It’s very important to see these problems faced by women entrepreneurs because for women in India, entrepreneurship is both an opportunity and a struggle, as they have to deal with multiple obstacles and stereotypes that hinder their growth and success. They are not only contributing to the economy and society, but also challenging the status quo and breaking the glass ceiling. However, their journey is not easy, as they have to face many difficulties and discrimination that stem from the patriarchal and conservative mindset of the society. That’s why I want to share the 11 main problems faced by women entrepreneurs in India and how they tackle them with their determination, passion, and vision.
Table of Contents
Lack of Access to Finance:
One of the biggest challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in India is the lack of access to finance. Many banks and financial institutions are reluctant to lend money to women, as they perceive them as risky, unreliable, or dependent on their husbands or families. Moreover, many women do not have the required collateral, credit history, or business plan to secure loans. As a result, many women entrepreneurs have to rely on their own savings, borrow from friends or relatives, or seek alternative sources of funding, such as microfinance, crowdfunding, or angel investors. For example, Falguni Nayar, the founder and CEO of Nykaa, a leading online beauty retailer, raised funds from her family and friends, as well as from private equity firms, to start and scale her business.
Gender Bias and Stereotypes:
Another major challenge faced by women entrepreneurs in India is the gender bias and stereotypes that exist in the society and the business world. Many people, including family members, customers, suppliers, investors, and competitors, do not take women entrepreneurs seriously, respect them, or trust them. They often question their abilities, motives, or intentions, and expect them to conform to the traditional roles of wives, mothers, or daughters. They also face harassment, discrimination, or exploitation in various forms, such as lower wages, unfair contracts, or sexual violence. To overcome this challenge, many women entrepreneurs have to work harder, prove themselves, and assert their rights. They also have to deal with the negative attitudes and comments with patience, confidence, and dignity. For example, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the chairperson and managing director of Biocon Ltd., a leading biotechnology company, faced many rejections and doubts when she started her business, as biotechnology was considered a male-dominated field. However, she persisted and proved her critics wrong by building a successful and innovative company.
Legal and Regulatory Hurdles:
Women entrepreneurs grapple with intricate legal processes, cumbersome documentation, and compliance requirements. Securing licenses, permits, clearances, and certifications becomes challenging due to issues like corruption and red tape. For instance, Kanika Tekriwal, the founder of JetSetGo, faced delays and hurdles obtaining approvals from aviation authorities for her online marketplace for private jets and helicopters.
Lack of Support (One of Problems Faced by Women Entrepreneurs):
A significant hurdle is the lack of support from various stakeholders, including family, friends, mentors, and peers. Family members, especially spouses and parents, may oppose or discourage women entrepreneurs. The founder of White Print, Upasana Makati, faced skepticism and isolation from her family and friends when starting India’s first lifestyle magazine in Braille.
Social and Cultural Norms:
Pressure, prejudice, and discrimination based on factors like caste, religion, and marital status hinder women entrepreneurs. Sairee Chahal, the founder of SHEROES, faced resistance and ridicule from her conservative community for pursuing higher education and starting a business.
Lack of Skills and Knowledge:
Many women entrepreneurs lack formal education, training, or experience in crucial business aspects such as planning, management, and finance. For instance, Chetna Gala Sinha, the founder of Mann Deshi Bank, faced difficulties in learning banking basics due to her lack of prior background or education in the field.
Lack of Networks:
Building and maintaining networks pose challenges due to factors like time constraints and confidence issues. Accessing platforms to showcase products and connect with collaborators is also problematic. The founder of YourStory, Shradha Sharma, faced difficulties in reaching out to entrepreneurs and experts as she initially had no contacts in the startup ecosystem.
Balancing multiple roles as entrepreneurs, wives, and mothers is a common struggle. Stress, guilt, and conflict arise from juggling personal and professional responsibilities. Richa Kar, the founder of Zivame, faced difficulties managing work and personal life, dealing with family pressure while working long hours and traveling frequently.
Safety and Security Issues:
Women entrepreneurs encounter safety and security concerns, both online and offline. Threats, violence, and harassment from various sources pose risks. Priyanka Gill, the founder of POPxo, faced cyberbullying and trolling on her online community for women.
Lack of Confidence and Self-Esteem:
A pervasive issue is the lack of confidence and self-esteem affecting performance and potential. Self-doubt, fear, and anxiety accompany the challenges in the entrepreneurial journey. Falguni Nayar, the founder of Nykaa, faced challenges convincing herself and others of her ability to start a successful business at the age of 50 after quitting her career as an investment banker.
Lack of Innovation and Differentiation:
Creating unique and scalable products becomes challenging, impacting competitiveness. Rashmi Daga, the founder of FreshMenu, faced difficulties differentiating her business in the crowded food-tech sector. Addressing these challenges is crucial for fostering a more supportive and inclusive environment for women entrepreneurs in India.
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Conclusion for Problems Faced by Women Entrepreneurs
Women entrepreneurs in India encounter many obstacles and stereotypes that challenge their entrepreneurial journey as I mentioned above with ’11 main problems faced by women entrepreneurs in India’. However, they also cope with these obstacles and stereotypes with their skills, resources, and networks. They are not only pursuing their dreams and aspirations, but also inspiring and influencing others, and making a difference in the world. Hence, it is essential to acknowledge, encourage, and applaud the efforts of women entrepreneurs in India, and to provide a more favorable and equitable climate for them to succeed and excel.