Entrepreneurial Success: Key Challenges Faced by Malaysian Women Entrepreneurs in 21st Century

  •  Abdul Basit    
  •  Zubair Hassan    
  •  Sharmila Sethumadhavan    


The purpose of this research is to investigate the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs on entrepreneurial success in Malaysia. This study proposes a conceptual framework and investigates the significant factors of family and social support, emotional intelligence, gender stereotype, and knowledge and risk-taking behavior in predicting women entrepreneurial success. Data was collected using a questionnaire with a Likert scale from 1-5 from a sample of 125 women entrepreneurs who owned Small-Medium-Enterprises (SME) in Malaysia using a convenient sampling technique. Collected data were analysed using structural equation modeling (SEM) via AMOS 22 software. The result indicated that “knowledge” have significant negative impact on women entrepreneurial success, while all the other challenges identified in the previous research such as lack of emotional intelligence, lack of family support, poor risk taking behaviour, gender stereotype were not significant in influencing women entrepreneurial success. Family and social support, and risk-taking behaviour were found contradict with other previous researches indicating that women entrepreneurs are becoming more independent due to the changing norms and cultural values. In conclusion, women entrepreneurial success largely dependent on the work experiences, relevant skills/competencies and industrial know-how they acquired and mastered to effectively manage and grow their businesses. It is recommended that women-entrepreneurs in Small Medium Enterprises(SME) shall invest in continuous learning to gain more relevant skills/competencies, knowledge, industrial know-how and experiences to sharpen their competitive advantages and sustain continuous development and growth. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that government should formulate policies to promote women entrepreneurship through effective and practical trainings. This study will be useful for women entrepreneurs to develop themselves by investing themselves to gain knowledge by participating academic programs and industrial based network conferences. Entrepreneurial development authorities or bodies will be able to use this study to develop and design human resource development intervention program to enable women entrepreneurs to be more successful. Future researchers can increase the sample size and focus on similar type of small medium enterprise owners in terms of sector or industry and size. Also the future researchers can used a mixed method in collecting data to provide a more coherent and meaningful conclusion.

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