What Makes Women Entrepreneurs?

In anticipation of the publication of our book ‘Women Entrepreneurs in the Indian Middle Class: Interdisciplicary Perspectives’ @OrientBlackSwan, I reblog a talk on innovation and entrepreneurship. According to Schumpeter, only innovation entrepreneurs are real entrepreneurs as they create a disequilibrium force. We argue in our book that there could be other reasons for entrepreneurship, especially among women. The economist’s definition of an entrepreneur as risk-taking, innovators looking for an opportunity, or that of the psychologist as high achievers may not suit most of these entrepreneurs. A key take away from the book was that “entrepreneurship can result from necessity as well as opportunity and women entrepreneurs pursue goals beyond economic gains”. Women’s decision to become an entrepreneur can be precipitated by both push and pull factors. It is not just ‘profit’ and attaining ‘scale’ that motivates a woman entrepreneur.


India currently faces a massive challenge of slowdown in growth and high levels of unemployment among youth, especially among the educated urban population. The formal labour market in India is saturated, unable to absorb the ever-increasing number of the labour force. Therefore, the role of small-medium enterprises in creating employment opportunities is vital for economic prosperity and social stability. Entrepreneurship is a crucial mode for utilizing youth power and generating employment that will in turn contribute to the economy’s growth and development, especially for those who aspire to be owners and employers rather than employees. Understanding the motivation and constraints faced by entrepreneurs is critical for designing and formulating appropriate policy initiatives. Encouragement of the ‘enterprise spirit’ or ‘animal spirit’ among young people is a precondition for success in employment, growth, competitiveness and innovation.

Woman Entrepreneur designing Blown Glass Bowls, London

I base this brief talk[1] on our book…

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Breaking the Glass Ceiling and Male Shrew in Academia!

Educated women of the upper middle class, who have made it to the higher echelons of their profession, live in a bubble. They believe that most women who make the right choices at the right time, with a little luck can make it too. After all, men require education, good choices and luck too. But women who behave in an authoritative way are seen as insufferable prima donnas. This assertive, aggressive, ‘insufferable’ woman was what Shakespeare termed the ‘Shrew’ and made famous in his play ‘Taming of the Shrew’.

Yoga, yoga asana and the art of relaxing!

Happy Yoga Day! Dear Friends: Enjoy this wonderful day with the art of relaxation! June 21, 2021.


It has been some time since I wrote a post on yoga and other forms of meditation. See here. While meditation is hard enough, relaxing is an art and a difficult one too! Yoga asanas (poses) and pranayama (breathing exercises) presumably help you to relax.

Yoga is what I really enjoy, even when the classes are held online as it is now due to the pandemic. People tell me that since I have been doing yoga for decades I can just do it by myself and do not need to attend classes. Theoretically, yes I can. But practically, it never happens. Even if it does, my mind will trick me into doing a quick 10-15 minute fixed set of yoga exercises and convince me that I have done enough for the day! Our teacher is a young, dynamic, friendly and always has a smile on her face while she coaxes…

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Brand Ambassador for Pet Store: New career option?

I am an Economist and I teach in a Management School. I have many colleagues in the discipline of marketing and a number of our students are placed in companies with roles in marketing. So I am well aware of the term Brand. In simple terms a 'Brand' is a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name. A relatively new term, popular in the past decade, is 'Brand Ambassador'. A Brand Ambassador is defined as 'a person, especially a celebrity, who is paid to endorse or promote a particular company's products or services'. The key words are celebrity and paid. We normally think of popular movie stars like Shah Rukh Khan, brand ambassador for Byjus learning app, or Aishwarya Rai for beauty products. And they are paid in millions I believe. A new career is that of being an 'Influencer', person with more than 10,000 followers on social media! Influencers also become Brand Ambassadors. Being neither a celebrity nor an Influencer, imagine my shock when I received an offer from a pet store to be their Brand Ambassador!

Celebrating Holi, Festival of Colours

We have not celebrated Holi in the traditional style with the burning of the holy bonfire, Holika Dahan, over the last few decades as we have not been able to visit our family home at Jaipur during the period of the Holi festival. By some stroke of luck this year we were at Jaipur and … Continue reading Celebrating Holi, Festival of Colours

To be or Not to be: Tenured!

An ever relevant source of tension for young academics: ‘To be’ or ‘not to be’ Tenured!


‘Ok, I admit it: Productivity is Overrated’. I read this article by Theresa MacPhail  this morning and tweeted: Sure? or Not Sure? Is this advice for the ‘to be tenured’ or already ‘tenured’ academic?



The article made an impression because I had just submitted the final manuscript to the publishers of my 7th book ‘Women Entrepreneurs in the Indian Middle Class’ with a set of three co-authors!! All my books, including edited volumes are a group effort, except the earliest two. This book was two years in the writing without counting the two years working on the project on which it was based. In the first two years…

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Christmas Feasts of India

Oh ho and Christmas is here! This morning, December 20th, I was pleased to feel another round of Christmas Cheer as I opened the newspaper and saw this: Our Christmas Feasts! It was the center spread of The Express Times Sunday Magazine, where Nupur Amarnath had written this piece which was cheerfully illustrated by Anirban … Continue reading Christmas Feasts of India

Stand-Up Comedy: A gendered art!

Stand-Up Comedy and it’s Gendered nature.


London’s Hyde Park has always had a ‘Speaker’s Corner’ where anyone could stand up and present a monologue. In the nineties when we first visited London we came across this corner by chance and heard a very interesting political commentary by a young man who had a very large audience in splits of laughter! The Indian Express recently carried a newspaper report from the New York Times on the Australian stand-up comedian Hannah Gadsby. Her stand-up show, Nanette, was apparently creating waves. The show is now available on Netflix and we watched it. It made a great impression on me, for her boldness, her approach to gender and capacity to tell a story of discrimination of the LGBT community with humour and a dramatic punch.

Stand-up Comedy has been around since the beginning of civilization I suppose. But I got introduced to this form of art recently. Yes, it is…

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Calvin’s Wardrobe and Mine

I started writing this blog Unni-Verse in 2016 and the first post I wrote was titled 'Worldly Wardrobe Woes'. I was at my daughter's place in Chicago and reflecting on my sense of traditional/ethnic wear and the Western choice of clothes. Today I came across this Calvin and Hobbes cartoon in the newspaper and was … Continue reading Calvin’s Wardrobe and Mine

Verghese Kurien: An Ode to Father of the White Revolution, India

Credit: Google, Google acknowledges the Milkman of India on his birth anniversary Verghese Kurien (1921-2012) is considered the Father of the White Revolution in India. He is also known as the 'Milkman of India'. He was responsible for moving India from a milk powder importing country to becoming self-sufficient in milk and milk products. He … Continue reading Verghese Kurien: An Ode to Father of the White Revolution, India