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Promoting Women Entrepreneurship: A Systematic Review On The Challenges

  • MEASI Institute of Management


In the business world, the emergence of woman entrepreneurs has prompted a new outlook. Women entrepreneurship is inextricably linked with societal and financial benefits. The women's participation in entrepreneurial activities is limited. The challenge of gender gap in entrepreneurship is present universal across countries. Coughlin and Thomas (2002) defined women entrepreneurs as the women taking ownership for establishing, accomplishing the capital of the enterprise and face all risks for the financial growth. Munshi et al. (2011) stated that initiation of innovative activities towards business endeavours which facilitate economic empowerment and societal betterment of women is labelled as women entrepreneurship. The five year plan of India has embraced various approaches to promote women entrepreneurs. The seventh economic census of India documented that among the women entrepreneurs, 34.3 percent were involved in agricultural activities and 65.7 percent were non-agricultural entrepreneurs. The various schemes promoted by Indian ministry for promoting women entrepreneurs are Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, E-Haat, STEP, Nari Shakti Puraskar scheme and working women hostel scheme. Despite the various initiatives, the percentage of women entrepreneurs remains low in India. The author of the present study has conducted a systematic review of literature to understand the challenges in promoting women entrepreneurship in India. A review was conducted on the short list of 20 published research articles. A systematic method was used for conducting the review. The content analyses of the research articles were done using the review questions and data were extracted. Critical appraisal was done on the content and the salient highlights were documented. The author concludes that the major challenges faced were gender discrimination, conflict between work and family life, strain to raise capital, inadequate infrastructure, lack of education and training, lack of skills in managing risk and marketing, lack of stability in the business and the environment, scaling up the business, etc.
Webology (ISSN: 1735-188X)
Volume 19, Number 2, 2022
Promoting Women Entrepreneurship: A Systematic
Review On The Challenges
Sindhura. K
Research Scholar Department of Management Studies University of Madras Chennai
Abstract: In the business world, the emergence of woman entrepreneurs has prompted a new
outlook. Women entrepreneurship is inextricably linked with societal and financial benefits.
The women’s participation in entrepreneurial activities is limited. The challenge of gender
gap in entrepreneurship is present universal across countries. Coughlin and Thomas (2002)
defined women entrepreneurs as the women taking ownership for establishing, accomplishing
the capital of the enterprise and face all risks for the financial growth. Munshi et al. (2011)
stated that initiation of innovative activities towards business endeavours which facilitate
economic empowerment and societal betterment of women is labelled as women
entrepreneurship. The five year plan of India has embraced various approaches to promote
women entrepreneurs. The seventh economic census of India documented that among the
women entrepreneurs, 34.3 percent were involved in agricultural activities and 65.7 percent
were non-agricultural entrepreneurs. The various schemes promoted by Indian ministry for
promoting women entrepreneurs are Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, E-Haat, STEP, Nari Shakti
Puraskar scheme and working women hostel scheme. Despite the various initiatives, the
percentage of women entrepreneurs remains low in India.
The author of the present study has conducted a systematic review of literature to understand
the challenges in promoting women entrepreneurship in India. A review was conducted on
the short list of 20 published research articles. A systematic method was used for conducting
the review. The content analyses of the research articles were done using the review
questions and data were extracted. Critical appraisal was done on the content and the salient
highlights were documented. The author concludes that the major challenges faced were
gender discrimination, conflict between work and family life, strain to raise capital,
inadequate infrastructure, lack of education and training, lack of skills in managing risk and
marketing, lack of stability in the business and the environment, scaling up the business, etc.
Key words: Woman Entrepreneurs, Challenges, Promotion, Business Environment.
Entrepreneurship is the act of starting a new business or revitalizing an existing one in order
to explore a fresh prospective. The entrepreneurs change the economy by producing new
money, employment, and products and services. They create new value for the entire social
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ecosystem. It is a natural state of mind that develops depending on the individuals’
surroundings and experiences, which make them think about their professionin a specific
Over the past years, women entrepreneurship has been an untapped source contributing to the
economic growth of the nation. Entrepreneurs generate jobs for themselves and others.
