The Challenges In Creating Textile Entrepreneurs Business Essay


Entrepreneurs are the people who have the courage to take the risks and make important engagements to get a new or an existing business going, where as a woman entrepreneur is someone who is willing to pass all the hurdles of economic uncertainity and society to create something new. Entrepreneurship is a global phenomenon that has been on boost since a quite a long time. Economic development of any country is not complete only by its physical resources but also by the proper advancement and application of its human resources as well. [Sherly Thomas (2011)]

Since entrepreneurship is simulates as gender-neutral and its definition has never been based on a particular gender, therefore it can be extended to females without any restrictions. Entry of women in an organized business or women starting a new business is quite a new phenomenon. In past, women were considered inappropriate for entrepreneurship because there was a general feeling that women lack confidence and organizational skills for starting a new venture. [Dr. Kumar Prabhakar (2012)] By entering into various professions and industries, women have proved themselves capable enough and to be on par to their men counterparts in businesses by breaking the constraints within the four walls of their houses. [G. Palaniappan, C. S. Ramanigopal, A. Mani (2012)]

For a country like India, its quite important to promote entrepreneurship and self-employment, since India is troubled by the twin problems; one of increasing unemployment and the other of growing population. [Dr. Chandrashekhar (2012)] The approach of women entrepreneurship in India is a recent sensation. For instance, according to Forbes (2012) India is considered to be a great place for women entrepreneurs according to business polling studies but still India is the worst place to be a woman according to human rights studies and Dell company’s chairman - Amit Midha mentioned that according to the study conducted by Dell, in 2012, India could be an ideal country for women to start their businesses [IBNLive (2012)]. In order to put their talents and capabilities to maximum use, women entrepreneurs should stay aware about the opportunities and chances available to them. In India, changing economic situations like liberalization and globalization have given women opportunities to become professional and take up jobs in order to secure a downright source of income. Even though women have played an important and distinctive role in Indian society but still their entrepreneurial skills have not been given enough consideration because of the lack of education, societal pressure, low status in society and mainly because of old traditional values. [Meenu Goyal, Jai Prakash (2011)]

Well established and wise firms try to put focus on 2 major problems for professional women in emerging economies; first, taking care of their aging parents and commuting. Many major companies make it flexible for their women employees to work from home. Ernst and Young, organizes family days in an attempt to show the parents what their daughters have achieved and also offer medical cover for parents. Many big companies in India, the UAE and Brazil provide services like late-night shuttle buses; female-only taxi companies etc. for their female staff members in order to avoid any inconveniences for them. [The Economist (2011)] In a nutshell, it is essential to broaden the role of women which is not only limited to her household responsibility. There are many areas which are unexplored where women can prove to be successful entrepreneurs. To understand why these barriers exist and how the motivations of individual female entrepreneurs are influenced by different social and economic contexts in which they start their business, requires constant scrutiny. The absence of adequate levels of such scrutiny in the Indian context provides the researcher with the opportunity to investigate critical issues about female entrepreneurship which could important implications for theory, policy and practice.

Textile Industry in India and scope for Women Entrepreneurs in the industry

Textile sector of India is one of the largest and is as old as world textile industry. The Indian technical textile industry offers vast opportunities for small and medium enterprises which plays an important role in Indian economy in terms of development, employment and growth. Small scale sector has enormous opportunities since it requires less capital, adding more to its benefits are factors like government support, reservation for exclusive manufacture by small scale sector & exclusive purchase by the government, finance & subsidies, raw material & machinery Procurement, manpower training, export promotion etc. [Uma Ramaswamy and Sarath Davala (1992)] Textile industry in India is also the only industry that has employed women since a very long time. Women have also enjoyed the benefits like sickness benefits, security of employment, bonus, etc. while working in this industry. The gender gap in wages in manufacturing industry is one of the main reasons of the contrasting distribution of men and women workers of various branches. Moreover, in India, from beginning garment manufacturing has always been one of the most women oriented sectors. But over the decades, women have been replaced by men in the mills and the reduction in women employment in textile sector has been quite abrupt. [Sherly Thomas (2011)]

