women in India are:

• Mahila Grih Udyog – 7 ladies started in 1959: Lizzat Pappad

• Lakme – Simon Tata

• Shipping corporation – Mrs. Sumati Morarji

• Exports – Ms. Nina Mehrotra

• Herbal Heritage – Ms. Shahnaz Hussain

• Balaji films - Ekta Kapoor

• Kiran Mazumdar - Bio-technology


Women Entrepreneurship in India:


No of Units

No. of Women


Tamil Nadu




Uttar Pradesh
























Madhya Pradesh




Other States & UTS








Women Work Participation:



India (1970-1971)


India (1980-1981)


India (1990-1991)


India (2000-2001)

31.6 (latest India: 38.4, China: 68.9)







Sri Lanka




Problems of Women Entrepreneurs in India:

·         Arrangement of Finance

·         Shortage of raw-materials

·         Cut-throat Competition

·         Lack of education and illiteracy amongst women

·         Family Conflicts

·         Marketing Problems

·         Lack of self-confidence and optimistic attitude amongst women

·         High cost of production


o    Promoting entrepreneurship among women is especially important to tackle the problems of under employment and unemployment in the society.

o    Education has been instrumental in increasing the participation of women in entrepreneurial activities. The formal education not only helps in acquisition of requires knowledge for a job, which demands non-traditional skills but also imparts knowledge about the different occupational opportunities. Good academic background makes women confident in dealing with problems in business in an effective manner. Although it is a fact that entrepreneurship is not a special preserve for the educated but in the case of women already burdened with many social pressures, education is a powerful tool in breaking down the barriers to successful entrepreneurship. Thus education is a liberating force and barriers of caste and class, smoothing out inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances.

o    There should be an incessant attempt to motivate, give confidence, inspire and assist women entrepreneurs.

o    Government should provide better educational facilities and schemes to women folk.

o    There should be continuous monitoring, improvement of training programmers, practical experience and personality development programs to improvise their over-all personality standards.

o    Establishment of proper training institutes for enhancing their level of work-knowledge, skills, risk-taking abilities, enhancing their capabilities. Training Centers should provide training to prospective women entrepreneurs free of cost and Entrepreneurship Successful Leading Business Women in India development Program should be much more practical oriented. Inculcation of self-confidence amongst women that they can also run a business should be one of the prime motives of these programs. Potential women entrepreneurs should be exposed to different types of emerging opportunities. Housewives should be motivated to learn additional income.

o    A women entrepreneur should herself set up an example by being successful and should act as a role model. Since children have a tendency to emulate their parents, the resultant effect would be automatic.

o    Establishment of proper training institutes for enhancing their level of work-knowledge, skills, risk-taking abilities, enhancing their capabilities.

o    Finance is sine-qua-non for any enterprise. The banking system is not sufficiently responsive to social banking needs and has not been able to deal with barriers that hinder women from using or gaining access to credit. Adequate arrangements must be made for the supply of credit facility at concession rate for the women entrepreneurs in view of their growing needs.

o    Creating provision of micro credit system and enterprise credit system to the women entrepreneurs at local level with low rate of interest.

o    Provision should be made to provide land / sheds to deserving women entrepreneurs on priority basis. Group Women Entrepreneurship (GWE) may be promoted in rural sector by reinvigorating activities / skills on traditional crafts or practices with which they are acquainted.

o    A Women Entrepreneur's Guidance Cell should be set up to handle the various problems of women entrepreneurs all over the state.

o    Positive attitudinal change in the society recognizing the role of women as entrepreneur may lead to the development of appropriate environment in which women will be able to exploit their entrepreneurial talents

o    Offering seed capital, up-liftment schemes, women entrepreneurs fund etc. to encourage them economically.

o    To extend confessional rates facilities and schemes for women entrepreneurs to prosper in the field of enterprise.acquainted.

o    Women entrepreneurs should be provided marketing facilities and subsidy for raw materials.

o    Listen to the voice of women entrepreneurs. The creation of government offices of women's business ownership is one way to facilitate this. Such offices could have program responsibilities such as providing women's business centers, organizing information seminars and meetings and/or providing web-based information to those wanting to start and grow a business.

o    Incorporate a women's entrepreneurial dimension in the formation of all SME-related policies. This can be done by ensuring that the impact on women's entrepreneurship is taken into account at the design stage.

o    Promote the development of women entrepreneur networks. These are major sources of knowledge about women?s entrepreneurship and valuable tools for its development and promotion. Co-operation and partnerships between national and international networks can facilitate entrepreneurial endeavours by women in a global economy.

o    Periodically evaluate the impact of any SME-related policies on the success of women-owned businesses and the extent to which such businesses take advantage of them. The objective should be to identify ways to improve the effectiveness of those that should be retained. Good practices that are identified in this way should be disseminated and shared internationally.

o    Improve the factual and analytical underpinnings of our understanding of the role of women entrepreneurs in the economy. This requires strengthening the statistical basis for carrying out gender-related cross-country comparative analyses and longitudinal studies of the impact of important developments and policies, especially over time.


 “Women have full freedom to work and prosper. From the moment they go out of their homes they are human beings: business woman has the same weight as a business man.”


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 them 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 and they can contribute to the economic progress of India in this Challenging Era.



·         Entrepreneurship Challenges and Opportunities: Indian Scenario” Dr. Vineet Chouhan, Dr. M. L. Vasita, Mr. Dinesh Kumar Vyas.

·         “Women Entrepreneurship in India”, Arakeri Shanta V.  International Journal of Management and Social Sciences Research (IJMSSR) ISSN: 2319-4421 Volume 2, No. 8, August 2013 i-Xplore International Research Journal Consortium www.irjcjournals.org 8

·         Dhameja S K (2002) , Women Entrepreneurs : Opportunities, performance, problems, Deep publications (p) LtD, New Delhi

·         Dynamics of entrepreneurial development and management – By Vasant Desai. Himalaya Publishing House.

·         Entrepreneurship Development –By S.S Khanka. S. Chand & Company Limited. (Ram Nagar, New Delhi-110055). Indian Entrepreneurship

·         Rajendran N (2003), "Problems and prospects of women Entrepreneurs" SEDME, Vol. 30 no.4 Dec.

·         Rao Padala Shanmukha (2007) "Entrepreneurship Development among Women: A case study of self-help Groups in Srikakulam District, Andhra Pradesh" The Icfai Journal of Entrepreneurship Development Vol.1V No. 1

Sharma Sheetal (2006) “Educated Women, powered, women" Yojana Vol.50, No.12

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USHMA K VALA, U. (2017). Women Entrepreneurship Challenges and Opportunities: Indian Scenario. PHILICA.COM Article number 1048.

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