Women by being different, contribute to society’s solutions to various management
challenges, organisational challenges, and commercial challenges. They also explore and
exploit entrepreneurial opportunities. Still, women are only a minority of entrepreneurs. The
discriminating reasons of women to become entrepreneurs should be addressed. The policy
makers should keep this in mind, while framing policies towardsempowerment of women.
The agencies, which are working to promote women entrepreneurship, should focus on
empowering women to be self-sufficient and helping them access all of the freedoms and
opportunities that are usually denied to them because of gender discrimination. Women have
to overcome the male dominated environment for moving to handle their careers on their
own. It is interesting to observe that even in this cultural context, India has a high degree of
optimism in promoting women entrepreneurs. Indian ministry has promoted various schemes
for promoting women entrepreneurs. Some of them are Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, E-Haat,
STEP, Nari Shakti Puraskar scheme, and working women’s hostel scheme. The five year plan
of India has various approaches for encouraging women entrepreneurs. It is interesting to
understand from the seventh economic census data of India that 34.3 percent of the women
entrepreneurs in India are engaged in agricultural activities and the rest, 65.7 percent are in
non-agricultural activities.A range of factors, including the quality, gender mix, and kind of
entrepreneurship, influence the economic effect of entrepreneurship. Gender equality and
women entrepreneurship are essential for economic growth.
Review Method
The following research methods were used to conduct the systematic review: developing
review questions to look for in research articles, conducting an extensive search for research
literature on women entrepreneurship, selecting appropriate articles and preparing the list of
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short-listedarticles, reviewing the short list of articles, extracting content from the research
articles, and performing a critical evaluation of the material; then the author documented the
salient findings from the review.
Highlights from the Research articles
The author has shortlisted 20 research articles for the present study and conducted the review.
The major highlights from the review are summarized below:
Arafat et al. (2020) stated that understanding of the factors which encourage women to be
entrepreneurs,especially in India, should be well-understood through the perspectives of
cognitive and social capital before planning and designing any policy intervention.The study
tests the following hypotheses: opportunity perception has an impact on entrepreneurial
quality in women, perception of risk influences entrepreneurial qualities in women
negatively, perceived capability has an impact entrepreneurial quality in women, social
networks has an impact on entrepreneurial qualities in women, and financing other’s business
informallyhas an impact entrepreneurial qualityofwomen. The findings of the study were that
opportunity perception and risk perception do not encourage women to start entrepreneurial
activities, whereas perceived capabilities, social networks, and being informal investors
promote entrepreneurial qualities among women. The solutions as stated by the authors were
educating on risk awareness, creating a favourable environment for women, facilitating
networking among women and other entrepreneurs, understanding of non-financial motives,
and promoting informal investments.
Nair (2019) stated thatfor entrepreneurial activity to be sustainable, innovation and proper
diffusion are inevitable. Inexperience and low skills in entrepreneurial activity and a deficit of
funds were the common obstacles which inhibit entrepreneurial venture and innovation in
entrepreneurship in women. Stakeholders engagement is crucial for entrepreneurship. First, a
Step 1
Framing of review questions
Step 2
Extensive search for research literature: women entrepreneurship
Step 3
Selection of suitable articles and short list research
Step 4
Review of the short listed research articles
Step 5
Extract content from the research articles
Step 6
Conduct critical review on the content
Step 7
Author highlights the salient observations
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stakeholders’ engagement plan should be critically examined, then the stakeholders’
engagement strategies should be developed such as capacity building, building rapport with
stakeholders, etc.Policies should be framed in order to encourage innovation and growth.
Stakeholders engagement framework is a sustainable way to encourage creativity in women.
However, the success of this framework depends on individual stakeholder and alignment of
mutually beneficial goals of each stakeholder. Aspirations, hierarchy, and involvement of
each stakeholder should be taken into consideration. The transparency in business enhances
the trust factor in entrepreneurial ventures, and capacity building is also crucial for women
Manimekalai (2009) documented the role of women entrepreneur’s association of Tamil
Nadu (WEAT) in promoting women’s entrepreneurship. Women in the middle-income and
lower-income groups engaged in micro entrepreneurship.It was mostly in service sectors,
with part-time, self-employed women focusing more on feminine or female-friendly
occupations such as tailoring, beauty clinics, ready-made clothes, and fancy boutiques.