Even after so many opportunities and options available for Indian women for their entrepreneurial ventures, there are various constraints such as; lack of confidence, motivational factors, market oriented risks, socio-cultural backgrounds, lack of awareness about financial assistance, administration knowledge & experience and lack of knowledge about available resources that stop women in India from becoming successful entrepreneurs. There is a need for encouragement for educated, technically sound and professionally qualified women to manage their own business, rather than depending on wage employment outlets. There is also a need to explore & identify the talents of young women for various types of industries in order to increase the productivity in the industrial sector. There is also a longing for a desirable environment for woman entrepreneurs in India to develop their entrepreneurial values and encourage them to involve more in business dealings. [Asghar Afshar Jahanshahi, Prof. Dr. Bairagi Kachardas Pitamber, Khaled Nawaser (2010)]

There has been an addition to the number of women entrepreneurship in more developed countries and it has been growing in less developed economies as well as an apparatus for women to survive, help and support their families [Gordon (2000)]. Many situations relating to women’s decisions of becoming entrepreneurs have been identified by Muriel Orhan, Don Scott, (2001) such as no other choice, pure entrepreneur, informed entrepreneur, entrepreneurship by chance, forced entrepreneurship and natural succession. Initially, the Mumbai city of India was considered to be "Manchester of East" but now due to growing urbanization there, it is becoming more of a land market. Textile industry slowly has been now pushed to other states of India, specially Gujarat and Madras which are now attracting world textile buyers. Even though India is showing a good growth of women entrepreneurs in terms of other industries but when compared with other developing countries, women entrepreneurship in India does not seems to grow in terms of textile industry. [M.Gurusamy; P.Umamaheswari; DR.N.Rajasekar (2012)]

From psychological, educational and business point of view, the development of women entrepreneur in small scale textile manufacturing industries is still at early stage. Female participation in the textile industry in Surat (Gujarat, India) has not reached an impressive amount due to lack of proper education and support. Successful women entrepreneurs are not very readily seen in the textile industry because of absence of basic understanding of the industry which is influenced by proper channeling of information and support. I will try to demonstrate these points in my proposed research.

Rationale and Objectives

In last few years there has been a considerable growth in the number of women starting businesses in India. Therefore, because of this there is also an increase in the interest and level of research around this area. However, most of the researches conducted in this area are more concentrated on examining the differences between male and female business owners rather than on the contrast which prevails between women entrepreneurs from various industry sectors.

In the present entrepreneurship literature, it seems that women are not properly represented; hence there is a need to concentrate more on female entrepreneurs. This research, in particular, intends to understand why female entrepreneurs avoid entering into textile manufacturing in India and what are the challenges and issues they face. Understanding of this aspect may help to understand the factors and barriers that hinder women entrepreneur’s participation in textile industry; i.e. the reasons for not starting small scale textile manufacturing units or not working in them. As mentioned earlier, that if women entrepreneurs are encouraged then this will increase the overall level of entrepreneurship and also levels of economic growth in India.

The sectoral dimension of female entrepreneurship is of particular significance for researchers and policy makers. If female entrepreneurs face particular difficulties in starting a new enterprise in general, then there is the possibility of sectoral factors that can impact on entrepreneurs. These include possible high levels of male participation, direct or indirect discrimination and poor access to information for women who are underrepresented. These can create greater problems for women.

Based on the above, the objectives of this study are:

To carry out original research on women entrepreneurs in India and especially in the regional context of Surat focusing specifically on the textiles industry

To examine the start up and early stage development of Indian female entrepreneurs and how the findings relate to a better and more refined understanding of women entrepreneurs generally

To examine critical issues on success factors in female enterprises (especially start-ups) by women in India barriers

To identify local barriers for women (in Indian context), especially in the textile sector for starting and growing their businesses.


