Discussion Papers

No.719 Women-Owned Micro and Small Enterprises in Bhutan : What Major Obstacles Impede Their Growth and Innovation?

by Lham Dorji

May 2018


The research identified and examined the major obstacles impeding the growth and innovation of Women Micro and Small Enterprises (WMSEs) in Bhutan. The research was carried out using World Bank’s Bhutan Enterprise Survey data (2015) and in-depth interviews of eighty-one micro and small businesswomen. It was noted that increasing number of Bhutanese women has started to participate in economic activities in the recent years. However, the growth in WMSEs has ensued largely in the form of gain in number but not in terms of business innovation and upward progression in the entrepreneurial ladder. These imply that numerous obstacles continue to impede the growth and innovation of WMSEs in Bhutan. What are these obstacles? How could they overcome these obstacles? Using mixed-method, the research has attempted to answer these critical questions. Through triangulation of the results from the quantitative and qualitative analysis, the study concluded that the obstacles needing immediate attention are poor access to finance; labour shortage; inadequate business skills (managerial, financial and technical); competitions among similar enterprises, lack of proper business premises (location, rent and space), lack of formal education, lack of training opportunities, and seasonality of businesses.

Keywords: Women micro and small enterprises, businesswomen, entrepreneurial obstacles, entrepreneurial growth, innovation, access to finance, women-owned MSEs

JEL classification: L26

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