Women in self-help groups had mixed success in launching microbusinesses. Micro-credit
aided them in meeting their consumer loan needs, and saving for the small group.Self-Help
Group (SHG) women in Tamil Nadu had been unable to begin micro entrepreneurial
operations. Bharathidasan University's Centre for Women's Studies assisted in the formation
of the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Tamil Nadu (WEAT) in March 2005.The
research article documented the achievements of the WEAT.
Deepak (2014) examined the numerous internal and external variables that motivated and
demotivated women entrepreneurs. It is an attempt to quantify certain non-parametric
elements in order to provide a perception of ranking. It would also make recommendations
for removing and decreasing barriers to women entrepreneurial growth in the Indian context.
On the grounds of tenacity, inclination, and capacity to work hard, as well as talents unique to
emotional intelligence, there were substantial disparities between women and men
entrepreneurs. As a result, broad policies could be implemented to promote and expand
women entrepreneurship in India, as women entrepreneurship is critical to the success of any
economy, large or small.
Sharma (2021) stated that women had no role in the economic development of the nation and
did not go beyond their conventional roles in the early 1900s.Women entrepreneurs in urban
areas with high profiles are in the limelight, whereas little attention is paid to rural women
entrepreneurs. Self-Help Group contributed to women’s empowerment in urban and rural
areas. Women entrepreneurs are utilising various state and central government programs and
have significantly contributed to the economic development of the nation. The common
reasons for women to start entrepreneur ventures are: diversifying the family business, intent
to express their creativity and imagination, earn higher profits, compulsion from family to
take up business after the male member like father and husband, and need for using their time
effectively. Various strategies for promoting women entrepreneurship includes empower
women by creating awareness on entrepreneurship, emphasising formal education for
women, changing the conventional mind-set of society towards women, building self-
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confidence, potential women entrepreneurs could guide new women entrepreneurs and
adequate finance and infrastructure facilities to aid women development.
Jaim (2021) studied the experiences of non-western women entrepreneurs. Majority of the
studies focused on Western economies and the family’s role is underestimated.The author has
conducted a systematic review with high-quality journals related to influence of family on
entrepreneurial characteristics of women. The author has documented the issues in family and
gender issues which affect entrepreneurship qualities in women. Major family related issues
include domestic responsibilities, the role of husband, role of other family members,support
facilities for childcare, dowry used for businesses and marriage.Policymakers and
practitioners should empower women by supporting them through their businesses, especially
in developing countries.
Xavier et al. (2012) explored the mind-set of women who have started to become owners of
Small, MediumEntrepreneur (SME) after quitting their salaried jobs. The authors focused on
reasons for women to quit a job to start a new company, entrepreneurial characteristics and
finally, their hardships faced during the transition period.Tendency to become independent,
desire for economic growth, and personal growth were the driving factors for a woman to
leave salaried jobs for start-ups. Attitude towards business, good communication and
listening skills along with self-discipline were the common traits observed among these
women. They were confident, creative, leaders, problem solvers, efficient in executing plans,
analytical, flexible and were able to achieve a good work-life balance. However, there were
certain issues and challenges, such as a shortage of efficient staff, problems related to growth
of business, and above all, constraints due to high overhead costs and little or no consultation
from experts in the field.
Yadav and Unni (2016) studied women entrepreneurship growth over the last thirty years.
The authors have examined twelve entrepreneurship related journals from the years 1900 to
2016. The authors stated that a theoretical base for research pertaining to women
entrepreneurship is still at the nascent stage.Furthermore, there is a need to study
entrepreneurial process of businesses founded by women. Adopting innovative ideas have
become imperative. Aspiring women can be targeted and given access to apprenticeship in
suitable industries because gaining exposure to start-up could be beneficial. Areas of women
entrepreneurship should not be confined within boundaries and should become transnational
inorder to foster professionalism among the women entrepreneurs.
Moreira et al. (2019)stated that research on the entrepreneurship traits of women has
increased globally due to changing socio-cultural conditions. However, there is a dearth of
knowledge on the internalising process of firms and the role played by women entrepreneurs.