In India, textile industry has an astounding effect on the economic development. Because of textile industry’s augmentation to the industrial output, generating employment and earnings, the industry plays a vital role in Indian economy. India’s beetling part in production of textiles emerges from it wealth and natural resources. The performance of this sector inculcates confidence and adaptability of small scale textile sector, when viewed against the advancement of the industry sector as a whole. [Export-Import Bank of India (2008)]

It is important for women to play an important role in the overall development of Indian economy by taking part in entrepreneurial activities in all possible industrial sectors because women constitute 50 percent of the total population. The opportunities available for women in this modern era are facilitating them to turn from job seekers to job creators. In India, even though women are prospering as designers, interior decorators, exporters, publishers and are exploring new approaches to economic participation, but still the entrepreneurial world is still dominates by males. Hence it has now become necessary for women entrepreneurs to explore all types of prospects and grab the opportunities for their professional betterment. Moreover, the development of women entrepreneurs is more important because many small and medium firms are well operated and organized by women, though this aspect is less recognized. There are many reasons for why women should enter into small scale textile entrepreneurial ventures in a predominantly society. Entrepreneurship among women can help them to overcome their vulnerability within the family and the society as a whole.

Generally, women are assumed as those who undertake businesses which of anticipated lines such as tailoring, knitting, pickle manufacturing, etc. It is a fact that women do engage in such ventures in order to generate income for their families, and they usually are involved in such activities because these are home based and it is a common perception in India that women are good in the kitchen or as a housewife. But even though such barriers exist, still women are trying to overcome these obstacles and enter into the business world. No doubt they have to overcome many frustrations, struggles and many drawbacks to come into existence as entrepreneurs and eventually becoming successful in their businesses, but this is what makes their entrance and achievements in the entrepreneurial world more meaningful.

Being born in Surat, one of the fastest growing cities and the "textile hub" of India, I have always observed that the small scale textile industries are still unexplored by Indian women entrepreneurs. All the manufacturing units and the whole textile trading market is dominated and run solely by men. Young women like me, who belong to middle class or upper middle class of the society and have a degree in textile designing or textile engineering, face many challenges while trying to start a new business or work in the small scale textile manufacturing units. The old trends are changing in modern emerging India, therefore, a women entrepreneur also has many functions like any other male entrepreneur. She should explore the possibilities of starting a new business, undertake risks, administrate & control the business and provide effective leadership in all aspects of business.

An Overview of the Literature

Entrepreneurs are likely to have many common attributes including the facets like innovation and creativity, far sightedness, inspiration and risk taking capabilities. Theories that concerning to the factors and reasons for people becoming entrepreneurs are inclined to analyze the internal attributes of the entrepreneurs or external factors or the influencing factors like lack of employment opportunities, supporting government initiatives and frustration at work. [Lewis (2006), Mordi (2010) and Singh (2010)]

Women entrepreneurs are the women who participate in all the entrepreneurial exercises, who are willing to take the risks involved in connecting the resources with each other in such a unique way that it gives the chance to take advantage of the opportunities that are present. Most of the women entrepreneurs are involved in small and medium sized businesses, which constitute more than 97% of all businesses, 60% of the country’s GDP, 94% of the total portion of the employment [Mayoux (2001), Ndubusi (2004)]. The panorama of females in entrepreneurship can be classified from home-based businesses to micro to small, medium businesses [ILO (1998)]. Usually, female entrepreneurs share the same set of motivations with their male equivalents [Kerka (1993)]. The expanding frame of literature is appearing to study the process of women leadership as small enterprise owners along with a wide array of dimensions modeling from much different point of views. Qualitative studies done in the past five years indicate issues that are related to meaning, values and identity of the leadership appearing in this flow of women business ownership [Gay (1997), Robertson (1997), Thrasher and Smid (1998)]. For instance, women do not always accept the leading formula of success equals power and money. Many women start their own businesses with an intention to develop new methods of working and many of them continue to rebel against the obstacles that are related to traditional expectations and many of them claim that the overall experience have extremely changed them.

Studies related to gender- comparison are inclined on psychological attributes like the ability to take risks [(Masters and Meier (1988) Sexton and Bowman-Upton (1990)] leadership aspects like the levels of education and experiences [Bowen and Hisrich (1986)] and styles of networking [Aldrich, Reece, and Dubini (1989)]. The problem lies in the tradition of metaphorical approach; many designs are used to analyze women’s small business administrative approach and wishes continue to derive from male orientations. Feminist writers like Hart (1992) have focused on the restrictions and conflicting male administrative patterns executed on women’s experiences. On the other hand, in small business literature women at times are described as lacking & requiring training to cope up with the traditional business models (men) measuring success based on growth, size and profit.

