IMPROVING WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS’ COMPETITIVENESS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

*R. Gayathiri **S. Balachandran *** K.Prakash

ABSTRACT
Women entreprenurer's have been making a significant impact in all segments of the economy in Canada, Great Britain, Germany Australia and US. The areas chosen by women are retail trade, restaurants, hotels, education, cultural, cleaning insurance and manufacturing. A Woman entrepreneur has also to perform all the functions involved in establishing an enterprise. These include idea generation, and screening, determination of objectives, project preparation, product analysis, determination of forms of business organization, completion of formal activities, raising funds, procuring men machine materials and operations of business. All business owners face certain challenges, but women, because of their gender, often have additional challenges and obstacles that their male peers are less likely to encounter. Working women who have children experience even more demands on time, energy and resources. But this does not mean women are less successful than men, in fact, statistics show that women are starting businesses at more than twice the rate of male-majority-owned businesses. The growing success rate of women entrepreneurs shows that they are resourceful, and able to succeed, despite the odds. Women often have life skills and natural abilities that are useful in businesses. Women have to build a great network; have inherent skills for negotiating, and the ability to multi-task. Single mothers are often good at delegating and budgeting; skills that they rely on to manage their families.

*Lecturer,

SNS

College

of

Engineering,

Coimbatore,

Mail

ID:

rkgayathri.mba@gmail.com, Ph.No: 9790352515 **Lecturer, Park College of Engg & Tech, Coimbatore, Mail ID: balanips@gmail.com ***Student, Park College of Engg & Tech, Coimbatore

INTRODUCTION
It is estimated that women make up one-quarter to one-third of total business population worldwide. In some countries, the growth in the number of women-owned businesses is far out-pacing the overall growth of new businesses. Women also constitute one in three of the labour force in manufacturing. However, their presence in international markets is weak. Small and medium enterprises, a sector that best represents women entrepreneurs’ productive activities, can play a key role in sustaining economic growth and equitable development in developing countries. However, due to their size, individual enterprises are usually unable to capture market opportunities which require large production quantities, adherence to standards and state-of-the-art technologies. This very characteristic of SMEs hinders internalisation of functions such as market intelligence, logistics and technology acquisition. It is through networking that SMEs can overcome problems related to their size and improve their competitive position. Information and communication technology (ICT) is spreading fast around the world. It is no doubt opening the doors for more opportunities in international trade. However, international trade is, at the same time, governed by a series of regulations and agreements that require businesses to adopt if they are to be competitive, and their products to be acceptable for consumers. This paper suggests that while ICT is an important factor to enter international trade, it does not ensure a sustained competitive position for women entrepreneurs. Some other factors are indispensable for them to better meet the challenges of globalisation and to access and succeed in export markets. These are hard technology: machinery, equipment; soft technology: skills, knowledge and information; as well as conformity with certain agreements and regulations related to standards, accreditation, environment, pollution. In order to achieve this, public and private sector institutions, NGOs, international organizations and other technical assistance institutions should develop and deliver programmes for women entrepreneurs in a coordinated and systematic fashion.

Women entreprenurer's have been making a significant impact in all segments of the economy in Canada, Great Britain, Germany Australia and US. The areas chosen by women are retail trade, restaurants, hotels, education, cultural, cleaning insurance and manufacturing. It is the group of women or single women running an enterprise or company in order to earn profit. Now days because of women empowerment women are stepping-stone into the industries and are taking the place of men. Now a day's women's are running several business like beauty parlours, switching shops, boutiques, etc. Women entrepreneurs may be defined as a woman or a group of women who initiate, organize and run a business enterprise. In terms of Schunpeterian concept of innovative entrepreneurs, women who innovate, initiate or adopt a business activity are called business entrepreneur. The Government of India has defined women entrepreneurs based on women participation in equity and employment of a business enterprise. Accordingly, a woman entrepreneur is defined as an enterprise owned and controlled by a woman having a minimum financial interest of 51% of the capital and giving at least 51% of the employment generated in the enterprise to a woman. They have made there marks in business because of the following reasons: • • • They want to improve their mettle in innovation and competitive jobs. They want the change to control the balance between their families and responsibility and their business levels. They want new challenges and opportunities for self fulfillment.

