The women play a significant role in the economic development of any country. Women contribute and support the economy extensively in different ways by being employed in many different sectors. Many successful businesses are run by women some of whom are very skilled in entrepreneurial activities. Some of these women are well educated and know the theory of business well. In developing country like Sri Lanka, some women are running small enterprises many of them have proven to be successful.
Western society in the 21st century, dictated that the most suitable place for the women is her home. people believed that women can serve best to the society by offering their energy to households. However, in the 70’s women left home and enter the workforce in droves, but today women are once more leaving the workforce in droves in favor of being at home.
Women entrepreneurs in both developed and developing countries are socially powerful in terms of education and making a positive impact on the society.
RISE OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
ARE WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS ON THE RISE IN BUSINESS
The world has seen a considerable rise in successful women entrepreneurs in the last few years. In most business sectors, women are making their presence felt. However, for ladies looking forward to starting their first venture, choosing the right business sometimes becomes a difficult task.
The number of female founders and owners has increased dramatically in recent years, although most found businesses in sectors like retail, health care, education, arts, travel, food services, marketing and other professional services, some choose traditionally male fields like construction and manufacturing. While women starting businesses in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are still rare.
PROBLEMS OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
The major barriers encountered by women entrepreneurs are as follows:
- Family restriction
Women are expected to spend more time with their family members. They do not encourage women to travel extensively for exploiting business opportunities.
- Lack of Finance
Family members do not encourage women entrepreneurs. They hesitate to invest money in the business venture initiated by women entrepreneurs. Bank and other Financial Institutions do not consider Middle Class Women Entrepreneurs as proper applicants for setting up their projects and they are hesitant to provide financial assistance to unmarried women or girls as they are unsure as to who will repay the loan — either their parents or in-laws after their marriage. This humiliates unmarried women and they generally leave the idea of setting up their ventures.
- Lack of Education
Women are generally denied of higher education, especially in rural areas and under developed countries. Women are not allowed to enrich their knowledge in technical and research areas to introduce new products.
- Unfavorable Environment
The society is dominated by males. Many business men are not interested to have business relationship with women entrepreneurs. Male generally do not encourage women entrepreneurs.
WHAT WOULD HELP WOMEN ON THEIR ENTREPRENEURSHIP JOURNEY
“Entrepreneurs commit to something imperfect and spend their lifetime perfecting it.”
Your entrepreneur’s journey is unique but that doesn’t mean you’re alone. Everyone who has taken that journey before you have something to offer, there are lots of life stories of successful women entrepreneurs which people can go through and get help.
WHAT CAN SOCIETY DO:
- Promotional Help:
Government and NGOs must provide assistance to entrepreneurs, both in financial and non-financial areas.
Women entrepreneurs must be given training to operate and run a business successfully. Training has to be given to women who are still reluctant to take up the entrepreneurial task.
Finance is one of the major problems faced by women entrepreneurs. Both family and government organizations should be liberal in providing financial assistance to them.
- Family support:
Family should support women entrepreneurs and encourage them to establish and run business successfully.
How fintech can help women overcome in developing countries
In some countries, more adults have mobile bank accounts than traditional ones. Having a bank (or mobile money) account is safer than cash, can encourage savings and allows for cheaper and more secure transfers of funds. Other financial products such as loans or insurance can be more easily layered on top of a bank account, allowing women to weather unexpected difficulties and grow a business. Digital banking can also make it easier for women to make or receive government payments or accept payments in their businesses. However, women face several kinds of barriers to accessing bank accounts. Banks may be physically too far away from women in rural areas, and even with local access, women may not have time to visit a bank or make bill payments in person due to family or work responsibilities. Women may still have difficulty accessing loans because of irregular credit history. Lastly, there may be cultural barriers that prevent women from accessing traditional financial services. In some cases, women may not be comfortable or feel welcome in a traditional bank, or interacting with a male agent, in which case mobile services can help them avoid those situations.
However, as traditional financial institutions have been slow to adapt to the changing needs of their customers, fintechs have been able to step in to provide necessary services, providing new opportunities for women to increase their participation in the economy and invest in themselves and their families.