Women Entrepreneurs Jan, 14 2010

Fit Five For The Fairer Sex

With the evolution of franchising in India, women have made a smooth transition from homemakers to successful business owners. Women franchisors are steadily on the rise and gaining prominence in the male dominated business area. Read on to know the top f

By Abha Garyali
Sub Editor
Fit Five For The Fairer Sex

With the advent of the 21st century, India is emerging as the world’s largest economies.  One of the prominent factors of such a development is the rising women entrepreneurs in India.

Over the last 10 to 20 years franchising has become one of the fastest ways of doing business in India. Women are taking up conventional and non-conventional franchises and making their presence felt across the globe. According to a recent study, there are more than one lakh franchised outlets managed by women in India. Successful entrepreneur Shahnaz Husain, Managing Director of Shahnaz Group of Industries says, “More and more women are becoming entrepreneurs. Despite qualifications and ability, the glass ceiling and gender bias still exist. In fact, the difficulty in occupying the top managerial positions may be motivating many women to set up their own businesses. The woman who is creative finds greater freedom in her own enterprise to translate her creativity and innovative ideas into reality.”

Considering the performance of women in franchise businesses, enlisted here are five areas where women can achieve maximum benefits.

Beauty and hair styling salons

Women are known for their forte in beauty and wellness. Shahnaz Husain is the best example in this field. She entered entrepreneurship in 1971 and since then has been a great motivator to thousands of women entering this field. Shahnaz Husain shares, “We have around 400 franchise ventures worldwide and most of our franchisees are women.” She further says, “As far as franchise salons, spas and beauty institutes are concerned, I have had mainly women franchisees. The beauty business essentially deals with women and I feel that it can be best understood and handled by women. I feel that women have a special aptitude for the beauty business. A woman is better at client handling and has good communication and people skills. This is an added advantage in the beauty business. A woman displays more knowledge and skills and therefore is good at handling women clients.” Vandana Luthra (VLCC) is another good example. Recently Blossom Kochhar (Aroma magic) also adopted the franchise way to expand her spa centres.

Education sector

The education sector has a great scope for women entrepreneurs. The patience and warmth present in women make them perfect educationists. Uday Mathur, MD, Eurokids shared, “Women entrepreneurs have a great future in preschool franchising. More than 90 per cent of our franchisees are women and we look forward to increasing the numbers.” Sharing her views about women in franchise, Lina Asher, Chairperson, Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd said, “Globalisation has led to an increased sense of awareness and has also brought about significant changes in our social structure. I believe access to quality education has led to an increased financial independence among women empowering them with greater autonomy to lead their life as they want to.” Mentioning her views on women in play schools, she added, “We do have a large number of women franchisees especially for our preschool brand Kangaroo Kids.” Shaarada K Sriram, founder of Ideal Play Abacus India Pvt. Ltd and Sudha Gupta, chairperson of Mother’s pride are some other prominent names in this field.

Well-being and fitness centres

Well-being and fitness centres are also a lucrative business option for women. With an increase in health awareness people are gunning to join health clubs. This has added to their rapid spread. A few years ago these health centres were exclusively for men. But a trend of health clubs and gyms being opened for women has been seen lately. Chandra Gopalan, Master Franchisee, Contour International, said, “Ours is a gym run by women and for women, hence we attract a large number of women who are otherwise hesitant to be seen in a gym due to their physical appearance.” Another example is Dr.Shobha Kaul, Managing Director of Personal Point, a well-recognised beauty and slimming centre.

Retail Franchise

Another sector in which women are interested is apparel, jewellery and cosmetic sector. Women have always been conscious of their looks as compared to men. They have the innate talent for latest fashion in clothes as well as in accessories.  We can confirm this by observing that most of the fashion houses of clothes, jewellery and other accessories are managed by women.

Home furnishing and decorations

This is an up-coming sector in the organised Indian market. Though there are not many women players in this field as yet but it offers great scope and potential for women entrepreneurs. The quality of being excellent ‘home-makers’ in most women would be an asset in a home furnishing and home decors business. Dipali Goenka, Director Welspun, is the first woman to venture in the décor and furnishing industry. Sharing her views on this Goenka said, “In the home décor business category, the touch of a woman is unquestioned. Home is, after all, the prerogative of the woman. Hence a woman would be able to relate better and understand the needs and requirements of the customers. She would also be in a better position to give solutions to their queries.” She further added,” The home furnishing and décor business is at the heart of every woman’s creativity and her need to express herself and her individuality. More women should be encouraged to join the industry and grow the business.”

If you are also an aspiring woman entrepreneur, franchising offers you the best way to move forward. Selecting a franchise opportunity in any of the above given sectors can be most rewarding. Take a step further to access the wonderful world of franchising.

Related: Capital Made Easy for She-Preneurs

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