Top 10 Problems Faced by Women Entrepreneurs
No matter what gender you belong to, starting and running a business is tough. However, for women entrepreneurs in India, the situation is even tougher due to the unique challenges they face.
Regardless of the issues, we are witnessing an increased participation of women in business.
Not just globally but in India, the participation of women in business is increasing. Mainly dominated by males, the entrepreneurial world is witnessing a significant rise in female entrepreneurs.
However, their journey is often marked by unique hurdles, demanding attention and resolution. To enable our women entrepreneurs to address these challenges head-on, The StartupLab has prepared a list of 10 main challenges and problems faced by women entrepreneurs. Not only do we aim to make women aware of the issues that may arise in their journey, but we also aspire to help them overcome these challenges and make a name for themselves.
Problems Faced by Women Entrepreneurs in India:
1. Lack of access to funding:
Even when women have the same qualifications and business plans, they are still less likely to receive funding for their businesses. One of the big reasons for this is the unfair belief that women might not be as successful in entrepreneurship because of gender bias.
2. Gender bias:
Many women entrepreneurs often go through this. They often face gender bias in their business journey, which can manifest itself in several ways. Being taken less seriously than their male counterparts, being excluded from networking opportunities, or being discriminated against when applying for loans or grants are a few common ways by which women don’t get the recognition they deserve.
3. Balancing work and family life:
Work-life balance is quite a frequently used term nowadays. Though some will say it holds the same impact for both genders, for women entrepreneurs, balancing work and family responsibilities is more challenging. And things become especially difficult when they are starting or growing a business, as they may have to work long hours and make sacrifices in their personal lives.
4. Lack of role models:
With fewer women entrepreneurs, there are fewer role models for women entrepreneurs than for men. And if we don’t have someone to look up to, things become a bit hard to achieve. This is the main reason, despite being talented, women find it hard to envision themselves as successful business owners.
5. Cultural and social norms:
In some cultures, women are expected to stay home and take care of the family. However, for aspirational women who want to start or grow a business, it becomes difficult to keep up with these expectations. So, some women in their entrepreneurial journey may face opposition from their families or communities.
6. Lack of education and training:
Women entrepreneurs are more likely than men to lack the necessary education and training to start and grow a business. Hence, they approach the market with below-average skills and find it challenging to access funding, develop a business plan, and manage their finances.
7. Stiff competition:
The business world is becoming increasingly competitive, and women entrepreneurs often face stiff competition from their male counterparts. It makes it more difficult for them to leave a mark.
8. Unfavorable business environment:
The business environment can be unfavorable for women entrepreneurs in some countries. Factors such as lack of access to market opportunities, gender bias, discrimination, or corruption make it hard for women to flourish.
9. Fear of failure:
Women are biologically wired differently than men. That’s why women entrepreneurs are more likely than men to fear failure. But in the business world, this can hold them back from taking risks and starting or growing a business.
Women entrepreneurs are more likely than men to experience self-doubt. This can make it difficult for them to believe in themselves and their ability to succeed.
Despite all these challenges, many women entrepreneurs are succeeding in business. These are some of the main solutions you can try:
5 ways to get rid of problems faced by women entrepreneurs:
Networking with other women entrepreneurs:
In the business world, there is a saying, ‘Your network is your net worth.’ Networking with other fellow entrepreneurs can provide support, advice, and inspiration. To assist women in networking, several organizations and online communities connect women entrepreneurs and help them grow.
Seeking out mentors:
We all need mentors. And for women at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey, mentorship can be invaluable. Right mentors can provide guidance, support, and insights that can help women entrepreneurs overcome challenges and succeed.
Getting educated and trained:
There are several resources available to help women entrepreneurs get the education and training they need to start and grow a business. Using these resources, including online courses, workshops, and business incubators, they can get entrepreneurial education and training from expert market leaders.
Be open to asking for help:
It’s important for women entrepreneurs to not be afraid to ask for help when they need it. To help women entrepreneurs succeed, several people and organizations are willing to lend their helping hand.
Believing in yourself:
The business world is tough, especially for women entrepreneurs. To succeed, they need to believe in themselves and their abilities. Although it can be difficult, it’s necessary for overcoming challenges and achieving success.
So, if you’re a woman entrepreneur, don’t let the challenges discourage you. There are many resources available to help you succeed. Just remember to network, seek out mentors, get educated and trained, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and believe in yourself.
3 Inspiring Stories of Indian Women Entrepreneurs
Here are 3 inspiring stories of Indian women entrepreneurs who overcame their problems and raised high:
1. Falguni Nayar
Falguni Nayar, former investment banker, is the founder and CEO of an Indian e-commerce firm Nykaa- a startup that sells beauty and fashion products. Started Nykaa when she was 50, Nayar at the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey, faced many challenges, including lack of funding and gender bias.
Lack of funding: When Nayar first started Nykaa, she was turned down by over 70 banks for funding. But she never gave up and eventually secured funding from a group of angel investors, but it was a difficult process.
Gender bias: Like many women, Nayar also faced gender bias when she started Nykaa. She was often taken less seriously than her male counterparts and had to work harder to prove herself.
However, she kept fighting and built Nykaa into a successful company that is now valued at over $1 billion.
2. Aditi Gupta
Aditi Gupta is the co-founder of Menstrupedia, an educational comic book about menstruation. The startup offers social impact educational materials in the form of comic books and animation videos.
When she created Menstrupedia, Gupta faced the challenge of taboos around menstruation. In a country like India, menstruation is often considered a taboo topic. And often, girls and women are shamed for it.
But to overcome the taboo surrounding menstruation, Aditi had to educate people about it and break down the stigma surrounding it. She did overcome this challenge, and with her efforts, Menstrupedia is now used by millions of girls and women around the world.
3. Vani Kola
A name renowned in the VC industry, Vani Kola is the CEO of Kalaari Capital, a VC firm investing in early-stage tech companies. As the VC industry is majorly dominated by males, Kola faced several challenges when she started her career in the venture capital industry.
Not to be taken for granted, she often had to work harder than her male counterparts. Even though, in her initial journey, she had to deal with stereotypes about women in business, she became one of the most successful venture capitalists in India, with an investment portfolio of over 100 companies.
Making a difference and leading some of the top companies in the world, many such strong women go unnoticed. Even when their stories often remain overshadowed, they make a difference through their work. Showing us that anything is possible if we set our minds to it, they inspire not just women but us all.
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