In today’s era, people are more interested to become job givers rather than job seekers.

This thought has given rise to the concept of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are known for their creative skills, innovative ideas and new inventions. Entrepreneurship in fashion is just like entrepreneurship in any other field and is no longer limited to stand-alone stores/boutiques. Various approaches have been developed with the advancement of the internet. Designers today are exploiting all the benefits offered by modern technologies such as e-commerce, 3D printing, digital avatars or AI-based marketing strategies. They play various roles of management--think of innovative ideas, decision making, visionary leadership, economic development and supporting social environment.

This review paper includes the concept of entrepreneurship, characteristics, types, challenges, scope, impact of COVID-19 on entrepreneurship and possible future scenario of fashion entrepreneurs.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Characteristics, Types, Challenges, Scope, Impact of COVID-19, Future Scenario

1. Introduction:

“Entrepreneurship” refers to the procedure of designing, propelling and running a start-up similar to small scale industries, or it can be defined as the ability and readiness of an individual to build and administer a small industry and encounter threats [1]. Fashion is synonymous to creativity and is also about organisation, strategy and management. One has to take both these contrasting components to achieve success. Similar to any organisation, fashion entrepreneurship is the amalgamation of creation and administration of business with the specific aspects of the industry. In recent years the fashion industry entrepreneurship has gained significance and so has competition in the fashion industry across the globe. As told by John Chambers, the former CEO of Cisco “India is becoming an entrepreneurship model for the world”.[3] This is because of various reasons like the tremendous scope of development, rising unemployment etc. India is the country of 1.380 billion people and it is almost impossible to provide employment to each and every individual[4]. Numerous business options are available for an entrant, one of them being a Fashion Brand Manager--a spirited person who recognises the lexis of the creator plus the business owners. The fashion industry is more related to art and these people own binary proficiency as they know how to handle the business and are able to influence fashion collection, fashion buying and retailing. They have unique analytic approach and their own language of expression on a range of topics and ideas. The second option is Content Creator, which is the fastest growing career opportunity today. Content of a brand is somehow responsible to catch the eye of buyers because the writer knows the need of reader and makes the marketing plan suitably effective. The third option is of creating a niche product range. In recent times there are various brands that do not make standardised FMCG products like packed food or smart phones, each product of these industries are creative and for different kind of consumers. And such ventures need replete management with aesthetics and complete understanding of human tastes and preferences [5]

For a successful entrepreneur education is must and fashion institutes should emphasis on opportunities emerging through creativity, preparing the graduates to work as freelancers or self-employed by creating small enterprise. The curriculum to be developed should be based on the collective knowledge of the educator, administrative bodies, NGOs running entrepreneurship programs, successful entrepreneurs in the field and business partners. Different areas that need to be covered are fashion and apparel design content, entrepreneurship content, business content, legal aspects and communication skills.

2. Characteristics of an entrepreneur:

Not all entrepreneurs are successful, there are various defined characteristics of an entrepreneur:

•Daring: There is a lot of risk involved instarting a new business, hence, the entrepreneur should be able to take riskfor becoming a successful entrepreneur.[6]

•Innovative: He should think of highly innovative ideas and adapt to the latest technology to start a new venture and make profits.[6]

•Leadership: To be successful, the owner should plan a clear vision for his business. Although resources and employees are required to transform an idea into reality but leadership characteristic is responsible to impart proper guidance for success.[6]

•Flexibility: An entrepreneur should be flexible and ready to cope with changing situation, technology and demand.[6]

•Product knowledge: A business owner ought to know the product offered by the company and be updated with changing market trends. It is necessary to meet consumers demand for being a successful entrepreneur.[6]

An entrepreneur has to play multiple important roles in order to be successful depicted

DiagramDescription automatically generated

in Figure 1

.3. Types of entrepreneurs:  


On the basis of Economic Development

On the basis of Business Type

On the basis of Technology Used

On the basis of Motivation

On the basis of Growth

On the basis of Entrepreneurial activity

a.Innovative Entrepreneurs

These entrepreneurs think about latest and economical ideas to administer into the company.

They are attracted in the market by its practice and leaves no opportunity to introduce new technology, a new product or a new market.[7]

a.Business Entrepreneurs

Business entrepreneurs are the one that creates the idea of a new product/service and then emerge their idea into reality.

They can be small scale, large scale and big enterprise.

Majorly there are small entrepreneurs.[7]

a.Technical Entrepreneurs

Technical entrepreneurs commercially exploit their inventions and discoveries and are expert in technical field.

Other experts of different fields can be employed afterwards.