The focus of many early studies were the psychological attributes of female business owners [Watkins and Watkins (1983), Hisrich and Brush (1987)] displaying historical interest in the psychological profiles and administrative success. Recent studies have been focused on women’s personal development and changes related to their administrative experiences in small businesses. This brings into limelight the importance of women’s struggles with personal changes and identities in running their own businesses [Wells (1998), Fenwick (1998), MacKeracher (1996), Albert (1992)]. The motivations for women starting their own businesses and leading them have been documented in various studies (NFWBO (1999), Lee and Rogoff (1997)] in order to brighten up the desires and needs of women administrators who select ownerships instead of organizational positions. Their reasons for starting new businesses includes a wide range like, challenges related to them, fulfilling their desires, better work-life adjustability, etc.

In recent years, women entrepreneurship has been recognized as a possible contributing element for the development of the economy. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research [Allien (2007), Bosma (2008)], women’s entrepreneurial activities have been the valuable benefactor to the economic growth in many countries, especially in emerging economies. Entrepreneurship, in many countries, is also becoming an increasingly pivotal source of employment for women. There are at 2 main directions in literature on women entrepreneurship – first, the personal motivations and the other is social/environmental factors that investigate the role of the individual in creating a new business and in the entrepreneurial process [Neergard (2005)].

The argumentation on encouraging entrepreneurship among women is a recent phenomenon in India. Present literature indicates that the most common issues faced by Indian women entrepreneurs in small scale industries are gender inequality, lack of education and support from the families, sexual harassment, complicated government policies, etc. Secondly, male dominant society is coming in their way towards business success. Male associates consider it a big risk in financing the new or existing ventures run by women. Family obligations of educated women belonging to upper class or middle also hinder their aims of becoming successful entrepreneurs. On the other hand, in general the low level of education and confidence results in the reduction of the levels of achievement and development motivations among women to involve in such business activities and running a business enterprise [Minnitti (2009)].

According to a study conducted by Margaret Meaning and Anne Jardim (1979) about women at managerial position by examining the history of 25 women’s life and career at the top management position in business and industry. The study revealed that women are capable of building enormously successful careers in management even without legal pressures to help them. The study also revealed that the prices they had to pay like; they had to mortgage their personal lives to pay for their careers. The most important attribute for women entrepreneurs is maintaining their work life balance along with their family life and kids that are needed to be looked after. Intrapreneurs are a part entrepreneurship because they go hand in hand. The people who do not own the business but instead are running it for someone else with the same sincerity and excitement are known as Intrapreneurs.

A study conducted by Jalbert (2000) to investigate the role of women entrepreneurs in a global economy. The study also explored how women’s business associations can be helpful in boost women’s position in business and international trade.

Bowen & Hisrich, (1986) in their study examined & judged various research studies conducted on entrepreneurship also involving women entrepreneurship and summarized various studies and found that in general, female entrepreneurs are comparatively well educated but may be do not possess management skills, focal point for control and are unlikely to start business in the traditionally male oriented industries & they require additional managerial training.

Ruth McKay (2001) in his research examined the attributes of the particular group of women entrepreneurs and took into consideration that if gender is understood in the organizational aspects of the businesses established by these women.

Richardson (2004) in their research felt there is a requirement to again consider the scenario of women entrepreneurs in order to examine the breadth and depth of women’s ventures and to make sure that the presently accustomed general perception does not boosts the already existing gender-based discriminations.

Gaylen N. Chandlerb, Erik Jansenc, Alexandra L. Annaa, Neal P. Merod (2000) noticed in their research that small businesses are importance for the growth of national economy. Though it is encouraging to see the increasing numbers of women-owned businesses but in terms of number of employees and revenues, the size of these businesses stays small, especially when compared to male-owned businesses.

In the studies conducted by Solanki (2006) it was found that women entrepreneurs, with the help of their businesses, can be responsible for their contribution in the development of social and economic activities in developing states in India.

Karl W. Sandberg (2003) who conducted a fundamental study about women in micro enterprises: differences related to gender noticed that the responses from women participants depicted in much detail and more evidently the continuing need for the support from the government regarding the activities of networking and other programs that help to promote alliance and resource banding disregarding the gender.

