To profit or not to profit: Women entrepreneurs in India



Entrepreneurial activity attracts certain kinds of individuals, whether it is to promote a social cause in the nonprofit sector or profit in the for-profit sector. This article looks at the behavior of women entrepreneurs in India in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors to test for potential differences and similarities. We chose two groups of entrepreneurial women who founded and led relatively similar-size organizations in the same city and who provided services primarily to women and children. Our findings show that while all nonprofit entrepreneurs receive a high payoff from promoting social causes, there is no single unifying payoff for for-profit entrepreneurs. Family background and support, however, play an important role for both sets of entrepreneurs. We find that experience in the sector, social class, caste, and education in?uence entrepreneurial behavior and that this in?uence differs by sector.