The authors reviewed the papers systematically by identifying keywords relating to women
entrepreneurship, shortlisting various articles relating to women’s entrepreneurship, analysing
the bibliometric information such as year of publication, and identifying various concepts,
models, and frameworks. The keywords analysed were classified into three clusters: Cluster 1
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is the epistemological relation and gender, Cluster 2 is the cultural and social reasons for
starting a business, and Cluster 3 is motivations, performance,and other business
characteristics. Internationally culture plays a determining role for women. Motivationof
women entrepreneursdepends mainly on their country of origin. This could be understood by
5M which is money, management, motherhood, market, macro factors. Future research
should be carried out on the focus of women entrepreneurs on international markets.
Suseno and Abbott (2021) responded to a variety of discourses available for digital social
innovation from women entrepreneurs’ point of view. The authors discussed the effectiveness
of digital technology to create opportunities for reducing issues relating to individual identity
andinfluence of individual, social and structural factors pertaining to women entrepreneurs.
The authors found that individual identity and theinfluence of individual, social and structural
factors do not encourage entrepreneurial qualities in women, whereas technology creates
opportunities to redress negative effects. Technology also aids the social innovation of
women entrepreneurs. Furthermore, there is an impact of digital social innovation on
education, environment, climate, employment, community development, and healthcare.
Future research can be conducted examining the model proposed in different countries’
Chhabra et al. (2019) examined the importance of entrepreneurial purposefor encouraging
women's entrepreneurship in India's micro, small, and medium businesses (MSMEs). The
authors have framed the concept of entrepreneurial purpose and then validated the
entrepreneurial intention instrument.New insights were drawn through this model for
measuring entrepreneurial purpose among women. Personal characteristics, subjective,
motivation, self-efficacy, and ecosystem play a vital role on desirability, feasibility and
potential towards starting an entrepreneurship venture. The authors contributed to new
knowledge on women entrepreneurship and the model serves as an ideal model for designing
programs for trainingwomen entrepreneurs in India. This would also help various institutions,
incubation centers and policy makers to promote women entrepreneurship.
Samantroy and Tomar (2018) explored various aspects such as empowerment of women,
agency building and women’s well-being in the background of sustainable industrial
development after carefully analysing the entrepreneurial activities of women
entrepreneurs.The authors have used the data from the National Sample Survey and
Economic Census for understanding more on women entrepreneurship in macro level.The
authors gave suggestions stating that entrepreneurship not only influences the economy, but
also redresses various questions of vulnerabilities related to gender socially and build a
sustained labour by effectively utilising women’s agency.The limitations of the study were
that there was little data available on skills, education and income that reflected
entrepreneurial tendencies of women.
Bullough et al. (2020) stated that entrepreneurship among women is crucial for creating jobs
for the future and it contributes to economic and social growth. However, the nuances of
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entrepreneurship qualities in women are understudied, and so the authors have investigated
empirical papers on gender dynamics and culture which impacts the entrepreneurial qualities
in women. The new frameworks devised are on socio-cultural dimensions, gender identities
and expectations, environment conducive to entrepreneurial ventures. The scope for future
study provided by the author were examining the role of women in situation like COVID-19,
expectations form community, region and country, use of Hofstede,GLOBE,Schwartz model
for analysing cultural tensions and overlaps, study of de-globalisation and digital
Agarwal and Lenka (2018)evaluated the development initiatives and programs aimed at
empowering women entrepreneurs in India.The entrepreneurial spirit among citizens
contributes to the progress of the nation. There is no place for gender bias in the nation
building process. The initiatives taken by the Government were the five-year plans
reorientation towards women welfare and empowerment which also includes women
entrepreneurship programs. The programmes offered by the government were aimed at
making women financially self-sustained. Despite the efforts taken by the government the
level of entrepreneurship ventures is low within the nation.The enterprise performance of
start-ups depends on personal, social, motivational, and environmental factors that drive
entrepreneurial learning and competencies. A deeper understanding would make the
entrepreneurship programs successful on a larger scale.
