Women Entrepreneurs in Small and Medium Enterprises and their Access to Finance

Claret Mendonca, A H Sequeira


The research aims to study the phenomenon of Indian Women Entrepreneurship in Small and Medium Enterprises and their access to finance.  Most studies are focused predominantly on the poor, less educated women in micro-enterprises which make up for 95 percent of the women-owned enterprises. The high potential women entrepreneurs, who are a growing group of well-educated, urban-based women who can start ventures that go beyond self-employment and make a positive contribution to the economy, will be the target group for this study.   As reported by the literature, availability of, and access to finance is the most critical element at the time of start-up and consequent performance of any enterprise. Women entrepreneurs still face challenges getting fair access to capital or credit.  Some studies support the notion that women entrepreneurs are disadvantaged by their gender. The lack of sex disaggregated data from the suppliers of credit blinds us to the reality. Therefore, we find that there is a clear need for more detailed research on women entrepreneurs access to bank finance and if at all their characteristics have an impact on the access to funding. The researchers were guided by pragmatic world view.  They adopted mixed methods strategies using both qualitative and quantitative methods. A close-ended questionnaire was used for collecting biographical, behavioural and factual data, and personal face-to-face interviews yielded insights into their entrepreneurial journey and their future plans. Since, studies on women entrepreneurs keep reiterating the access to finance as the main challenge to start and grow enterprises it was probed in greater depth.  Grounded theory was used for content analysis and Pearson’s Chi Square, Fisher’s Exact and Mann-Whitney Tests were used to analyze the strength of association between the variables. Simple and logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the impact of various factors on the dependent variable access to bank finance. The test results showed among the physical characteristics - religion, number of children, nature of ownership showed statistically highly significant association with access to bank finance and among the psychological factors motivation to start the enterprise and measures of success, showed statistically highly significant association with access to bank finance.

Key Words: Women Entrepreneurs, Small and Medium Enterprises, Characteristics, and Access to Bank Finance

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ISSN : 2251-1547