When a woman sets out to start an entrepreneurial venture, she faces challenges that are different from those that men face.

Challenges faced by women entrepreneurs

In French, the term ‘entrepreneur’ roughly translates into ‘adventurer’. When a woman embarks on this adventure in the modern world of business, the challenges can be huge.

Here are a few challenges faced by women entrepreneurs:


1. Tough competition against male counterparts

For a long time, entrepreneurship has been a field dominated by men. And while the scenario is changing, there is still a long way to go.

For example, India has the third largest start-up base in the entire world.  Over 1,000 new start-ups were added in the last year. Yet the percentage of female start-up founders in India is a measly 11%. 

2. Limited funding

Funding is crucial in order to start a business. However, a large number of Indian women do not have property or assets to their name. Hence, they encounter a problem while applying for loans due to lack of collateral. This isn't just a problem in India but across the world. A report by Bloomberg showed that women who own and run businesses receive a lot less funding as compared to what men get.

Related: Tips for women entrepreneurs to fund their businesses

3. Work-life balance

Women, across the world, are expected to play a larger part in handling a household and taking care of their family. Owning and running a business means long hours and thus, for women work-life balance can become a problem.

In the case of working mothers, taking care of their children takes up a lot of time and energy, thereby often forcing them to give less priority to their business. Men, on the other hand, generally play a secondary role when it comes to household responsibilities. However, this situation seems to be changing now as more men are stepping forward to contribute to the household responsibilities.

4. Minimal support

When you start an entrepreneurial venture and are finding your place in the business world, you need as much support as you can get. Unfortunately, in many cases, women find themselves on their own with no one to guide them. In this day and age, it is almost necessary to have experienced mentors and role models. For women, managing their business becomes even more difficult if their family and friends don’t step up to take some household and family responsibilities. As a result, it can be tough to make a mark in an arena that is already dominated by men.

Related: A working woman's guide to maintaining work-life balance

5. Lack of education

Women form 68% of the country’s illiterate population, says UNESCO’s education report.Female entrepreneurs without formal education can face numerous problems when it comes to issues such as business development, maintaining accounts, understanding money matters or even day-to-day running of the company.  Lack of skills, information and the necessary resources to run a business can reduce their chances of turning their business into a success.


Today, our country boasts of a number of successful women entrepreneurs who have created successful business brands across the world. However, the journeys have not been easy. Only when their families, investors and the society at large make conscious attempts to bring down the gender walls, women entrepreneurs would then shine in the corporate world.

Related: Here’s how Shubhra Chadda is fulfilling India’s need for ‘quirky’

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