Experts Column

Start- Up Obstacles For Women

Anamika Yaduvanshi, a life coach based in Delhi, lives by the mantra that life is a gift to be cherished. Her unique mix of creativity and analytical thinking makes her a highly sought-after Motivational Trainer and Counselor.

A start-up is basically an amateur or a young company founded by one or more entrepreneurs to develop a unique product or service and bring it to the market. In this start -up era where lot of male entrepreneurs are coming up with unique products, women are no less. They have a plethora of unique ideas/ brand new innovative products. However, their start- up journey is uniquely different from their male counterparts. Here are few problems faced by female entrepreneurs who intend to initiate a startup-

Self-doubt- Women exhibit a lack of self confidence in their own abilities as entrepreneurs compared to men. The cause of self-doubt that generates hesitancy among women could be the deeply embedded gender bias in the world. Since ages, women have been their best at handling homes. Now, in today's modern age when they step out as entrepreneurs, they feel they lack skill and ability to run a startup. Self-doubt can be a major weakness. It can keep you from doing your work as you would never have the confidence to take big decisions and would result in limiting your approach. However, self-doubt can be fixed. First and foremost is to work on your skill and bring yourself best in your craft. Second is to stop comparing yourself with others. You can compare yourself with your previous version and spend time with supportive people and stop looking for validation from others.

Investment Constraint - Women led businesses face an uphill struggle when it comes to fair access to capital. With men still twice as likely to start their own businesses and women accounting to less than a fourth of Indian business industry, the Indian entrepreneurialism remains overwhelmingly male. Despite the statistics leveraged against them, women are carving out a name for themselves in multifaceted start- up businesses. Female entrepreneurs face challenge of bringing in initial capital funding as the investors feel that women may lack seriousness and skill to run the business. Also, they often lack assets that they can put for mortgage to get loan. Remember novelty of your idea and structured presentation coupled with quick growth prospects are bound to attract venture capitals.

“Family plays a vital role in the lives of women entrepreneurs as females are supposed to take care of their family's needs, no matter how busy they are in their business lives”

People don't trust - Women face trust issues from their vendors, buyers and of course investors. Females have to work really hard to make others believe that their start up is serious and they are here in the business to stay. Vendors would not give materials on credit and buyers don't give big orders as they are not sure about the potential of the startup, promoter being a female. If the startup-female isn't married, then she is likely to face more mistrust issues as people feel that if she gets married outside the city, she would roll up the business and vanish so they are reluctant to be a part of the start- ups by unmarried women. With married females' people, on the other hand, it is felt that she won't be able to give sufficient time to her start -up due to family commitments.

Non acceptance as leaders by male employees - The startup team including employees and partners are skeptical towards women as good leaders. Also, male employees are not comfortable taking instructions from the female boss. For this kind of obstacles, I believe the patriarchy system is to be blamed where women are considered less than their male counterparts. Employees feel that women lack toughness and management skills to lead the start-up. This is one of the reasons that you would notice that most of the women entrepreneurs prefer hiring other women for the jobs as they are aware of the fact that gender conflict will not affect the potential and productivity of the employees.

Family constraint - Family plays a vital role in the lives of women entrepreneurs as females are supposed to take care of their family's needs, no matter how busy they are in their business lives. It's always expected from women to put their families on top of their priority list. It is important to know and understand the role of the family in women's entrepreneurial experiences to interpret the reasons why women owned businesses succeed or fail as family ties will inevitably have an impact on their performance. Women entrepreneurs face judgments from society and family. A lot of family expectations are to be met. Amidst all this, women entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance business and family life.

The list is not exhaustive. Although there are multiple obstacles but women are believed to have infinite potential to beat all the odds and they have high emotional intelligence because of which they can rise and shine even in the darkest hours.