Innovation academic's book reveals barriers, opportunities for female-led business

15 December 2021

A new book by CQUniversity Entrepreneurship and Innovation lecturer Dr Vanita Yadav is shining a light on the world of business innovation' and asking why women are underrepresented in India' and globally.

The Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow' with co-authors Jeemol Unni' Ravikiran Kaik and Swati Dutta' considers entrepreneurship through gender and class' to uncover factors impacting female participation in start-ups.

Women Entrepreneurship in the Indian Middle Class: Interdisciplinary Perspectives was published in November' and highlights the importance of social support networks' mentoring' and policy in encouraging women into entrepreneurship.

Dr Yadav began developing the book following her research with the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program at MIT in the US across 2012-2013.

She explained to CQUniversity's IMPACT research podcast that she began to understand how supportive culture can nurture entrepreneurship.

"It was a life-changing moment … I could see differences in entrepreneurial experience' and I realised that MIT is a hotbed of innovative thinking' and that difference of culture is really mature'" she said.

"The ecosystem and culture both act as a catalyst' and that's clearly evident if you look at the number of entrepreneurs that MIT alone has produced' and those across the US.

"Comparing that to what I've seen and experienced' both in India and Australia' accepting that entrepreneurship can be a viable career' that attitude is not fully developed."

Dr Yadav also dismissed stereotypes about women in business.

"The old adage in India that 'women only launch bakery or beauty parlour businesses does not hold true!" she said.

"Women are launching businesses in diverse sectors like healthcare' high technology' manufacturing' transportation and others."

She also highlighted the social good focus for many female innovators.

"Entrepreneurship can result from necessity as well as opportunity and women entrepreneurs pursue goals beyond economic gains'" she said.

"The book was developed using a novel macro and micro research approach' and proposes an enabling ecosystem framework of promoting women entrepreneurship in India.

"I hope this book will be useful for policymakers' researchers' entrepreneurs' and curious minds."

Published by Orient Blackswan' Women Entrepreneurship in the Indian Middle Class: Interdisciplinary Perspectives is available on Amazon.

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