Awasthi et al. (2020) investigated the efficacy of encouraging secondary school girls to
become entrepreneurs. Data was obtained from the Indian Human Development Survey.
Results indicated that motivating girls at the secondary school level would help in building
entrepreneurship ventures in the future. Social factors such as infrastructure and marriage
influence women to start and run a business. Policymakers should create awareness among
girls at secondary school level that would encourage them to become entrepreneurs and
would help with self-employment. It would open up several avenues for job and venture
Digan et al. (2018) examined the impact of women entrepreneurial empowerment on
organisational performance, specifically business revenue. They emphasised the moderating
effects of bricolage and psychological capital on the relationship between women's
empowerment and performance. Visibilities of talents, managerial skills, determination are
core qualities for entrepreneurship development in women and are ideal for empowering
them. Data was taken from 369 women who have their own enterprise and are empowered
with goodincome.Managing constraints in resource through novel way and overcoming the
issues posed by self-employment through psychological capital further empowers women
entrepreneurs. Bricolage and Psychological Capital would help Non-Governmental
Organisations and Government in the immediate future frame various strategies and
programs for improvising SMEs owned by women entrepreneurs. Such initiatives increase
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the opportunity to learn, provide access to education and training, and form a network for
women entrepreneurs, ultimately empowering them to own their own business.
Kumari and Mor (2021) in their case study on Indian women micro entrepreneurs
documented the entrepreneurship and source of finance.Demographics such as age, nature of
business, and geographical location are related with women microenterprises’ funding. Age,
education and Marital Status did not affect theentrepreneurial traits of women.
Microenterprises have been operational for many years which are in manufacturing and allied
businesses, and service sector especially the ones operating from their respective hometowns
showed a preference for self-raised finance. The sources of finance includedthe age of the
business owners, education, marital status, geographical location, type of the industry, age of
the firm.There is a requirement for starting new trading business far from their home town
and also redressing the financial needs involved in microenterprises owned and managed by
women in rural areas.
Handy et al. (2007) in their article examined the behaviour of Indian women entrepreneurs in
the for-profit and non-profit sectors to understand whether there are any differences or
parallels. Individuals who want to promote various social causes in the non-profit or for-
profit sector are attracted towards entrepreneurial activities. Two groups of women
entrepreneurs who are founders of similar enterprises for women and children in the same
city were chosen for the study.The findings showed that entrepreneurs involved in non-profit
enterprises have a high pay-off because of the promotion of social causes whereas for-profit
entrepreneurs did not have a proper pay-off. Support from family is crucial for
entrepreneurial behaviour. Some other factors include work experience in the sector, social
class, education and caste. The influence however,varies according to different sectors.
Handy et al. (2002) examined women entrepreneurs from a certain segment of non-profit
organisation in India to study the causes of self-selection.The findings of the study were that
non-profit entrepreneurs received a high pay-off from promotion of social causes.NGOs
whose goals were close to the ideology of entrepreneurs offered a high level of satisfaction to
the entrepreneurs. Lack of financial capital could be overcome by access to donations,
networks and volunteers. Women entrepreneurs are feminist and their marital status does not
influence their decision to start an NGO.The intention to become entrepreneur is not a
random event of self-selection. It is influenced by personal characteristics, cultural and socio-
economic factors. The authors examined women entrepreneurs from a certain segment of
non-profit organisation in India to study the causes of self-selection.
Neha (2015) examined the predominance of women entrepreneurship in India by interpreting
the concept, profile, and dynamics of women entrepreneurship in India.The emergence of
female entrepreneurs has given rise to a new perspective in the field of entrepreneurship.
Women entrepreneurship is inextricably linked to societal and economic benefits. Despite the
fact that women make up over half of India's population, their participation in entrepreneurial
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activity is still severely restricted. The women entrepreneur faced a wide range of gender-
specific and gender-neutral challenges as they built and managed their
enterprises.Entrepreneurial activity in India is relatively low, with most of it focused in Tamil
Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Maharashtra. It is imperative to create a
more favourable environment for female entrepreneurs. A large number of women-owned
enterprisesare unregistered and suited for government support. Therefore, analysis of the
impact of the existing policies can help to find new ways to encourage the women to start
business.Women's entrepreneurship is a diverse and complex topic that needs in-depth
research to uncover its intricacies.
