It has been observed that in the Micro Small and Medium enterprises sector worldwide, women constitute around one quarter to one-third of the total business population and in manufacturing they constitute one third of the global labour force. If we look at the some of the economies such as China, Malaysia, Thailand, India etc have witnessed substantial growth rates in their economies and this has been made possible due to the joint efforts put in by both men and the major chunk women entrepreneurs.
However, in spite of their important and valuable contributions to the socio-economic development, it has been unfortunate that the potentials and the mark they can make and have been making are underutilized and they still continue to suffer from various constraints. They have been badly hit by the social and economic aspects, gender issues, leadership of the support system, venture financing, national and international support system for women entrepreneurship.
This inhibits them from optimally realizing their potential for economic development. Number of organizations has been working since decades in training, promoting, and financial inclusion with an objective to provide knowledge of tools and techniques that may facilitate the increase and growth of the new women entrepreneurs. Bigger and ambitious programs have been put in place and running to help planners and policy makers in designing policies that would aid women entrepreneurs, lots of tools have been designed to develop their leadership skills and business competencies however, if we observe closely one of the major constraints women face as an entrepreneurs is the lack of the recognition and also the lack of appropriate attitude towards them and their role in the economic development and the sufficient knowledge that they have regarding the understanding of the human or letâ€™s say the customer pshye. The fact can also be found that if we look at the skill set they bring in accessing the productive resources and services, finance, marketing etc.
In spite of being talented and having a viable and creative business ventures that can be very clearly seen from the Nepal context where more than 75000 micro women entrepreneurs exits as per the data of the MEDEP but still they are unable to put forward themselves, their plans effectively to the larger stakeholders because of the above talked constraints and the trust they have not been able to garner so far as a male counterpart.
A need is therefore felt for a change in the attitude of all the stakeholders of the entrepreneurial ecosystem towards the women entrepreneurship, their contributions towards economic development, their inherent skills in managing resources and their ventures. Recognizing this gap of identity, there is a need for a judicious mix of customized interventions at all the level of the ecosystem that would aid in the acceleration process of the identity crisis. The focus should also shift towards the sensitization of the concerned stakeholders towards the important issues by generating insight regarding the existing gaps in providing the assistance to the potential and existing women entrepreneurs and ways to reduce the gestation period. We would also be able create more women entrepreneurs and strengthen the existing one if we are able to develop effective policies for the growth and the development of the business, ventures owned by the women entrepreneurs because as of now we have not been able to move up, the majority to the ladder from the micro women entrepreneurs to the ladder of highly identifiable women ventures. I am afraid to say that if, we, all the stakeholders of the ecosystem are not able to work out on the identity and the acceptability of our women entrepreneurs as early as we could, this identity crisis would cost a lot, we may lose up our existing women entrepreneurial ventures and all the resources that we have been injecting and plan to inject would not pay as much as we anticipated, cause identity is something that every individual seeks and demands from the very moment they are born.
Writer is the coordinator of Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development, Kingâ€™s College