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Aug, 10 2013

Women to unlock the power of entrepreneurship

“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” Roseanne Barr.

Renuka Singh, Franchisee of a renowned pre- school chain agrees that to step up the ladder of entrepreneurship was not easy for her till she got to know about franchise model. Not just Renuka, franchising has helped many other women entrepreneurs and successful mompreneurs to have a consistent cash flow along with a good business.  Franchising has broken the glass ceiling that once limited a woman's career path. It has helped to begin a novel journey towards business ownership, where women can utilize their sharp business acumen while building strong family ties.

There are many franchisors who have a preference to partner with women franchisees. Especially brands dealing in education sector, health and beauty, consumer services like cleaning and other services favour women entrepreneurs as their business partners.

When asked about offering opportunity to women entrepreneurs, Amar Kapasi, Founder, Planet Kids says: “Pre-school as an industry has always been a platform for enterprising woman entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and fulfill a passion and dream of working for a good cause. Women are mothers, wives, sisters and daughters. They are in the best position to understand the needs of the children and are able to relate with them much easier. Thus, woman entrepreneurs are the best option to look for while starting a pre-school Also the pre-school industry which operates with convenient timings allows the women entrepreneurs to strike a perfect balance between a professional life as well as a personal family life.”

The annual report of the Ministry of Labour and Employment (2010) puts the number of employed women (in urban areas) at 5.41% of the total workforce, an increase of 1.63% as compared to the last decade. Independent, with a yen for taking their own decisions, this segment holds untapped potential for CEOs to explore.

Challenges faced

In India, it\'s the men who are the decision makers in the family. Therefore, even in business, women lack the self-confidence to take decisions. With time, the perception to do multiple roles, balancing work and family and taking decisions are a few things a modern woman does.

There are varied factors that still hamper many women to embrace entrepreneurship. The key factors are lack of self confidence, funding, safety measures and networking. Out of all the reasons funding tops the list. Therefore many women in India prefer to either start a business in partnership or take franchise.

As per a recent report, 57% of women entrepreneurs had started their businesses alone, while 35% had a co-founder and 8% were part of teams that involved more than 2 co-founders. Recently, Groom India Salon & Spa Pvt Ltd, that owns the salon chain brand Naturals, has signed a pact with Indian Overseas Bank to promote women entrepreneurship in the country.

According to C.K. Kumaravel, Co-founder and CEO of Groom India Salon, the bank has come forward to fund to Rs 25 crore under the 'Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises\' scheme to roughly 100 women franchisees identified by the company.

Women are playing significant roles in leadership and we are witnessing some of the most exciting global growth coming from female led companies. The image of a woman of a home maker has witness an upliftment as there is a sea change in the new age woman who plays a multi-faceted role of a home maker and an assertive  task master. With growing number of women choosing to become entrepreneurs, here is a special issue of The Franchising World on Women Entrepreneurs.

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