Ways to Overcome the Challenges of Women Entrepreneurs

11/10/2022 0 By indiafreenotes

Women are no longer viewed as traditional resources confined to the household, however, despite being educated, knowledgeable and capable of contributing towards transforming economies, women face fundamental challenges trying to enter the entrepreneurial sector. They are constrained by gender values, norms and stereotypes in the environment in which they operate. Some of the fundamental challenges faced by women are:

Overcoming Financial Bias

Kauffmann research indicates that women on average start companies with half as much capital as men. Five years ago, even federal programs designed to give entrepreneurs a leg up were skewed by gender; women only received 15 percent of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research awards.

Finding Work-Life Balance

In addition to the challenges faced by many women in the working world, they still usually bear the larger share of the household management functions. Providing true work-life balance is a challenge, particularly for women who feel they need to be perfect both at work and at home.

Overcoming Entrepreneurial Obstacles

Share the stories. Provide more exposure for successful women entrepreneurs to shine. This storytelling also serves as inspiration and opens up networks for women to connect and mentor.

Create support networks. Leverage personal and professional networks to find support, both in terms of sound advisors and for other women leaders, whether those women have started their own companies or are leaders in other organizations.

Forgive yourself. When it comes to work-life balance, no leader should feel obligated to be Wonder Woman. Create realistic expectations and make peace with the fact that no one has to “do it all.”

Address failure. Everyone, male or female, experiences failure in business. Sharpen the coping strategies to react well to missteps and missed opportunities and move forward.

Ask for help. Find the courage to ask for help, whether it is with a particular business issue, specific expertise, or securing funding.

Find the right funding. With challenges abundant in seeking small business loans for women, creative financing options are needed. 

Gender Disparity- Lack of Access to Education and Training:

Due to the inherent gender bias in the society, women lack access to knowledge about business development, maintaining accounts, understanding money matters and even day to day activities of the company. Lack of such skills and the difficulty in access to such information and necessary resources can make running a business very difficult and the chances of turning a business into a success even more minimal.

Lack of Access to Markets and Networking:

Four things primarily required to be a successful entrepreneur are knowledge, expertise, practice and contacts. A lot of women entrepreneurs are forced to operate on a small scale due to mobility restrictions and find it harder to be a member of professional organisations and other networks.

Furthermore, such places are inundated with male colleagues who are sometimes unwelcoming to women and not inclusive, therefore, it makes it harder for women to have access to markets. A lot of these networking activities also take place after working hours and it makes it harder for women to attend them due to familial constraints. Women also have a high fear of sexual harassment and may find themselves restricted in their ability to travel.

A constructive solution to this could be establishing more women only or women majority networks, a safe space, where a woman could enter, gain confidence and move further. Support networks should be created where they can leverage both their professional and personal lives. A good network could provide women with more access to role models to look up to. Women entrepreneurs around the world should be encouraged to share their stories, to inspire women who aspire to start up their own business.

Lack of Mobility

Women are looked down upon in society when they try to run a business. As such, renting a room or property or buying land gets looked at as suspicious. It’s even more challenging for single women who have their own businesses. Limited mobility also refers to the act of owning motorized vehicles and many financially independent women cannot travel alone as there are issues with safely traveling solo. This is one of the many problems faced by women entrepreneurs in the country who try to meet up with prospective clients.

High Competition

The modern economy has made it difficult to start new ideas from scratch and scale up. There is always someone with the latest innovations out there and women entrepreneurs have to prove themselves in order to stand out. Colleagues and investors aren’t willing to commit either due to the hardships and long roads that await them. Women have to use limited resources to operate their business and grow it. Until they build a solid reputation in the industry and generate enough profits, there is no credibility in their words.

No backup plans

Some women entrepreneurs who invest everything into their business can lose big time. Due to the lack of education, social status, work experience, and male support, women entrepreneurs are seen as having no exposure or industry support. They are not taken by peers seriously, and those who invest their all into the business, they cannot afford to fail or have a backup plan.

Digital literacy is important in this era, and women entrepreneurs who do not develop an online presence cannot gain new clients. Most women entrepreneurs lack education in STEM disciplines such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. They don’t have access to the tools and techniques needed to empower them and run a good business.

Low-Risk Appetite

Women business owners are not as financially independent as male businessmen and are prone to many risks when running an enterprise. As such, they cannot take a high degree of risk when running their business. Socioeconomic constants force them to hold back from executing various ideas and making them a reality. The low-risk appetite is due to the rising costs of product development and production, marketing, lack of credibility and strong backing in the business, etc.