In their studies, Rani, P. Sai and Kavitha, N. V. (2011) observed that there is lack of exposure to different approaches and with the help of better market surveys; there is a need of entrepreneurial promotion and counseling.

Nanu, Lunavath (2012) mentioned that without considering the Indian history about women who have lived and incorporated many roles, any understanding of Indian women, of their role taking, their identity and adapting new ways is incomplete. They have also characterized the various ways to develop women entrepreneurship, the status of women entrepreneurs and problems & challenges faced by them in the competitive environment of the business world.

A study conducted by Dr. Brinda Kalyani. P. R & Dr. Dileep Kumar M. (2011) observed the motivating factors, entrepreneurship and education related to women in SMEs. They found the major factors that motivated women entrepreneurs in small and medium scale business and their close relationship with the entrepreneurial determinants. The study also mentions some steps for the education institutions to make its instructors support their efforts to develop entrepreneurial activities.

Anjum, Darakhshan (2011) observed in their studies that WTO is promoting globalization and competition worldwide including Indi and entrepreneurship is considered to play a pivotal role in improving the quality of life for individuals as well as the communities to keep up the active economy and environment.

In his studies, S. Bharghav (2004) observed that poverty and lack of education are the main reasons for low involvement of women in entrepreneurial activities in India.

In his article on women entrepreneurship (in Arabic), Naqshbandi (2004) confirms that involvement of females in the entrepreneurial activities in Asia and Africa is hindered by a huge number of issues, barriers and challenges. Taking into context the groundwork of El Namaki & Gerritson [Birley (1988)], he recognized the following challenges divided into seven categories:

1- Obstruction of infrastructure like access to technology, support from the government, information about the available opportunities, support, guidance and support, industrial and financial support.

2- Professional bars like restrictions regarding traditional occupations, lack of skills, professional education and knowledge about the industries and their collaborations.

3- Barriers regarding education and training like training opportunities, no or less time for training or upgrading the skills, lack of information and advice about how to start a business, basic education etc.

4- Social and cultural restrictions like traditional and family values, balancing family as well as the work life, and gender discrimination.

5- Legal barriers like bias in acting all by oneself and accepting answerability.

6- Barriers regarding behavior like low self-confidence, finding the suitable resource for the businesses, achieving acceptance as well as respect from the others and creating negative image.

7- Role constraints like requirements for leadership, rapport with assignments and handling pressures to achieve success.

Economically, a women as an entrepreneur is more capable for herself as well as for the society compared to women as a basic worker. It is because ownership allows her to hold control on the paraphernalia and the liabilities and also provides her the freedom to make her own decisions. By entrepreneurial development, women can generate employment for other women in the society which can improve the income generation and help in reducing poverty which will ultimately benefit the country’s economy. Participation of women in income generating activities not only helps them in improving their family’s economic conditions but also make them economically independent. [Minnitti (2009), Still and Timms (2000)]

Conceptual framework

This research wants to show the connection between motivations for starting up by female entrepreneurs and their eventual outcomes. To do this, the researcher will explore what do women entrepreneurs do to achieve their goals and what are the barriers they face and how do they overcome them. The key concepts that will be used, therefore, are those of personal motivation, social and institutional barriers, and the use of resources (both personal and others). In this sense this research is located within the framework of socio-psychological discourse where the interplay between the personal and the social or environmental has an impact on the ability of women to set up new enterprises. In the Indian context this takes on a particular local shape given the specific social and cultural dimension of Surat.

The following diagram provides an early idea of the overall conceptual framework for the study.

Industry (textiles) Factors

Barriers and Obstacles

Levels of Entrepreneurial outcomes

Indian context

Motivations and Opportunities

7) Research Aim

Adopting the above framework, this study aims to conduct a detailed survey on women entrepreneurs in the Surat city of India and assess the major obstacles that they face while trying to start a new textile manufacturing business or work in the small scale textile manufacturing units. The main purpose of this research is to reveal to what extent the above factors and components affect women textile entrepreneurs in India and to give a descriptive account of associated problems. This research intends to examine the following research questions:

1. What are the challenges faced by Women Textile Entrepreneurs in Surat city of India?

2. What are the motivations for starting up and what steps do these women take in order to start their businesses or work in this particular industry?

