Experts Column

Her specialties are in brand strategy for new product development, marketing communications and mobile growth.

Although we cannot deny the fact that in the past decade women have begun to establish businesses and become successful, some of the struggles that women entrepreneurs have to face still remain. Regardless of the change in time which has led to over 252 million women entrepreneurs around the world, they are still struggling to overcome the challenges that they face on a regular basis.

With approximately, 1/3rd of the entrepreneurs in the world being women, it has never looked better for them on papers. Unfortunately, these numbers only tell a part of their story and men still run a very big part of the business. Just like in most sectors of the world today, gender norms are greatly affecting the ecosystem of entrepreneurship and creating major challenges for women all over.

“With approximately, 1/3rd of the entrepreneurs in the world being women, it has never looked better for them on papers”

Here are some of the points to highlight the various disparities faced by women entrepreneurs around the world –

1. Social Expectations - In a society when women are stereotyped as the ones who are meant to stay at home and put all their attention on their family, it is often looked down upon for them to venture out and establish a career for themselves. Not just that, even after establishing their business they often take more time than their male counterparts to gain trust and recognition from the public.

2. Lack Of Capital - It is often said that “Money is to a business what food is to the human body and is vital for any business, big or small.” Unfortunately, at this day and age even after women have proved themselves time and again that they are more than capable, people find it hard to believe and hesitate to invest in a business venture which is established by women entrepreneurs. It is also disappointing to see that banks do not consider women as credit-worthy as they believe that they can give-up their business at anytime. Therefore, women entrepreneurs do not have any alternative other than to rely on their savings, or maybe take the financial help of their family.

3. Lack Of Support - Lack of mentors and advisors is another major setback for women entrepreneurs. According to a survey, 48% of female entrepreneurs said that the lack of mentors and advisors restrain their professional growth. In a world where high-level business is dominated by men, it becomes difficult for women to excel in their own profession without someone showing them the right way.

4. No Business Networks - According to a survey, women were not a part of business networks which would help them build network to grow their business, find customers, partners, suppliers, build connections, and more which come very naturally to male entrepreneurs but women do not belong to these networks.

5. Lack Of Confidence - A lot of women struggle with confidence and they need help with understanding their own skills, their own value on what they bring to businesses and organizations. Very often, women tend to underestimate their capabilities ans so they need a lot of support to gain that confidence and understand the value that they possess.

6. Personal And Professional Life Balance - There is this unsaid rule that women all over the world are expected to take care of their home as well as manage a successful business. Finding the right balance between them is essential but unfortunately, in our society, a woman is required to give more importance to her family rather than her career.

7. Building Market Access - This is the challenge of every entrepreneur, more so women entrepreneurs as their networks are usually smaller and therefore they do not have much access to the market when they start.

It is observed that the larger consensus when it comes to challenges that woman entrepreneur faces in Indian cities is that they stem from socio-cultural notions that define what a woman’s role is in the Indian society. While those notions need to change and are certainly changing focus also needs to change on improving the ease of doing business for women entrepreneurs be it getting loans more easily or helping in better networking opportunities.

Having said that, I also strongly believe that this is the time for women and women entrepreneurs. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether you are a man or a woman, as long as you have the drive and passion and your goal is backed by a solid plan, anyone can score big.