Production method and market acceptance are the key factors of its success.[7]

a.Pure Entrepreneur

A Pure entrepreneur is motivated by conceptual, moral and economical considerations and undertakes an entrepreneurial activity for his personal satisfaction in work, ego or status.[7]

a.Growth Entrepreneur

Growth entrepreneur chooses the industry with high growth possibility and have both the desire and ability to grow as fast as possible.[7]

a.Novice Entrepreneur

“Novice” refers to the person who has started his first entrepreneurial venture and a novice entrepreneur refers to the person with no ownership experience. He is not compulsorily a young person but can also be aged one with lot of experience in the industry.[7]

b.Adoptive/Imitative Entrepreneur

These entrepreneurs imitate or copy the ideas of other entrepreneurs as innovative entrepreneurs and build their enterprise in the exact manner.

They face fewer risks and uncertainty then innovative entrepreneurs. [7]

b.Trading Entrepreneur

These entrepreneurs only deal with trading activities and can identify the potential of their product in market and stimulates demand among buyers by using push strategy.

Can deal either domestically or internationally.[7]

b.Non-technical Entrepreneur

Non-technical entrepreneurs only concerned about non- technical aspects of a product as making alternate market strategy, promotional strategy, etc.[7]

b.Induced Entrepreneur

Induced entrepreneurs take up an entrepreneurial task for executive policy reforms that aids, and other facilities to start a business.

Today, small scale industries are being set up more because of import restrictions and allocation of production quotas to small units.[7]

b.Super-Growth Entrepreneur

Super growth entrepreneurs are the one who show extensive growth of performance in their venture.

The growth is measured by the turnover of sales, liquidity of funds, and profitability.[7]

b.A Serial Entrepreneur

A serial entrepreneur starts with one venture and ends up starting many.

After establishment of a business, it may not fascinate him afterwards he might sell it off and move on to another.[7]

c.Fabian Entrepreneur

These entrepreneurs are not interested in adopting latest innovations that are adopted by others and wants to remain in the existing business with old techniques of production.

These can accept the innovations only when there is no option left for their survival in the market.[7]

c.Industrial Entrepreneur

Industrial entrepreneur identifies the customer requirements and creates products or services to serve them by setting up an industrial unit.[7]


Professional entrepreneur is the one who sets up the business but will not administer it afterwards he sells out that business and starts a new one with new idea.

They are vigorous and come up with the ideas to develop substitute projects.[7]

c.Motivated Entrepreneur

These entrepreneurs find their motivation by the desire for self-recognition.

Have ability to make and market some new products for end consumers.

They are motivated through reward like profit.[7]

c.Portfolio Entrepreneur

Portfolio entrepreneur retains the original business and simultaneously builds a portfolio of another businesses.

He starts and runs several businesses. [7]

d.Drone Entrepreneur

Drone entrepreneurs are the laggards one that do not imitate or take opportunities that comes along, are very conservative for their technology and do not adapt with the latest innovation and can bear the loss.[7]

d.Corporate Entrepreneur

These entrepreneurs use their organising and managing skills to run a legal organisation that is registered under an Act. [7]

e. Agricultural Entrepreneur

Agricultural entrepreneurs refer to those people who undertake agricultural activities (mechanisation, irrigation and application of technologies) to produce the crop and covers a huge spectrum of the agricultural sector and include agriculture and allied occupations. [7]

4. Challenges faced by a fashion entrepreneur:

Challenges faced by the fashion entrepreneur can be broadly classified into two categories:

1. Specific industry challenges

Fashion industry consists of several structures and processes which impart it a special characteristic which impact the entrepreneurship endeavor as well. Specific industry challenges are categorised as:

Industry conditions



Governmental assistance

Fashion clusters

2. Personal challenges

The personal challenges are divided into seven categories:



Business skills


Communication – Network

Designer as the brand

Small-scale Industries

Industry conditions

As stated by writer “Stone” “Fashion resembles to the river in numerous ways. A river is flowing continuously; sometimes slow and gentle, while at other times rushing and turbulent in its action, always exciting and never the same, affects those who rest on its shores, its movement depends on the environment and so as the fashion”

Becoming a fashion entrepreneur is not easy because it is hard to overview the entire industry and fashion is ephemeral, dangerous, exciting, unfair and demand innovative ideas with unique design language.

The fashion industry is an unpredictable and hyper competitive, saturated and volatile market with short product life cycles and needs a lot of creativity. So, in order to gain market share, fashion companies have to attract customers by their USP.[1]


The role of a fashion designer differs from company to company but as an entrepreneur, a fashion designer needs a large number of skills. He has to balance two elements - creativity with business skills and art with commerce.

Fashion entrepreneurs have to be aware and in-charge of all the different fields of the business as research, product development, sourcing, production, marketing, distribution, sales, management, etc.

It seems to be one of the most challenging tasks to balance and manage the two different elements i.e. both commerce and creation.

