I have faced many challenges during my 35 years in this industry but have also embraced the numerous opportunities and talents presented to me as a female and in this exciting industry we are all involved in.
To all the budding female Entrepeneurs reading this article, you can and will be successful as so many of us have. We are woman, we are strong, tenacious and resilient but also loving, understanding, empathetic and sympathetic and to me these are the talents or tools we are born with that are imperative for overcoming the many challenges we face on a daily basis in this industry.
The subject today is Opportunities and challenges female Entrepeneurs face in the tourism industry and my talk will include in the word opportunities/ female talents as these unique talents will attract and create the opportunities. Tourism is an industry that constantly challenges your adaptability skills but this is where women " rise above the ashes" as every mother reading this can attest to. The day you plan on in the morning very rarely works out by evening and changes are constantly made according to your husbands or children's wishes .... So why would the constant changes in the tourism industry affect us? This is just "another day in the life of a Mother, Grandmother or Aunt. And of course woman can Multi Task, another strong asset that is needed in this industry and one "we ease into.We are hospitable and welcoming and comfortable with being the host.... Women have the knack to do anything they set their minds to We are also "gatherers" so team work comes naturally ,yet another attribute ,asset and opportunity to have in this industry as Together Everyone Achieves More. A strong motivating factor for women Entrepeneurs is they would like to help others.Research suggested that this caring attitude manifests in woman styles of business management and our goals are more than economic growth which guide a women's business. Many women enter into business ventures for diverse and varying reasons such as the need for growth and better quality of life rather than simply to make a profit. Some people might see this as an opportunity or a challenge, a weakness or a strength. As you can see I have started my talk with opportunities as I personally think that these are more than the challenges faced and if we identify and address these challenges correctly , challenges will become a mere "pit stop" on our journey to success. According to the Centre for entrepeneurship at the Wits Business school in Johannesburg South Africa statistics on the South African female Entrepeneur, reflects that up to 38% of all established businesses in South Africa are owned by women and a large percentage of this ratio is in the tourism industry. This white paper found that the obstacles women faced include 1. Obtaining the necessary finance as they use their own money
Woman would rather work 2 jobs and use their savings, credit cards and overdraft facilities than obtain finance. Of course this could also be because they do not know how or were enabled to obtain the necessary finance for their business. As we all know this is imperative to have cash flow projections and budgets to set targets and goals to be successful. 2. Lack of sales and marketing skills as well as education Women tend to want to please so effective marketing and sales need to be taught In some communities education for women has been lacking and this is definitely a challenge for woman Entrepeneurs. Identifying what and how marketing and sales are implemented according each product or service is vital. 3. Comparative earning levels between male and female are still a major problem and I personally cannot understand that this is still a problem in this day and age as if the work is done correctly and efficiently and the skills set is present then why should there be a difference in earnings based on gender especially as there are more and more single mothers and single income earners. 4. External networking does not come naturally to women as with men. Even though woman are perceived as talking much more than men, effective networking for business purposes need attention. 5. For me the biggest challenge comes with struggles to balance all aspects of being a home maker vs businesswoman. Woman are always Mothers and Nurturers first so they expected and do attend to family problems before business problems. In many cultures women are seen as wife and mother as their primary role due to systematic subordination determined by patriarchal forces. Also in many cultures men who prescribe to sociocultural values prevent them from readily accepting instructions from a female manager. 6. A lack of role models in leadership positions in the industry, academia or in their communities. It is encouraging to want to see success and meet another woman who has come from the same background or faced similiar challenges and has now enjoyed success. Even though woman Entrepeneurs make a significant contribution to the success of national economies throughout the world, these various challenges hinder their entrepreneurial progress and results in a lack of appropriate mindset and guidance to venture into a small business. There is also the perception that woman are less capable and less interested in running businesses than men.These perceptions are possibly due to the fact that women are still occupying the majority of support and administration positions including those of secretaries,nurses, domestic and clerical service suppliers Most female Entrepeneurs find it difficult to delegate duties at home, this mindset spills over in their business venture and they therefore try to do everything themselves which of course is not conducive to running a successful business. Woman play an important role in stimulating economic growth in a country and as tourism is recognized as the fastest growing industry in the world and a lower entry level for small business,it is imperative for the advancement of women that they are represented more and more in this industry.It is also a matter of human rights and a condition for social justice. Entrepreneurship is a driving force to economic development in any country so the existence of women Entrepeneurs can assist in eradicating poverty and unemployment. I encourage all women to have more confidence in yourself and never stop the quest for self improvement, the thirst for knowledge. Join organizations that encourage networking, that is one of Skal International's membership benefits...effective marketing to your target market. attend courses to enhance your product knowledge and eventually aspire to being the role models that are desperately needed in this industry to encourage other female Entrepeneurs. Let us get to the position of having many more profitable businesses owned and operated by women that employ other women . We have the power to satisfy our self actual actualization needs, use our in born talents, achieve independence while stimulating and satisfying economic growth. Find the source of your own power!