3. What are the factors and barriers that inhibit the women from starting their textile entrepreneurial ventures?

4. What are the problems along with socio cultural constraints that are affecting women entrepreneurial activities in textile industry and how do they overcome them?

5. What are the eventual outcomes (both success and failure rates) of women in the textiles sector in Surat?

8) Research Design and Methodology

The research will be exploratory & descriptive in nature. The research process will be examined with particular emphasis based on the "Research Process Onion" as promoted by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2003). The sources of data will be primary and secondary. After a detailed literature review I plan to conduct surveys and personal interviews to constitute primary data and collect secondary data from government reports, books, journals and internet materials for the analysis. I will perform a broad spectrum analysis of all critical factors that contribute to our best understanding of the connection between motivations, contextual issues and entrepreneurial outcomes. I will also band together the strategies for data handling and to investigate minute technicalities presented in the collected data.

The secondary data will be collected by reviewing past researches and other reports. The research methodology for this research will be qualitative in nature with the phenomenological philosophy supporting the research. The primary data will be then gathered by the use of in-depth semi-structured interviews of at least 15 female entrepreneurs. Qualitative interviews will help the researcher to gain scopic insight into each female entrepreneur’s situation, the issues and challenges they face in textile industry and the influences that impact their choice of selecting a particular industry sector.

9) Ethical Considerations

According to Punch (2000), "All social research involves consent, access and associated ethical issues, since it is based on data from people about people". For interviewing the participants the researcher will follow the general protocols and procedures. The researcher will make sure to acquire informed compliance from the selected participants. They may need full information about the research and also the reasons they have been chosen to participate. Moreover, the participants’ privacy, confidentiality and anonymity will be guaranteed.

Likewise, the school being used for the case study will need to give permission for access to chronicle material, documents and reports useful for the study. The school will be assured that all the findings will be used properly and will not be misused in anyway. The researcher will follow all the conditions of the University’s ethical guidelines for doctoral research.

10) Expected outcomes and contribution and Benefits of the Study

The objective of this research is to analyze the problems and issues faced by women entrepreneurs in small scale textile manufacturing units in Surat, India. This research should have be an attempt to understand

The challenges that women entrepreneurs who belong to middle/upper middle class face in the small scale textile manufacturing units.

Why this sector is still unexplored by them.

The key issues and problems that women entrepreneurs have to face while starting a new business or working in textile industry in India.

The above proposed research will contribute to the expanding frame of literature on women entrepreneurship and it will also offer many insights which will be beneficial for variety of individuals and organizations that preach and support policies for female entrepreneurs. Therefore, this research will also have indications for researchers and teachers of entrepreneurship as well as in general, policy makers, business supporting agencies, and women entrepreneurs.

Concluding Comments

I firmly believe that a strong curriculum in theory and balanced practical experience is very necessary to develop effective and good research skills; your university has a sound research base with respect to this perspective. This has motivated me to apply for the PhD program at your esteemed university. If given an opportunity I would like to make a significant contribution by demonstrating the challenges that hinder the participation of women in the areas sited in my research proposal. UK has a very constructive policy background with reference to development of transferrable skills for women in all squares of social, economic and cultural fronts. This will provide a very wide curve to help me analyze conditions which impact the participation of women in the textile industry in Surat City of India as a particular focus. India being a multi-lingual country has complex interacting systems of social importance; this will be a large prospect of exchange of information across this cross-cultural system which can be of further research importance at the global level. This will create a platform for understanding different views, choices and opinions across the two states which can be crucial in providing solutions to the problems that I propose to analyze in my research.

I would work hard to the best of my ability if given an opportunity to pursue PhD in the above proposed field. I would bring along a penchant for independent work at a high level, team work, leadership qualities and building strong professional networks. My qualities and abilities will be found suitable as a prospective research student. I would earnestly request you to consider my research proposal for the Doctor of Philosophy Program.

Pratiksha M. Saxena

(MSc.) International Business and Entrepreneurship

University of Glasgow