The word entrepreneur is derived from a French word Entrepreneur that means to undertake. It is also defined as one who undertakes a commercial enterprise and who is an organizational creator and innovator. He is a person who introduces something new into an economy. The concept of entrepreneurship is not new but the dimension of women entrepreneurs is a new prism to see and analyze the concept. To be an entrepreneur the most effective thing to understand is entrepreneur behavior. It is about utilizing resources beyond the immediate scope of the entrepreneur and his or her venture. However, for gender-specific entrepreneurship, this concept might include certain reservations. The literature defines female entrepreneurs as those who use their knowledge and resources to develop and create new business opportunities, who are actively involved in managing their business, and own at least 50% of their business and have been in operation for longer than a year.
The following theoretical approaches to female entrepreneurship show that this idea has not developed throughout the world and women entrepreneurs are facing difficulties while operating in the current environment. These approaches include:
Economic Paradigm: This paradigm assumes that entrepreneurs are economists. They have an inherent ability to transform old capital into bigger profits by using capitalist strategies such as reinvestment. Thus with these criteria, they make it difficult for the inclusion of women in the entrepreneurial process. There are contextual settings that make it difficult for women to focus solely on the economic paradigm. It also hinders and filters the entrants to experiment with entrepreneurship.
Religious Paradigm: This school of thought believes that entrepreneurship emerged as a result of religious virtue. In the earlier century, Calvinism was a Christian sect that valued saving, reinvestment and hard work. Devotees of this sect are considered the first entrepreneurs as they took this risk of developing their own businesses because of their teachings. Thus this view suggests that an entrepreneur is someone who is hardworking and shows perseverance.
Psychological Paradigm: This paradigm says that the emergence of entrepreneurs is a result of psychological characteristics such as a specific set of personal qualities that make them more suited for success. The most dominant trait is the need for achievement. This is a driving force that makes a person motivated towards ambition, setting goals, planning and adapt to changes. An entrepreneur thus rises as a leader, takes risks and has the required energy to manage it. Entrepreneurs will be those who have this personality and these traits will lead them to venture into self-employment.
In a nutshell, these approaches are universal. These paradigms are in one way or the other the driving forces and patronize the need for equality between men and women to allow both so that they can reap the benefits by being entrepreneurs. They are the pre-requisites universal for any gender to use for their benefit. However the certain societal and cultural influences shape up the contextual settings which hinder both men and women to exploit their potential at the maximum level. This situation is harmful not only for the individuals but for the countries as well because women being half of the population of the world cannot be ignored.