Understanding How Social Interactions Shape Women’s Entrepreneurship

This qualitative study documents gender-specific barriers faced by women entrepreneurs and how their interactions with the ecosystem affect their business decisions and outcomes. 


While many quantitative insights are available into systemic and structural barriers to women’s entrepreneurship, in particular, the nuances and specificities of how women’s day-to-day interactions with people and organisations that comprise their business ecosystem are often overlooked when trying to address this decline. This qualitative study was conducted to document how women-led businesses interact with seven key stakeholders – financiers, suppliers, employees, customers, enablers, peers/ mentors and family/ community. 


For this study, we partnered with WE Hub, a Telangana state-led incubator to promote and foster women-led entrepreneurship. The sample included female and male entrepreneurs, as well as ecosystem stakeholders. The study included a total of 73 In-Depth Interviews (IDIs), drawn from the WE Hub member database for the female entrepreneurs as well as convenience and snowball sampling for male entrepreneurs and secondary respondents interviewed for the study.


A comprehensive qualitative study of how women entrepreneurs interact with the various components of their entrepreneurial ecosystem can provide a richer picture of the complexity of the contextual factors and gender-based barriers that affect the entrepreneurial journey of women business-owners in India. This knowledge is crucial for the formulation of any efforts and policy initiatives taken towards creating a more level playing field for women entrepreneurs. Results are forthcoming. 

Thematic Area

Small, Growing Businesses and Employment

Project Leads

Mridulya Narasimhan, Aishwarya Joshi




WE Hub, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation