Startup City Magazine
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Woman Special: Woman Entrepreneurs, from Ancient Period to Modern Day


Woman Special: Woman Entrepreneurs, from Ancient Period to Modern Day

Women are described as the better half on men. They play a key role in the conservation of basic life support systems like land, water, flora, and fauna. In Hindu scriptures, women are described as the embodiment of Shakti that means a source of power. Today, their role has changed. A woman is a driver of a family and in turn nation. And, they do not want to bid their lives in the four walls of the room. They are leaving their marks in different parts of life, and the entrepreneurial world is not an exception.

 In the 21st century, business women as entrepreneurs are the highest rising entrepreneurial populations in the country. Women entrepreneurship has been recognized as an important source of the economic process.  They produce new employment themselves and others and spring up with amazing solutions for society to management, organization and business problems.  They make a strong contribution to the economy in the well-being of the family and communities, reducing poverty, and women‘s empowerment.

As it is said, Rom was not built in a day. The development of women in the business world is a long process; it starts from the early centuries and reaches in modern India after going through a lot of changes and transformations.


The concept of entrepreneur came into enlightenment in the 19th century especially the term “women entrepreneurs”.  The story of entrepreneurship development begun in ancient India. Entrepreneurship basically incorporates the function of seeing investment and producing opportunity, organizing an enterprise to undertake ventures on production and service.

Considering the participation of women in ancient India, it is found that the Rig Vedic Age women were the co-partners in life. Study indicates that Indian woman enjoyed a high status during the early Vedic period surpassing contemporary civilizations. The traditional role of a Hindu wife was precisely laid down in Hindu Literature. In earlier societies, women’s role was limited to family; they played an effective role as homemaker.

18th-19th Century

During the mid 18th century, Indian women used to own certain businesses like retail shops, and small handloom business and more. During the 18th and 19th centuries, more women came out from under the domination of society’s limits and began to rise into the public eye. But before the 20th-century women were running a business as a way of supplementing income.

In modern India, though during British era reforms have been made to improvise the status of women, it was only after independence, they enjoyed privileges. According to the constitution, women as similar to men, and various provisions are introduced for upliftment.

20th Century

In the early 20s, the involvement of women and their contribution were pretty noticeable. The figure of businesswomen has expanded, mainly in the 1990s. Women came forward to utilize modern techniques, investments, finding a niche in the market and creating sizable employment or other.

The Industrial Policy Resolution of 1991 has highlighted the need to grow women entrepreneurship programs. As per the 1981 Census Report, there were 1.5 lakhs self-employed women in India that were 5.2% of the total self-employed people of the country. According to Government of India reports, “Women start small-scale industries exclusively run by a female, there are more than 2, 95,680 business women claiming 11.2% of total 2.64 million entrepreneurs in the country during 1995-96.

Multifarious factors like urbanization, technological advancement and educational status of women have transformed their conditions. The presence of women in economic development in the unorganized sector, organized sector, self-employment, and entrepreneurship is encouraging.

The status and role of women have changed rapidly. The thoroughly domesticated ladies who could not think beyond the welfare of their families now awakened to action. They have a great desire to progress that is awakening of their dormant individuality. Women hold enough talent and skills to occupy predominate positions.

With the introduction of liberalization, privatization, and globalization in 1991, the Indian economy has been working through a radical change. Woman entrepreneurs are gaining prominent importance, and they are finically supported by the banks and encouragement by family. Apart from vocational education to moment to climb the stairs of success

Present Day

In the contemporary world, there exist a plethora of successful business women entrepreneurs in different fields in India. They are performing well and scraping their success stories. Government has also introduced numerous schemes like National Skill Development Policy and National Skill Development Mission to bring skill training, vocational education, and entrepreneurship program for the emerging workforce. However, entrepreneurship development and skill training is not the only responsibility of the government and therefore other stakeholders need to shoulder the responsibility.