Maurya and Mohanty (2020)investigated the access to credit by women entrepreneurs in the
unorganised sector. The study used cross-sectional data which represents the women in the
unorganised sector nationally.The findings showed that there are certain disparities regionally
in access to credit to women entrepreneurs. Engaging in diverse activities and maintaining
accounts with authorities were the criteria for granting access to credit.There is only five
percent increase in the credit share of women entrepreneurs in unorganised sector. Women
belonging to the weaker sections of the society such as Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe
have lesser access to credits. Self-Help Groups and Micro-Finance Institutions could be a
game changer for women in rural areas.Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana provides loans to
SMEs without collateral. Almost 70 percent of the beneficiaries who benefited through this
scheme were women.
Status of Women Entrepreneurship in India
In India,women entrepreneurs can contribute to a great extent to improving the economic
situation faster. However, the educational status of women poses a challenge since 60 percent
of the women in India are illiterates. This is the main cause of the socio economic problems
which these women face and the reason for their low self-esteem and lack of motivation. The
education status of women with their added social problems interferes with their decision to
start business enterprises. Social activists and service organisation has to shoulder the
responsibility to help the women to shirk their fear, low self- esteem and low motivation to
redress their problems in their socio economic status. Some of the other important obstacles
which block the road of women’s progress in their entrepreneurship are their other
responsibilities with their families, balance between home and business, dependence of
women on middle men for promoting their entrepreneurial activities, lack of knowledge of
the changing market, and lack of awareness of business administration and financial
Women entrepreneurs are being supported by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium
Enterprises (MSMEs) through various programs that help women entrepreneurs build their
talents and build their own identities. The Prime Minister's Employment Generation Program
(PMEGP) Scheme had resulted in the formation of 1.38 lakh women-owned businesses since
its inception. Women-led initiatives account for roughly 30 percent of all projects in the
PMEGP. Under the scheme's Special Category, women entrepreneurs are eligible for 25
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percent and 35 percent subsidies for projects in urban and rural regions respectively.The list
of several different schemes which are promoted by the Government of India in favour of
women entrepreneurs includes SBI‘s Stree Shakti Scheme, SIDBI‘s Mahila Udyam Nidhi,
Annapurna Scheme, Dena Shakti Scheme, Udyogini Scheme,Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas
Pariyojana (RGMVP), NGO‘s Credit Schemes, Assistance to Rural Women in Non-Farm
Development (ARWIND) schemes, Entrepreneurial Development Programs (EDPs),
Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), MahilaVikas Nidhi, Mahila Samiti
Yojana, Indira Mahila Yojana, Management Development Programs,Women‘s Development
Corporations (WDCs), Marketing of Non-Farm Products of Rural Women (MAHIMA),
Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Micro and Small Enterprises Cluster
Development Programs (MSE-CDP), Indira Mahila Kendra, Micro Credit Scheme, National
Banks for Agriculture and Rural Development‘s Schemes, Trade Related Entrepreneurship
Assistance and Development (TREAD), Priyadarshini Project, Rashtriya Mahila Kosh,
Working Women‘s Forum, Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM),
Prime Minister‘s Rojgar Yojana (PMRY) (Saraswat & Lathabahvan, 2020).
While men still outnumber women in start-ups, the gender gap in social enterprises is
narrowing. This might be explained by the fact that the roles and stereotypes that influence
women's behaviour result as a strong link to social enterprise ideals. Since government
institutions are unable to address all social issues, increased participation in social activities
makes women a crucial player in promoting these necessary efforts.
Women in the organized and unorganized sectors, women in traditional and contemporary
industries, women in urban and rural industries, women in big and small-scale businesses,
and single women and joint ventures are the many types of women entrepreneurs.Factors
which influenced the entrepreneurship development are individual factors, socio-culture
factors, environmental factor and supporting factors (Joshi &Sanchiher, 2018).
Women entrepreneurs have potential talent equal to men for managing businesses, but they
still lag behind in spite of a lot of initiatives towards women empowerment in our country.
