Five Key Challenges Faced by India’s Women Entrepreneurs

Every day, the age-old stereotypes of India’s patriarchal society are being broken by enterprising women artists, business leaders and political personalities. The newfound institutional and social support has enabled aspiring women to come out and challenge men in almost every field. The small and medium enterprise industry is no different and many such businesses, helmed by women entrepreneurs, are leading innovation and giving stiff competition to their industry counterparts.

However, India is still in early days of a social revolution that demands equal status for all genders. A women entrepreneur in India faces many challenges in starting and continuing her journey. In today’s post, we discuss the five key problems faced by business women in India.

Social Acceptance for Working Women

While India has become more open to working women in recent years, in most cases the acceptability still comes with a caveat. A working woman is expected to balance her time between household chores and her professional work in most families. This may not be a key challenge for educated young women in cities starting their own business but definitely pose a challenge for married women living in urban or semi-urban areas who discover their calling later in life.

Marketing and Promoting their Enterprise

Another key challenge faced by women entrepreneurs is marketing and promotion of their startup business or SME. The matter is further complicated by the fact that online marketing and promotion has taken center stage in recent years. Since, IT is a male dominated field, women entrepreneurs often face competitive disadvantage when hiring online promoters and agencies to market their business.

Problems in Resource Procurement

Be it leasing a space for running their business or making a deal for raw material supplies, most women entrepreneurs face heavy disadvantage and distrust when starting on their own. Once again, it’s the prevailing social bias and general misconceptions about work ethics of women that hinder their access to raw materials, labor and machinery. Therefore, in most cases, women entrepreneurs end up paying above the base rates for procuring operational resources and supply chain contracts.

Getting Funding for SMEs

A major challenge faced by women entrepreneurs is securing funding for their small business. Here the issue is two-fold. The traditional banking system is still run by India’s lumbering bureaucratic system which is slow, biased and male dominated. This makes it very hard for women entrepreneurs to secure funding from a bank as the ultimate power for approving a business loan rests with the bank officials. On the other hand, Angel investors and venture capitalists who fund startups and promising SMEs often balk at working with women CEDs and business owners. Even if they do agree to fund a small business run by a woman, they often try to take control of the company by creating proxy power centers in the company.

A Patriarchal Social Order

As a whole this article may seem like a rant about women entrepreneurs not getting their due recognition because of the men. Well, it is the truth of the day. The key challenge faced by women all over the world and especially in patriarchal societies like India is the dominance of men. Women entrepreneurs face a lot of gender-based discrimination and harassment while working their way to success and these are not limited to the points mentioned above. Therefore, the existence of a biased social order is, without doubt, the biggest challenge faced by working women.

Our Vision for Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

At Lendingkart Finance, we believe in equality and adhere to the ethos defined in the constitution of India. Ensuring safe working environment for women and empowering them is a part of our vision and mission. One of the main reasons why women in patriarchal societies lag behind men is due to the lack of financial freedom. Here, at Lendingkart, we try to rectify that with our unbiased financial support system for small businesses which relies on business performance rather than social bias for granting small business loans.

We have an online business loan application process which analyzes your business for performance and financial stability and gives instant loan quotes, regardless of your gender. To simplify matters further, we have kept the documentation requirements to bare minimum. Once again, document submission is also done online and our system allows you to track your loan application in real-time as we verify the information provided by you.

If you are a woman entrepreneur looking for quick business finance to meet your working capital requirements or business expansion, Lendingkart can offer you a small business loan within 3-days of application. Furthermore, our unsecured business loans come with lower interest rates than many of the traditional banks and lending institutions out there. We also offer flexible repayment options such as monthly or bi-weekly EMIs that allow you to repay your loans easily.

Lastly, a relationship with Lendingkart Finance also gives you the opportunity to connect and network with like-minded SMEs and startups to grow your small business.

Concluding Thoughts

The business scene is still a tough place for women in India, but despite its hardships, enterprising women continue to find new ways to beat the odds placed against them. For the most part it is their own will power and vision that makes it possible for them to overcome the social and professional challenges; and in a small part it is the help from a younger, more open and pragmatic social and business order.