According to the Hindu scriptures, women are the embodiment of “Shakti”. But in actual life, they are treated as Abla. Women are leaving the workforce in favour of working at home. Not to be a homemaker but as employment-creating business owners. The rising participation of women entrepreneurs has transformed the demographic characteristics of the business and economic growth of the country. Businesses owned by female power are playing a more active role in society and the economy, inspiring academics to focus on this interesting phenomenon.

Here, there are top women entrepreneurs in a different business sphere of India.

  • Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (Chairman & MD, Biocon Ltd.)
  • Indra Nooyi (CFO, Pepsico)
  • Shahnaz Husain (Herbal Beauty Queen)
  • Naina Lal Kidwai (Group General Manager & Country Head–HSBC, India)
  • Ekta Kapoor (JMD & Creative Director, Balaji Telefilms),
  • Chanda Kochar (MD & CEO, ICICI Bank)
  • Jyoti nayak (President, Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad)
  • Preetha Reddy (MD,  Apollo Hospitals)

While innovation, entrepreneurship, science, and technology activities are today increasingly being dominated by women in India, there still exist significant gaps before women can achieve parity with men. Women entrepreneurs mainly suffer gender-based hurdles at the initial phase of their businesses such as marital status, discriminatory property, and inheritance laws and also cultural practices; access to formal finance mechanisms; restricted mobility and access to information and networks, etc.

Though, the globe, as well as varied developmental organizations, is actively endeavouring promotion of women entrepreneurs through numerous schemes, incentives, and promotional measures. But the availability of finance and other facilities like land and industrial support is often constrained by restrictions that do not account for practical realities. Funding facility is not available for the field in which women are mainly involved. Here there are major obstacles that women face in their success path:

  • Lack of Education and Knowledge
  • Short Of Self-Confidence
  • Market Risks
  • Socio-Cultural Barriers
  • Capital Amount
  • Male Dominated  Society and more

In terms of growth, there needs to be an increase into his quality and quantity of investors, the government needs to still continue reducing the administrative burden on women entrepreneurs and connect with their agencies to make sure that required resources are directed where they are needed.

Earlier, the role of women entrepreneurship was limited to only in handloom and handicraft but present-day, their aspects have broadened into different industries including hospitality, salon business, incense stick making, candle making, etc.

Empower Woman Entrepreneurs in India:

These are some outstanding ways to encourage women entrepreneurs:

  • Consider women as specific target group for all developmental programmers.
  • Better educational facilities and schemes government part
  • Effective training programme on management skills for women community
  • Encourage women’s participation in decision-making.
  • Vocational training for production process and production management
  • Skill development polytechnics and industrial training institutes
  • Training on professional competence and leadership skill

 Many  women entrepreneurs have entered in trade with  low capital,  lack of technical  knowledge, and  working in production of soaps, detergents, ready-made  instant food products  as well as  pickles, spices, papad,  manufacturing  of  wooden  product,  salon  business, typewriting  centre,  job  contracts  for  packaging  of  products and  distribution  and  household  provision  etc successfully. 

Policies and Schemes for Business Women

Presently, government is running 27 schemes for women to empower them in business world. Some of them are given below:

  • Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP)
  • Khadi And Village Industries Commission (KVIC)
  • Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM)
  • Prime Minister„s Rojgar Yojana (PMRY)
  • Assistance to Rural Women in Non-Farm Development (ARWIND)
  • schemes
  • Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD)
  • Working Women„s Forum
  • Indira Mahila Kendra
  • Mahila Samiti Yojana
  • Mahila Vikas Nidhi
  • Micro Credit Scheme
  • Womens Development Corporations (WDCs)
  • Marketing of Non-Farm Products of Rural Women (MAHIMA)
  • Entrepreneurial Development programme (EDPs)
  • Management Development progammes
  • Indira Mahila Yojana
  • Rashtriya Mahila Kosh
  • SIDBI„s Mahila Udyam Nidhi


Women have become equal participants in various respects at all levels of society. There are women that have shown into the industrial sector and earned both name and fame in and outside the country.  The future will see more female powers venturing into a different field. It will lead to income generation and a greater sense of fulfilled among them.

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