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Jan, 01 2007

Innate entrepreneurs

Ms Shaarada K Sriram of Ideal Play Abacus Pvt. Ltd. and Ms. Sapna Gupta of Air Hostess Academy AHA are some of those successful women entrepreneurs who are an inspiration to many aspiring young women dreaming of running their own business venture and con

Ms Shaarada K Sriram of Ideal Play Abacus Pvt. Ltd. and Ms. Sapna Gupta of Air Hostess Academy AHA are some of those successful women entrepreneurs who are an inspiration to many aspiring young women dreaming of running their own business venture and controlling their lives and destiny. However, Ms Sriram and Ms Gupta are exceptions rather than the rule. It is estimated that today women comprise only about 10 per cent of the number of entrepreneurs in India; an absolute small number and certainly low when bench marked against the statistics of the more developed economies. However, we are experiencing significant socio-economic developments that are likely to alter the scenario in the medium term. The nine percentile growth rate of the GDP is a sum total of many segments of manufacturing and service sectors that are the locomotive for this dynamic economic development. The role of small and medium size business establishments is very important in sustaining and supporting the larger economic objectives.

Educated and skilled women are becoming an integral part of the industrial workforce also breaking through the glass ceiling and occupying key positions. Endowed with female intuition that allows them to make the right choice in situations where experience and logic fails, women have an innate flair for entrepreneurship. They are natural net workers and relationship builders and are able to successfully forge relationships with clients and employees.

Entrepreneurs, by definition are responsible for organising and operating ventures and assuming risk of the business enterprise. Women outscore men in the area of softer attributes like creativity, compassion, empathy, multi-tasking, consensus building and collaboration. These characteristics come naturally to most women folk and are historically a function of their position in society and the myriad roles they play in family and community. From being a daughter, a wife, a mother, a homemaker, a bread earner, a skilled worker and service provider they do it all. Multiple opportunities are emerging in the area of service oriented businesses where there is a good fit between the strong skill sets possessed by most women and the requirements of the enterprise.

In a study conducted in the US 'lack of flexibility' has been stated as the topmost reason for women to leave their jobs and start their own businesses. In their book 'When Money Isn't Enough', Connie Glaser and Barbara Smalley tell how real women are redefining the meaning of success, bringing balance and fulfillment to the business world. Men in business are driven by money, power and all that goes with it. However, the major motivator for women to run their own enterprise is to be able to control and balance their home and work life. Women seek success on their own terms.

I believe in India, today, the conditions are apt for many women-led enterprises, in specific service related areas, to start up and thrive. Sectors like education, health, wellness, fashion, and media, amongst others, offer unique opportunities for women entrepreneurs, and for those who aspire to be one.

A case in point is the company EuroKids. EuroKids community, operating within the education services segment, has a dominant share of women franchisees. The EuroKids franchise family comprises of professionals, engineers, chartered accountants, teachers, home makers, etc who have made the important decision of venturing into the meaningful and rewarding world of preschool education. Most of them have excelled in this chosen enterprise and transformed into successful and confident businesswomen. Manju Malhotra, who operates five successful EuroKids centres in Delhi, and Mamta Raj, who is touching the lives of more than a hundred EuroKids students at Tumkur are but a few examples of the many amazing success stories being written in the network everyday. We salute the entrepreneur spirit of the Indian women and wish them more power in the future.

The author is Mr. Uday Mathur, managing director, Euro Kids International.

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