Here’s How You Can Raise Funds for Your Startup

All startup businesses begin with exciting new ideas and high hopes. However, it is also an unfortunate fact that most startups run into unforeseen financial and operational difficulties within the first year of their operations.

Business researchers often point to a number of reasons that are responsible for the failure of a promising new venture. Yet, the fact also remains that most of these difficulties arise due to inadequate capital.

Capital is the basic requirement for running any venture and no business can be expected to thrive if it does not have proper financing. That is the reason why the concept of investor funding is so strongly embedded in the startup scene. But, raising funds is not only a tedious exercise, it also determines the future of a startup venture. For instance, you may lose the control of your business by giving up a large stake in return for capital funding.

There are a number of ways you can raise funds for a startup business, such as bootstrapping or self-funding, crowdfunding, Angel investment, venture capital, working capital loans, and government programs that help MSMEs. Every one of these methods has its own pros and cons. Let’s have a look.

 

Source:

Pros:

Cons:

Self-funding:

 

Using funds from personal savings or borrowings from family and friends or both.

         -Easily accessible funds

-No bureaucratic hassles

-Flexible interest rates

–       Not feasible for large scale business operations or expansions
Crowdfunding:

 

Getting funds from crowdfunding platforms by making a pitch and getting capital from interested crowd funders.

–       Helps in marketing as well as financing by creating a public interest

–       Allows you to retain control of your business

–       May help attract future investment from venture capitalists

–       Competition is heavy due to the public nature of the platform

–       So, is the probability of your idea getting rejected due to too many homogeneous ideas

Angel Investment:

 

Basically, getting funds from individuals with huge capital worth, willing to invest in new business ideas.

–       An Angel investor can also provide valuable business mentorship along with the capital investment

–       Angel investors are less risk averse

–       The capital provided by Angel investors is often less in comparison to venture capitalists or other business funding methods
Venture Capital:

 

Venture capitalists are professionals who tend to invest in solid business ideas. However, they rarely seek equity and pull out when a business is acquired or upon IPO.

–       Venture capitalists bring a huge amount of mentorship and business acumen to the table

–       They help you design exit-strategies that allow huge profit margins

–       Venture capitalists tend to take away the control of your business in order to recover their investment quickly

–       Venture capitalists are mostly interested in large companies which have a proven business model

Working Capital Loan:

 

A loan from a microfinance company or NBFC that especially caters to the needs of small business owners.

–       Loans are unsecured so there is no risk of collateral loss as is with a bank loan

–       A quick business loan can fast track your income generation

–       Helps small businesses gather their bearings before seeking higher investments

–       No legalities and technicalities in comparison to traditional bank loans

–       None that we can think of
Government Programs:

 

Getting funds from the government subject to institutional scrutiny and meeting the policy parameters.

–       Great way to source funds at low interest rates along with subsidies and other incentives –       Very slow, long, and often tedious process that may take months or even years to get an approval

So, now that you know about the various ways of raising capital for your startup business, the obvious question that needs asking is – which one is the best?

Well, if you are looking for a quick and hassle-free funding, it means you have already tapped in bootstrapping sources. So, the next best thing here will be getting a working capital loan from an NBFC.

Faster Business Loans without Security

Non-Banking Financial Companies offer loans for business without requiring a collateral. NBFCs are also business sensitive and hence provide quick business loan approvals and disbursements in comparison to traditional banks. For example, a bank may take up to 15 days to process your business loan application whereas you can get a business loan approval within 72 hours by applying with an NBFC like Lendingkart Finance.

Flexible EMIs, Interest Rates and Prepayment Options

Working capital loans for business come with the added benefits like a flexible EMI schedule, lower interest rates and zero prepayment charges. If you are a budding entrepreneur, these benefits can be a godsend for your business. For instance, the ability to customize your EMIs allows you to plan your repayment in tandem with your invoicing cycle. Lower interest rates mean you are not losing precious capital in interest payments. Finally, if at any stage your business starts generating expected profits and you wish to repay your business loan in full, there are no prepayment charges, fees or penalties.

