Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Involuntary bootstrapping: Empowering women entrepreneurs through resourceful means

By Hildah Gichuru- Business Analyst, WYLDE International

Involuntary bootstrapping is the process of entrepreneurs, especially those who are suffering financial difficulties, depending solely on their own resources and creativity to launch and maintain their firms.

For women, this is a particularly common factor due to the challenges of accessing traditional financing options.

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However, this might serve as an empowering means to enable women to finance their businesses, foster empowerment and resilience in the face of such financial challenges.

Examples of bootstrapping methods include personal saving, borrowing from family members and friends, and utilisation of personal assets. These methods differ from the traditional financing methods on a wide scale.


Funding includes models such as relying on large investments or loans whereas bootstrap entrepreneurs rely on their skills, resources and creativity to start and maintain their ventures.

Women, in particular, are led into bootstrapping due to various challenges faced in financing businesses.

Firstly, gender stereotyping poses one of the biggest setbacks, research states that bootstrapping indicates that women engage in it at all stages of their ventures for growth, whereas variables are seen as women have greater barriers in the access of financial institutions and services.

The social order of gender leads a lot of women to involuntarily bootstrap. Furthermore, limited access to capital and resources forces women entrepreneurs to engage in bootstrapping with the hope of having a more stable business in the long run.

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Cultural and societal barriers practised in various communities serve as the main reason for bootstrapping women.

Lastly, the impact of intersectionality in disciplines such as gender and class causes women to involuntarily bootstrap.

Despite the above, bootstrapping plays a significant role in empowering women entrepreneurs.

A step into bootstrapping is a step towards overcoming financial constraints regardless of whether it was voluntary or not.

Bootstrapping into any business has a net outcome of getting profits hence helps in one’s finances.

Secondly, it fosters creativity and resourcefulness among women despite the challenge of funds, bootstrapping businesses experience rapid growth, and the need for creativity amongst entrepreneurs is greatly fostered.

Flexibility and adaptability of bootstrapping are key advantages. Since one is not tied down by investors or stakeholders, it makes it easy to manoeuvre.

Bootstrapping also ensures full control of your business. Moreover, it builds resilience and perseverance from startup to maintenance and expanding it demands perseverance.

In addition, it encourages self-reliance and independence amongst women as one can maintain a lean operation of businesses.

These can’t be realised without having structures that support women in their ventures. Government policies and programs should be structured to enable bootstrapping.

Women who venture into entrepreneurship should get support from organisations and networks created across the globe to help entrepreneurs and advocate for gender-inclusive financing practices.

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Involuntary bootstrapping besides being relative in today’s world, huge challenges accompany it, especially where there are no well-laid guiding structures and principles.

When mismanaged, over-ambitiousness can lead to the risk of over-reliance on personal resources as with an urge to expand and get enough financial freedom.

As all the running and management is done by the entrepreneur, there’s also the risk of burnout and stress as one involuntarily tries to bootstrap her business.

Just as importantly, bootstrap businesses may face slower growth compared to traditionally funded counterparts, this is particularly challenging where competition is stiff. These challenges therefore need to be addressed with due diligence

In conclusion, bootstrap for women acts as a major empowerment, it leads to independence and sustainability.

However, supportive environments and equitable financing opportunities should be put in place towards securing the future for women.

Strategies on the risk associated with involuntary bootstrapping in women should also be given priority across the globe.

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