The woman entrepreneur is that woman who can organize all the factors of production, undertake risks, and run a business. Before the 20th century, women operated small businesses as a way of supplementing their income. At that time, the ventures that these women undertook were neither thought of as entrepreneurial nor were they given credit for their effort.
However, that gap is closing quickly as women are entering the workforce in their numbers and they are gaining managerial experience and necessary skills required to succeed as entrepreneurs. Some women’s decision to start a business is based on flexibility; they see it as an ideal way to juggle the competing demands of family and improving their livelihoods. The disparity in the salaries and wages that women earn as compared to men on average has motivated some women into setting up businesses to earn income to support family.
CATEGORIES OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
• Affluent Entrepreneurs: These are daughters and wives of wealthy business men. These women have the necessary resources and financial aid to start a new enterprise.
• Pulled Entrepreneurs: These are educated women living in urban areas with or without work experience who take the risk of a new enterprise with the help of financial institutions and commercial banks. These women take up a new challenge in order to be financially dependent
• Pushed Entrepreneurs: These women take up a business activity in order to overcome financial difficulties. Widows and single moms fall into this category, they venture into new businesses primarily due to family predicaments.
• Rural Entrepreneurs: These are women who live (or setup businesses) in rural communities. Majority of them are semi-educated or uneducated. Their business requires low startup capital with an almost zero risk. They make just enough money to cater for themselves and family.
Corruption, favoritism, price, availability of raw materials and financial constraints are some of the problems the woman entrepreneur faces. Mobility, responsibilities and over dependence on their male counterparts has also proven to be a hindrance.
In recent years women entrepreneurs have been moving rapidly into manufacturing, construction, and other industrial fields. Women business owners still face greater difficulties in gaining access to commercial credit and bidding on government contracts than do their male colleagues, and pockets of resistance to women entrepreneurs remain strong in some industries and geographic regions. However, millions of successful businesses launched and managed by women have been a testament to the legitimacy of the aspirations and talents of the woman entrepreneur. We believe it can only get better from here.