There are social, cultural, and economic barriers in the way of women’s entrepreneurship,
with the lack of an entrepreneurial environment being the most serious issue. Women are
denied chances, knowledge, and education despite their aptitude and talent (Nehru &
Bhardwaj,2013). Every woman aspires to start her own business, but in our Indian
atmosphere, it is impossible to succeed in the way that it should be (Kaushik, 2013). Research
studies have documented that entrepreneurial intention is the major psychological factor
which influences women entrepreneurs. More policies and strategies should be implemented
to encourage women to start businesses. The Government of India's 'Start Up India'
programme, which was executed in the year 2016, had a great impact in encouraging women
to become entrepreneurs (Bhuyan & Pathak, 2019).
Challenges faced by Women Entrepreneurs in India
There are numerous challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in India. The most common
problems arerelated to their struggle in the male-dominant social order.Financial institutions
are not convinced about the entrepreneurial ability of the women entrepreneurs.
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Therefore,their access to credit from banks for their working capital is tough. The next
challenge is the women entrepreneur’s efforts to balance between family responsibilities and
business focus. It is commonly believed that women entrepreneurs have less management
skills, as well as less assertiveness and marketing skills. They have to rely on others to
manage their business and update their technology in order to scale up (Kumar, 2006).
Bhuyan and Pathak (2019) stated that lack of support from family members when it comes to
starting a business is a significant disadvantage for women entrepreneurs. Access to training,
conflicts between work and household commitments, labour issues, lack of necessary
education and expertise, and access to funding are all obstacles for women entrepreneurs
(Akhalwaya & Havenga, 2012).
Yoganandan and Gopalselvam (2018) stated that technology governance has increased in
business activities and women entrepreneurs are exposed to minimal training in technology.
Women entrepreneurs find it tough laying their infrastructure for their business. Women are
expected to perform the stereotype roles like taking care of family and children. They do not
get recognized by society when they perform different roles like being an entrepreneur.In
their mobility, women entrepreneurs face severe problems which are a great challenge for
them in their business. Risk taking in business is not adequate for women entrepreneurs. They
prefer to be protected space of life which reduces their efforts to move ahead courageously in
their business (Dhillon, 2017).
Women entrepreneurs’ population continues to be minimal and many things comein their
way of progress and they also lack role models to get them self-motivated(Gupta &
Aggarwal, 2015). Vijayakumar and Jayachitra (2013) have stated that insufficient technical
and professional training for women entrepreneurs is a major challenge. Sathyadevi and Fasla
(2016) have stated that educational background of the women entrepreneurs played a critical
role in their entrepreneurial success. The women entrepreneurs’ individual motivation helps
execute the business successfully.
Efforts by Government and other Agencies for Promoting Women Entrepreneurs
The research studies have documented that women entrepreneurship is a process which
includes their growth and development. Though the positive sign of women getting involved
in entrepreneurship has increased, the size of the population is minimal. Reviewing the
challenges, which the women entrepreneurs face their growth and development, have to be
focused by Government and Non-Governmental Organisations. Special focussed efforts have
been taken by Indian government to promote women entrepreneurs and also address their
challenges. The government has proposed and executed various efforts in their five year plan
to promote women entrepreneurs. Since the development of the country depends on the
economic growth of women. The seventh five year plan has had a special focus on
theintegration of women into development.The eighth five year plan has included
Educational development program for women entrepreneurs in rural areas (Prime Minister’s
Rojgar Yojana) the other efforts of the government are the scheme for training women
farmers in agriculture and associated activities, promotion of women co-operative schemes in
industries like dairy farming, horticulture, animal husbandry etc. The Rural Development
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Programs (IRDP) and training of rural youth for self-employment also focuses on the
promotion of women entrepreneurs. Following this, every five year plan of India has included
programs and schemes to promote women entrepreneurs. Some of the scheme are Trade
Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD), Swarna Jayanti Gram
Swarozgar Yojana which focused on promotion of new businesses by women, Women
Development Corporation were set up to facilitate credit facilities for women. The State
Industrial and Development Bank of India promoted the Micro credit scheme, Mahila Udyam
Nidhi, Women entrepreneurial development program, Mahila Udyam Nidhi, etc.