ROLE OF WOMEN AS AN ENTREPRENEUR'S
1) Imaginative: It refers to the imaginative approach or original ideas with competitive market. Well-planned approach is needed to examine the existing situation and to identify

the entrepreneurial opportunities. It further implies that women entrepreneur's have association with knowledgeable people and contracting the right organization offering support and services. 2) Attribute to work hard: Enterprising women have further ability to work hard. The imaginative ideas have to come to a fair play. Hard work is needed to build up an enterprise.. 3) Persistence: Women entrepreneurs must have an intention to fulfill their dreams. They have to make a dream transferred into an idea enterprise; Studies show that successful women work hard. 4) Ability and desire to take risk: The desire refers to the willingness to take risk and ability to the proficiency in planning making forecast estimates and calculations. 5) Profit earning capacity: she should have a capacity to get maximum return out of invested capital. A Woman entrepreneur has also to perform all the functions involved in establishing an enterprise. These include idea generation, and screening, determination of objectives, project preparation, product analysis, determination of forms of business organization, completion of formal activities, raising funds, procuring men machine materials and operations of business.

FUNCTIONS OF A WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR'S
Fredrick Harbiscon, has enumerated the following five functions of a women entrepreneur's : • • Exploration of the prospects of starting a new business enterprise. Undertaking a risk and handling of economic uncertainties involved in business.

• • •

Introduction of innovations, imitations of innovations. Co ordination, administration and control. Supervision and leadership.

In nutshell, women entrepreneur are those women who think of a business enterprise, initiate it organize and combine the factors of production, operate the enterprise, undertake risk enterprise. and handle economic uncertainties involved in running a business

WOMEN OWNED BUSINESS HELPS KEEP THE ECONOMY GROWING
According to the non profit, Washington D.C. –based centre for women's business Research, women's entrepreneurship is growing dramatically and has been one of the defining trends of the past decade." The significance of women owned business is documented in four reports issued by the CWBR: • • • • Seizing the opportunities by wells Fargo provides a detailed overview of women – owned entrepreneurship. Location, Location by Wells Fargo identifies the regions and states in which women –owned business are flourishing. Access to Market by fleet Boston explores the opportunities and obstacles women encounter in entering corporate markets. Methods that work by PepsiCo foundation identify the strategies women can use to launch and successfully launch business. According to CWBR, there are 6.2 million privately held majority (50% or more) women owned businesses in the U.S.employing 9.2 million workers and contributing $1.15 trillion to the economy. Half of all privately Owned business in the U.S. are owned by women, and between 1997 to 2005 women owned business grew at thrice the rate of

all businesses. Together, women owned businesses and those owned equally by men and women number 10.2 million employ more than 18 million workers and generate $2.32 trillion. According to Women in the economy, a study conducted by Government of India, there are approximately 10 million homes based Business in India and 55,000 of them generate more than $1 million in revenue each year. Beneath the numbers, Experts say, are trends that are vital to the growing economy chief among which is entrepreneurism. The small business Administration's global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2002, a 21 country study of the connection between entrepreneurship and economic activity, found that economic growth is directly related to the level of entrepreneurial activity, and that where entrepreneurism is high, so too is the level of involvement of women. Michael Hay, Professor at London Business School, puts it this way:" countries that are able to replenish the stock of businesses and jobs are best placed to compete effectively. Put differently women owned businesses ride the wave of entrepreneurism and entrepreneurism rides the wave of healthy economic activity generally.

REASONS FOR STARTING AND CONTINUING BUSINESS BY WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR
1. Money: The desire and need to generate income in households where incomes have been reduced or where wage Earners have been laid off. 2. Demographics: Divorce and family dislocation have been incentives for start up's fewer than 1/3rd of all women entrepreneurs are married and living with their spouses.

