Published On: Sat, Feb 8th, 2014

Women Entrepreneurs: Inspiration From Around the World

women enterpeneurAlthough women have established themselves as entrepreneurs in Vietnam, many businesswomen do not enjoy the same level of services and support as their male counterparts. While existing laws and policies in do not overtly discriminate against female entrepreneurs, cultural factors in Vietnam such as dominant gender stereotypes pigeonhole women into domestic roles or into employment sectors that are undervalued and poorly paid.

Business development is widely recognized as contributing to economic empowerment of women and promoting gender equality. However, not all women are born as entrepreneurs; instead, business skills must be learned from colleagues, family and friends, formal training, or from experience. A recent nationwide survey found that businesswomen in Vietnam are crying out for additional support that can assist them in growing their businesses.

In order to promote female entrepreneurship in Vietnam there should be business support and facilitation that address the needs of women, specifically in the areas of business planning, financial management, marketing, and quality control.

Women entrepreneurs face a number of barriers preventing them from expanding their businesses.   These barriers include: a lack of sufficient business management knowledge and skills, and being disconnected from the larger business community. There is also a low level of encouragement and support from the government and society. During the past few years, a number of work related programs initiated by women’s unions. However, middle class businesswomen in Vietnam also need support in order to catch up with male entrepreneurs.

Women entrepreneurs in the world are creative, active and self-confident. They are facing a lot of gender constraints, but the spirit of Vietnamese women entrepreneurs has been highly appreciated since Vietnam has the new reform policy.

Ms. Nguyen Thu Cuc was successful woman entrepreneur in Vietnam. She is Chief Medical Corporation and Thu Cuc Beauty – CEO 15th  Student, School of Business PTI. Ms. Nguyen Thu Cuc – Thu Cuc salon director. The name of this association of women entrepreneurs with a flower of autumn in Hanoi – a season best in the land of a thousand years of civilization Ha. Her whole life is a journey in search of beauty and the beauty of life.

Thu Cuc is a woman rustic, simple, different from my imagination to picture a famous salon hostess … She had absorbed the step ups and downs of life, happiness and failures … but it was not excavated by her fall. Diverged after the early fall that she had more energy to rise up, go to their chosen path, knowing that the road commission was not experienced. Born and raised in Hanoi in a family of educated, intellectual. Main cradle of the traditional family have forged for her energetic life. From childhood, Thu Cuc soon reveal the business skills and her dream of a young girl that will become a boss. But the way her parents and follow the tradition family, Thu Cuc studied law at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities. For her, passion and business do not run away from her. When she graduated, held bachelor of law degree, turned to her family to work in the control. No agreement under which arrangement, Thu Cuc decided to start her own business. Face with fierce opposition from the family and relatives, especially from her grandfather and father, sisters, Thu Cuc still determined to realize her dreams.

Difficulties did not stop there, while her own face prevented from family, her parents divorced. At 18 years old, the age has many dreams and aspirations of youth, she had to engage in the marketplace. It can be said that Thu Cuc business is a passion, it is also part of her life with a burning dream is to bring beauty to the women of Vietnam.

In the 90th century, the aesthetic is still considered a profession are new in Vietnam, so the idea of building a private clinic specializing in the business of beauty services for women of that time Thu Cuc seen as a bold idea. Thu Cuc salon is established in 1996 which is also the first beauty salon for women in Hanoi. Up to now, over 10 years, Thu Cuc beauty salon becomes the gold address for women. Aesthetics is not merely a business, it has more recently as a medical psychologist. “In addition to the professional mind and aesthetic, the work must also doubles as doctor of psychology … it is also the most difficult thing that professional expert beauty need to pass, “she said. Therefore, she always shared experiences, enthusiasm, passion for her profession staff. To each of them is not merely play the role of beauty for everyone, but they are higher than those of a psychiatrist that his clients receive. There are customers coming to a clinic because they do not necessarily bad, but in their psychological always think they are not nice, not perfect.  And who do the work of a cosmetic is to know how to convince their customers, helping them understand the right and give our customers the best advice. Encounter difficult circumstances, sometimes Thu Cuc takes many hours to convince customers to help them understand and give the best advice for them. For her, the job is never boring, because you do with all the passion, dedication to work. Selling the special product special, Thu Cuc has a lot of opportunities to come many places, many countries, the beauty of paradise, she found the spa to relax and rest in other country is very modern and luxurious. While in Vietnam, the living standard  is higher  as well as people begin to think of beauty services more advanced, more perfect. An innovative business ideas are implemented Thu Cuc. And the birth of Exotical ThuCuc Spa is considered a breakthrough step of Thu Cuc in business. Exotical ThuCuc Spa is designed with a European architectural style, elegance and modernity, so when you come here, you think they are entering a completely different world and also how you want to mystery discover in this place. She always has full of new business ideas and the dynamism and acumen. Perhaps those qualities that helped Thu Cuc quickly asserted themselves and become a successful businesswoman with a clear mind. Thu Cuc also been very successful in the restaurant business.