Conclusion

Raising funds for business establishment and growth is always tricky. There are a lot of checkboxes that you need to tick before getting the capital you need. Furthermore, some of the most popular startup funding measures are also the most crowded ones as other entrepreneurs are also having the same funding ideas. Whereas getting funds by giving away equity has its own pitfalls in the long-run and can leave you without any control whatsoever over your business. Alternatively, you can get a bank loan for funding your business but that process is also marred by slow processing, bureaucratic red-tape and the huge risk of collateral loss.

So, amidst such tedious and discouraging scenarios, getting a working capital loan or a business loan from an NBFC like Lendingkart is the most plausible alternative for funding your startup. Add to that the many benefits of NBFC business loans, and the fact that you do not have to give away control over your business for getting working capital funds, and you have a winner on your hands.

How to Get a Small Business Loan for a Startup

Small Business Loan to Start a Business

For a new entrepreneur, one of the biggest hurdles to resolve and overcome is the need for capital. Funds are critical to any business venture. Finding ways to raise money can sometimes become a full-time occupation for a business owner. A business loan can be a very important supplement to the life blood of a company.

There are many ways that startup capital can be raised. There is the option of:

  • Going for a bank (most bank offer small business loans these days)
  • Exploring and applying to non-banking financial institutions
  • Using alternative methods such as crowd funding
  • Approaching angel investors and venture capitalists
For most new businesses the preferred method out of above is to apply for loans with banks and other alternative lending institutions.

How to Get a Small Business Loan to Start a Business

As a startup or a business idea in a nascent stage, the best bet to raise funds lies in non-banking financial institutions. It’s recommended to direct one’s energies towards acquiring capital from alternative lenders rather than traditional banks.

Most banks prefer to give loans to small businesses that are already in existence as opposed to someone who is just starting out. Banks prefer to cover risk and it’s for this reason that the documentation and evaluation processes are long drawn and rather stringent. For a new business, sometimes it can be difficult to meet all requirements. This greatly affects the chances of getting the loan approved.

Coming to alternative lenders, they make the process rather hassle-free and easy to get through. Some of the advantages that non-financial banking institutions offer are:

  • Slightly more flexible requirements and eligibility criteria
  • Possibility of applying online very quickly
  • Quick turnaround time on loan approvals
  • Instant loan disbursement after approvals

Amongst all these the leniency on the eligibility criteria as well as requirements are the most beneficial.

It is helpful to have lenders who will be willing to consider giving out money to owners who may not have a detailed and long credit history. Your top pick should be lenders who focus on your business idea and go-to-market strategy rather than those who focus on cash flow history. Armed with a solid a dynamic business plan, the loan can be applied for still.

Process to get a Small Business Loan to Start a Business

There are different types of business loans available and depending upon the requirement of the business, a relevant one can be sought and applied for. Some popular options of business loan include working capital loans, startup loans, cash advance loans etc.

The first step is to determine how much money is needed and what it is needed for. This will go into the business plan that will be evaluated during the loan approval process.

Once the amount has been determined, the next step is to do some research and seek out the available options in terms of lenders in the market. Choosing a lender is also a process that requires time and effort. Things like credibility of the lender (reputation in the market), interest rate being offered, support system on offer, options of how loans can be re-paid, process of loan application etc. need to be factored in before choosing the one(s) which would be applied for.

Once identified, the next step is to get all the required documentation ready and up to the mark. A great business plan which details out information about the business idea, the profitability of the idea, the scaling plan, the vision behind the idea, projections regarding staff and infrastructure as well as the marketing strategy. A clear and transparent business plan goes a long way in putting the odds in the favorable position.

The final step is to apply and go through the process.
 As mentioned, the turnaround time with non-banking financial institutions is rather quick and if all is okay, the loan should come through within a fortnight or less.

Of course, if you have a business that is already 6 months old or more and has a revenue of INR 12 lakhs or more, you can always apply for a working capital loan at Lendingkart!

What do you think about this article? Please let us know in the comments. If you need to know more about how important it is to choose the right business loan, you can read our article here. We have also written in detail about small business financing options in India and you can read about it here.