3. Technology: Technology makes it possible for women to work productively from home and to stay actively involved in the lives of their children. 27% of women with home based businesses have children under the age of 18, 25% have children as young as 6 years old and 30% have children less than 6 years old. To a much greater extent than men (56 to 48%), women starts businesses to supplement income and to manage family responsibilities. Women-owned businesses are no passing fad. They are crucial to a healthy economy. They typically require little or no investment, they can be headquartered in the home, and they give women flexibility in balancing their work and family lives. Technology allows the cultivation of clients nationwide and even worldwide and there are lots of resources to help women get started. The greatest advantage of owning a business, According to Ashley:" Working for yourself makes all the difference because you can do thing's the way you know are right so that your work speaks your values, beliefs, and ethics at the same time you are providing a necessary service.

WOMEN IN ECONOMIC LEADERSHIP
Women economic empowerment is the policy level priority to bring the previously neglected half of Indian population in to the mainstream of economy. The Financial Express was face to face with a few women who are empowered and work for the development of other women entrepreneurs. The evident fact is that women are half of the total; their contribution to the economy is unrecognized in most cases. They are underrepresented in many economic sectors. These discouraging figures turn momentarily pale when it is seen that, among women a good number are successful and have scaled to the peak where many men find it hard to reach. They are mentors for

hundreds of thousands of women particularly in business having the qualities like hard work, devotion, sincerity, professionalism and significant managerial capacity. According to Laila Kabir a noted Entrepreneur: "If women get the opportunity to develop as entrepreneurs, I think they can do very well because they very early in life learns to manage available resources and time successfully" And it is very true because women are far more better Managers as compared to their Male counterparts because they learn Management not in Schools but through real life Experiences. The biggest challenge that many literate and illiterate women in rural and urban areas faces in entering into small industry as entrepreneurs is due to the lack of knowledge on product, Market and Quality and its to be seen that some committee should be constituted and the recommendations which are placed should be implemented in phases to root out the problems mentioned above. According to Noted women Entrepreneur Anu Aga C.E.O Thermax Industries Ltd., Every woman has the potential to be an Entrepreneur and it can be developed through nurturing skills and ideas. According to her women in business attain success for their intelligence, efficiency, commitment and Honesty. But she said that women in our country have to earn an extra quality to consider the society and it's norms and values for the sake of business and added that although it is an added burden on them but this consideration helps them to stand beside the men as equals, however she feels that the big thirst for finance and knowing the Markets created among women need to be satisfied through taking necessary steps by all stakeholders including Banks and the Government. In the End there is an urgent need for establishing a Women Development Bank (WDB), a separate and independent bank for women, in the rural and remote areas after observing that a large number of women fail to compete with the male entrepreneurs in receiving bank loans and assistance.

The government of India should acknowledge the importance of Entrepreneurs and provide assistance to groom entrepreneurs especially in the wake of liberalization policy. At the same time, the education system should be revamped so as to groom female Entrepreneurs. Every economy has recognized the need of having entrepreneurs. In fact in the U.S. and most of the developed countries, as much as 36% of the total working class are entrepreneurs. Our future rests squarely upon the entrepreneurial ventures founded by creative, adventurous individuals. People who seize opportunities, who harness and use resources in usual ways to emerge into the new era with a flourish.

HOW TO DEVELOP WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
Right efforts on from all areas are required in the development in the development of women entrepreneurs and the participation in the entrepreneurial activities. Following efforts can be taken in to account for effective development of women Entrepreneurs and in turn resulting in the economic development of the country. • • • • • • • • • Consider women as specific target group for all the developmental activities. Better educational facilities and schemes should be extended to women folk from government. Adequate training programme on management skills to be provided to women community. Encourage women participation in the decision making. Vocational training to be extended to women community that enables them to understand the production process and production Management. Skill development to be done in women polytechnics and ITI's. Training on professional competence and leadership skills to be extended to women Entrepreneurs. Training and counseling on a large scale of existing women Entrepreneurs to remove psychological causes like lack of self confidence and fear of success. Continuous monitoring and improvement of training programmes.