Like many other women, come back to life Thu Cuc is a woman who is so simple and approachable. The weekend, set aside all of the business, she dedicated her time to care for her small family or cook by herself and care for small porch garden … there is also a powerful source of motivation inspired her to come forward. Furthermore, she is a happy woman. She always had encouragement from her husband and two children are very good. At the weekend she spent time with her  family, go shopping or  go to the movies together. She is a moving forward person.  She said: every success must has passion, some is  only a momentary passion, but some passion comes from the human soul …”. Because passion is the main source of motivation to help people not easily back down before the hardships of life. My passion is trading things of beauty products for everyone. I’m not trading for profit which I have staked all my honor. When I bet all of my honor so why I stop?

Women face similar challenges as their male counterparts in starting and running their own businesses. These include access to finance, achieving profitability and sustainability, and having the business administration skills to manage their operations professionally and effectively. However, it can be argued that women business owners carry a heavier burden than men in terms of achieving a work-life balance. Women have traditionally played the role of primary care giver to their families, and these attitudes are slow to change. Starting and running a business is time-consuming and requires focus and dedication – female business owners face the challenge of balancing the needs of their families with those of the business, sometimes with little support from their social networks.

In some industries, particularly those that are traditionally male dominated, women business owners encounter gender-based discrimination. This can range from potential customers’ skepticism about their technical capabilities and ability to deliver products or services to the required standard and on time, to difficulties in managing relationships with their suppliers who may attempt to negotiate unfair terms on the assumption that women are easy to manipulate and do not understand business principles. Across all industries, women business owners may also face challenges in managing their relationships with their employees (both male and female), who may question their judgment and authority. Strong leadership is therefore required, but women who exhibit such qualities are not always viewed favorably due to societal expectations about how women should comport themselves.

Despite these various challenges, small business ownership can be an immensely rewarding experience for women. Greater financial independence, increased self-confidence, and gaining visibility and respect as leaders in their communities are just some of the benefits.

For female entrepreneurs in Vietnam, running a business successfully making several  decisions on a daily basic and in an increasingly competitive environment. Vietnamese women entrepreneurs are more than aware of the challenges arising from international economic integration and resulting competitive from other countries. Most women entrepreneurs are interested growing their business through a variety of means, such as: better customer relationship, larger trade and export networks… However they face a number of obstacles, including a lack of resources, time, information and linkages to potential partners and markets. Although Vietnam is a regional pioneer in the area of gender equality, women business owners believe that more can be done to improve business opportunities. Equality doesn’t mean that women want to trade places with men. They still want to be wives and take care of the family. Society needs to provide more support for women-owned enterprises, because women entrepreneurs have to juggle both family responsibilities and run their businesses. Women entrepreneurs need better access to business education and training so that they can manage their businesses better. Training courses need to help women establish longer-term strategies for their businesses. Women entrepreneurs would benefit from having access to networks where they could ask questions of each other and share experiences about running a business.

 Women-led businesses have made a lot of progress for the last few years. In the informal economy, however, women-led enterprises do not develop as fast as those owned by men. Household responsibilities, still largely shouldered by women, are the main constraint. Limited possibilities to establish business networks are the next factor. According to the criteria used in the research, more women than men entrepreneurs are “livelihood-oriented” rather than “growth-oriented”, managing business operations that are to large extent integrated into the family’s livelihood.

Denisha Sahadevan

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Women Entrepreneurs: Inspiration From Around the World