Women overcome struggles through entrepreneurship

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 26.06.2015 19:51
Updated 26.06.2015 19:55
Women overcome struggles through entrepreneurship

A survey has revealed that financing, bureaucracy and motherhood duties are major obstacles for female entrepreneurs, where one out five have experienced economic struggles due to divorce or a spouse's death

The Women's Entrepreneurship Survey revealed that one out of five female entrepreneurs establish their own business because of the financial crises they experience after cases such as death and divorce.

According to the survey, which was jointly conducted by Middle Eastern Technical University (METU) and Garanti Bank by interviewing 304 female entrepreneurs, 61 percent of female entrepreneurs are university-educated and three-fourths of them are married. The raising of capital, bureaucratic transactions, being a woman and managing family life are the major problems that were faced in the process of setting up a business.

Nafiz Karadere, a deputy general manager at Garanti Bank, said that the public sector, the private sector and civil society should equally take over responsibility for supporting women's entrepreneurship. Karadere indicated that the studies that they have been conducting since 2006 with the intention of discovering women's potential reveal that the majority of women entrepreneurs feel inadequate in courage, financing and education. In reference to Garanti Bank's remarkable studies, which have been appreciated by international organizations, Karadere said that they thus far have provided funding of TL 2.8 billion ($1.05 billion) to female business owners and companies that have women as controlling shareholders by offering special payment options with the aim of bringing financial solutions to women entrepreneurs' problems.

The best way to support female entrepreneurship is to strengthen them on their way to setting up their own businesses, Karadere said, stressing that women with economic power will be more influential in the political arena.

Yıldız Ecevit, the head of the Department of Women Studies at METU, said that entrepreneurial women are women who improve the welfare of their families, suggesting that an environment is needed to bolster gender equality and to support women in business life.

The survey, which was conducted with female entrepreneurs aged between 22 and 68, indicates that 56 percent of female entrepreneurs do not experience problems related to being woman. In addition, 66 percent of female entrepreneurs are above the age of 40, while 87 percent of them established their business after the age of 35, and 84 percent of them gained experience in other jobs before setting up their own businesses. The study also shows that the higher education women received, the better self-confidence and courage they had. Moreover, 71 percent of respondents said that apart from their savings, they borrow loans from banks and receive financial support from the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization (KOSGEB) to expand their businesses due to reasons such as gaining recognition in the market, branding and diversifying their services and products. According to the survey results, 82 percent of women entrepreneurs carry on a business in the service sector, and 40 percent are engaged in trade and sales. The fact that 75 percent of businesses operated by women were established in and after 2000 points to the significance of policies and practices that promoted women's entrepreneurship in this period.

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