• • • • • •

Industrial Estates could also provide marketing outlets for the display and sale of products made by women Entrepreneur. Repeated gender sensitization programmes should be held to train financiers to treat women dignity and respect as persons in their own Right. Training in entrepreneurial attitudes should start at the high school level through well design courses, which build confidence through behavioral games. More governmental schemes to motivate women entrepreneurs to engage in small scale and small scale business ventures. District Industries Centres and single window agencies should make use of assisting women trade and business guidance. Involvement of Non governmental Organization in women entrepreneurial Training Programmes and counseling.

OVERCOMING CHALLENGES FACING WOMEN IN BUSINESS
All business owners face certain challenges, but women, because of their gender, often have additional challenges and obstacles that their male peers are less likely to encounter. Working women who have children experience even more demands on time, energy and resources. But this does not mean women are less successful than men, in fact, statistics show that women are starting businesses at more than twice the rate of male-majority-owned businesses. The growing success rate of women entrepreneurs shows that they are resourceful, and able to succeed, despite the odds. There are three major areas where women business owners may face challenges, less common to men in business: • • Gender Discrimination and Stereotyping Dual Career-Family Pressures

Lack of Equal Opportunities in Certain Industries

HOW WOMEN CAN OVERCOME BUSINESS CHALLENGES
Women often have life skills and natural abilities that are useful in businesses. Women tend to be great net workers, have inherent skills for negotiating, and the ability to multitask. Single mothers are often good at delegating and budgeting; skills that they rely on to manage their families. Specific strategies to help women entrepreneurs succeed include: • • • • • Create a Strong Network Consider Certifying as a Women-Owned Business Understand the Power of the Internet Learn New Ways to Balance Work and Life Get Inspiration and Advice From by Other Women Succeeding in Business

IMPROVING

&

ENHANCED

WOMEN

ENTREPRENEURS’

COMPETITIVENESS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY 1. WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS IN INDUSTRIAL

DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE:
Women’s small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) constitute a seedbed for entrepreneurship development and are an important source for the emerging private sector in developing countries. They naturally play an important role for private sector

led growth. Taking into account that women constitute one in three of the global labour force in manufacturing, the importance of women entrepreneurship development becomes even more obvious for promoting and sustaining industrial development. Society recognizes that the participation of women in industrial production is a means of empowering women economically which results in better education, better health and child care. Women’s economic empowerment leads in many instances to more social recognition and less discrimination. It is also widely recognized that promoting small entrepreneurship may lead to a more equitable distribution of income thus contributing to poverty alleviation. Particularly, as women are more affected by poverty worldwide, promotion of women entrepreneurship and boosting of women’s businesses become all the more important. It is estimated that women make up one-quarter to one-third of total business population worldwide. In some countries, such as United States and Canada, the growth in the number of women owned businesses is far out-pacing the overall growth of new businesses.1 In the United States, women entrepreneurs are called the new heroes of economic development. Their enterprises expand and grow at a fast pace in all walks of life, from catering to information technology. However, women’s entrepreneurial endeavours are not without constraints and problems. Some are due to stereotype discrimination, others are related to their limited training, limited access to economic opportunities, information and technology, particularly in the developing countries. In order to be competitive in national and international markets, women should not be constrained by these limitations. Increased participation of women entrepreneurs in national and global economies can be promoted through the creation of an enabling environment with policy measures addressing impediments to women’s businesses, training and improved access to new technologies. Women entrepreneurs often face difficulties in gaining market access as their products do not enjoy comparative advantages. They are unable to meet either quality requirements or environmental regulations imposed by the markets due to their inadequate skills, low level of technologies and production techniques.

Lack of modern marketing techniques or information further hampers them to export their products. Moreover, particularly in the case of Africa, women entrepreneurs face increasingly competitive threats from large Asian developing countries. Thus it becomes imperative that through various interventions and support services, they become capable of participating in the global value chain of industrial production. This requires not only knowledge and skills but also information access and absorptive capacity of new technologies. Collective efficiency in terms of networking and clustering of enterprises is another aspect that contributes to this process particularly as it relates to the (SME) sector where women entrepreneurs are most involved.

