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The role of male and female entrepreneurs in enhancing overall business performance of Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs): a comparative study of Bangladesh and India


Mohammed Sawkat Hossain

With limited data analysis and review of recent key literature, thisresearch endeavour  mainly compares samples of aspiring male and female entrepreneurs of IndiaandBangladesh along with a focus to examine how gender plays a role in developing overall business performance. The findings of the study show three main important facts. First, SMEs account for more than 95% of all firms in all sectors both in Bangladesh and India. Second, women participation is still relatively low in India and Bangladesh which can be attributed to factors such as low level of education, lack of capital including  cultural and religious constraints. Third, most of women entrepreneurs in SMEs are from the category of “forced” entrepreneurs seeking for higher family incomes. This suggests that when women are better educated and well paid employment opportunities increase for women, the participation of women as entrepreneurs in SMEs may decline(Hossain,1988; Srivastva, 1994; Jahan, 1995 and Sarker, 2006).Moreover, a significant quantitativegender bias in business entry with male-owned firm isheavily prevailing over women owned firm  inIndia and Bangladesh.Women entrepreneurs are being better represented in labourintensive sectors rather than capitalintensive manufacturing industries. However, an analysis of a large body of literature does not suggestthat the so called "gender gap" in entrepreneurshipcan be explained by explicit discrimination in laws or regulations.Furthermore, women may have relatively less physicaland "reputational" collateral than men which limits their accessto finance. While the obstacles for female entrepreneurs have supposed to be diminished over the past decade, women still experience challenges in attaining vital information, training and financing for their entrepreneurial ventures. The comparative study suggests that improvementsin the overall business environment can help to promote high-growth of womenentrepreneurship both in Bangladesh and India.

Key words:SMEs, Gender, Entrepreneurs, Business Performance, Bangladesh, India.