It is a critical time to address the barriers which require to be lifted from the society. It is
perceived by the society that women are not capable of doing business. It is strongly believed
that women have to focus on their families, and the motivation level of women is very low.
The development programs which are designed to develop entrepreneurial interest should
focus on behavior, self-motivation, self-esteem etc. Thecore component for development of
women entrepreneurship is to make them aware of their pride as woman, to believe in their
potentials, distinct in their identity and role played for the economic growth of the country
(Rama Mohan Rao, 2016).
Government of India has taken various initiatives to give funding and support to women
entrepreneurs. NITI AYOG launched the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) and the
main aim of this platform was to create a network of women entrepreneurs. SIDBI joined the
efforts and has encouraged women entrepreneurs to share their experience of their
entrepreneurial life and also provide services like financial support and alliance with
corporates etc. The next initiative was Bharatiya Mahila Bank which supported the financial
needs of the poor women entrepreneurs. The upper limit of the loans was upto 20 lakhs. Dena
Sakthi scheme is the special initiative to support women entrepreneurs and motivate them to
start firms in the area of food manufacturing and processing industries. The Annapurna
scheme is executed by Bharatiya Mahila Bank and it offers loan upto Rs 50,000 to women
entrepreneurs. Shree Sakthi loan is the scheme by SBI which support women
entrepreneurship. This special scheme helps women to get loans at a concession of 0.005
percent on the loan which exceeds Rs 2 lakhs.
It can be inferred that strong efforts are taken by Government of India to fix the issues of
women entrepreneurs.
The reviews of papers have helped the author to comprehensively understand the challenges
in promoting women entrepreneurship in Indian setting. The main reasons for the
entrepreneurial decision of women are driven by internal and external forces. There are many
bottlenecks which slow the growth of women entrepreneurship. The role played by larger
associations, NGOs and Government becomes critical in promoting and facilitating the
growth of women entrepreneurs. Woman entrepreneurs add to the country’s economic growth
and prosperity. There are many promotional exercisesand programs which are undertaken by
the government to motivate women,especially women in rural areas. The diverse kinds of
challenges faced by women in growing as entrepreneurs and managing their enterprises have
Webology (ISSN: 1735-188X)
Volume 19, Number 2, 2022
to be redressed by policy decisions and non-formal efforts. The government has undertaken
multiple efforts in the form of schemes to ensure the opportunities for women to explore
entrepreneurship. The challenges can be fixed, mainly with awareness building on their
capabilities and skill building. Though the entrepreneurial interest among women in India is
low, there is definitely an increase in the percentage of women getting into entrepreneurial
initiatives. On the other side of women, who have got into entrepreneurial initiatives, inspires
other women.
To conclude the challenges which women face as entrepreneurs or blocks before getting into
entrepreneurial activities should be clearly articulated by NGOs and Government. Some of
main challenges are women restricted by the family, lack of capital investment for the
business, lack of education especially in rural areas in urban lack of knowledge about
entrepreneurial activities, role conflict within family as women are expected to anchor house
hold activities, unfavorable environment where they have to face the male interfering in their
business relationships, lack of information about the dynamics of business for example
subsidies available and Government programs, tough competition, marketing issues,
etc.Some of the remedial measures which can be applied to fix these challenges are
promotional help, training, assistance in selection of innovative technology involved in the
business, financial and marketing assistance, and finally, the family support.
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This article has been withdrawn: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal ( This article has been withdrawn as part of the withdrawal of the Proceedings of the International Conference on Emerging Trends in Materials Science, Technology and Engineering (ICMSTE2K21). Subsequent to acceptance of these Proceedings papers by the responsible Guest Editors, Dr S. Sakthivel, Dr S. Karthikeyan and Dr I. A. Palani, several serious concerns arose regarding the integrity and veracity of the conference organisation and peer-review process. After a thorough investigation, the peer-review process was confirmed to fall beneath the high standards expected by Materials Today: Proceedings. The veracity of the conference also remains subject to serious doubt and therefore the entire Proceedings has been withdrawn in order to correct the scholarly record.