2. NETWORK

AND

CLUSTER

DEVELOPMENT

AMONG

SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES:
While small and medium enterprises, a sector that best represents women entrepreneurs’ productive activities, can play a key role in sustaining economic growth and equitable development in developing countries, this potential is often not tapped fully. This is mainly due to problems attributed to the size of their enterprises. Individual enterprises are usually unable to capture market opportunities which require large production quantities, standards and state-of-the-art technology. This very characteristic of SMEs hinders internalisation of functions such as market intelligence, logistics and technology innovation. It also constitutes a hurdle to capture new market opportunities or to open up to international markets. It is through networking that SMEs can overcome problems related to their size and improve their competitive position. Due to the fact that they often share common problems, they can also support each other. This is evidently a situation which could create competitive advantages for women entrepreneurs. Through horizontal cooperation, i.e. with other enterprises occupying the same position in the value chain, women entrepreneurs can demonstrate collective efficiency in achieving optimal scale in the use of machinery and pool together their production and marketing capacities. Through vertical cooperation, i.e. with other SMEs as well as with large-scale enterprises in the value chain, women entrepreneurs can

better specialise in their area of production, exchange information and knowledge to improve product quality and technologies. This will enable them to capture more profitable niches in both domestic and international markets.. Local support institutions are strengthened to act as facilitators of the networking process and common development projects are undertaken.

3.

ACQUIRING

NEW

TECHNOLOGIES

MAY

BE

EASIER

THROUGH SME NETWORKS AND CLUSTERS
Helping an SME cluster to articulate its needs more effectively is an important step addressing the relationships between enterprises and business development service (BDS) providers. A great deal of work is required to ensure that BDS providers respond to the newly emerging demands and use their skills and competence to provide the services needed by enterprises. Once a consensus is reached among the entrepreneurs in the cluster, a dialogue starts between the provider and the clients as a result of which pilot product or service development takes place. This was very clearly demonstrated by the introduction of information technology in the cluster of Ludhiana, in India: Adoption of IT was high on the agenda of the hosiery cluster of Ludhiana but was prohibitively expensive due to the non-existence of a point of presence in the area. - improving the linkages among the cluster actors - enhancing the design production and marketing capacity of the firms - developing a product image (including a common brand) in line with current market demand - improving and increasing the types of business development services available to the cluster, including training in ICT. Therefore, several networks were promoted and an export consortium, Consortium of Textile Exporters, was formed. New products and designs were introduced, a common brand image was promoted, all accompanied by marketing

courses, including joint participation in trade fairs. In addition, a credit scheme was promoted. The clusters are now being given ICT courses to be able to have access to global networks. All businesses, small, medium and large, have been affected in various ways by recent global economic events. In order to accelerate industrialization, it is necessary to create growth potential and improve the competitiveness of industrial enterprises. This requires having easy access to information on skills, capital, technology, export markets, raw material supplies and other value-added or support services.

CONCLUSION
Women entreprenurer's have been making a significant impact in all segments of the economy in Canada, Great Britain, Germany Australia and US. The areas chosen by women are retail trade, restaurants, hotels, education, cultural, cleaning insurance and manufacturing. A Woman entrepreneur has also to perform all the functions involved in establishing an enterprise. These include idea generation, and screening, determination of objectives, project preparation, product analysis, determination of forms of business organization, completion of formal activities, raising funds, procuring men machine materials and operations of business. Women entrepreneurs face lots of challenges. This paper highlights various strategies which can be adopted by a women entrepreneur to overcome their challenges which includes Creating a Strong Network, by understand the Power of the Internet, by learning new Ways to Balance Work and Life, by getting Inspiration and Advice From by Other Women Succeeding in Business

REFERENCES
1. http://www.indiatogether.org/women/business/renuka.htm 2. http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/s-k-dhameja/women-entrepreneursopportunities-performance-problems/8176294071.html 3. http://www.leadingwomen.org/Index2.asp

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