A great stamina and openness is needed to manage work other than the designing part which needs time and energy.

When the company earns profits and increases in size, it needs to outsource in order to concentrate on the essential aspects. The director of a fashion incubator told that many designers want to do all tasks by themselves but that makes it inefficient. Outsourcing is unecessary in the case of a small firm, but if the business grows, eventually this is not possible anymore, there is no time to have control over everything.[1]


Time is one of the most powerful elements in fashion as it keeps on changing with respect to seasons, special events and different times of the day. The whole fashion industry follows the traditional fashion industry calendar, which is composed of two major seasons – spring/summer and autumn/winter and has arranged its business around this standard. Fast fashion is based on more than 10 seasons and many companies can have their own fashion cycle.

Managing cash flow is a challenge in the fashion industry due to the seasonality, and the forecasting of the order volume. For a designer who is new in the market, it is difficult to predict how many clothing pieces will be sold.

Establishing a sustainable company is hard because developing and producing a collection has to be pre-financed. A fashion designer gets the revenues back by selling the clothes but the next collection has to be started meanwhile.[1]


The whole attitude of an entrepreneur such as the approach towards the concept and progress of a new venture is crucial for the development of a company, culture, the spirit and the self-motivation.

Founding and managing a business requires a strong personality, hardwork, persistency and the ability to cope with uncertainty.

Creative entrepreneurs often set up their own business because it is the only way to work and set up their venture in a lot more different way, mostly without extensive and complex market studies and operational structures. These people have strong personal values and are driven mostly by their internal motivation. Passion and commitment are essential characteristics to describe the relation to their work and they are emotionally attached to their work. On that account, the emotional impact of failure is very high, therefore emotional spirit has to be connected with rational spirit.

Designers have to be convinced about their creative output and be proud of their own products but at the same time, this presents a danger since it could influence objective and practical view on the business idea and the administration of the company.

In conversations with fashion designers and industry experts, it turned out that fashion designers generally have a lack of business skills. It is crucial for fashion designers who actually become entrepreneurs naturally due to the focus of their education on design.[1]


For things to run smoothly there has to be adequate resources and apart from starting a business in fashion industry, getting finance for start-ups is one of the major challenges for fashion entrepreneurs which makes further growth of the company difficult.

Debt and equity are the possible sources of external finance. Debt is the process of borrowing money from an outside source with the promise to return the principal whereby equity occurs when a company gives away part of the ownership of their venture.

Many businesses fail due to lack of capital backing the venture. Fashion entrepreneurs have difficulties in accessing financial support because the business ideas are often considered to be high-risk investments and the margins are low and ROI (return on investment) is not easy, this is why less attractive to banks and investors are not interested in investing in this industry.

Since investors and banks evaluate the business idea and the possibilities of the idea, it is firstly important to have a business plan and secondly its presentation in an adequate manner which is a challenge for many designers.

Banks look at four criteria: the entrepreneur, the collateral, the ROI and the certainty in terms of assets. The loan taker has to assure the bank for success in future which is not an easy task. In general designers are afraid of owing money to banks. [1]

Business skills

Lack of business skills is the main challenge for fashion designers in becoming an entrepreneur. They are often very confident about their creative work. At the same time they lack confidence entering the world of business management, marketing, accounting and financing The level of business skills and the ability to manage the business side vary from one individual to another. Naturally it develops and increases with experience.

A culture entrepreneurship consultant stated that entrepreneurs don’t have relation with economic issues. They have an idea, passion and enthusiasm, but if it comes to creating a business plan and a business concept, which is absolutely essential, it gets difficult for them.[1]

Governmental assistance

In the past few years, the creative industry as a whole has drawn attention to politics due to the economic contribution. In Germany, governmental support for the creative industry is in the early stages but it is far behind the support for other industries such as technology and engineering fields.

The support programme varies from business to business.

Governmental support for fashion entrepreneurs is still very limited. An organisation has to apply with a concept for governmental financial support, only then the government can allow the application and concede money.[1]


Entrepreneurs who have experienced entrepreneurship in their education, tend to do better and their firms survive longer than their counterparts who lack formal teaching.

In the design field, various education systems exist. Designers are educated 2-4 years either at universities, fashion colleges or academies and there is a relatively high number of autodidacts, who learn their skills on the job or as a hobby.

Business and entrepreneurial skills have not received any attention in their education and aesthetics & apparel specific skills are the main focus. It can be put into question whether designers have to be business experts or to which extent they need business skills to run their business.[1]

Fashion clusters

A fashion cluster is the situation when a number of fashion companies gather in close proximity and they further form a critical mass providing work, a pool of fashion industry talents and a fruitful environment encouraging innovation, creativity and contention.

It includes assisting ventures, fashion designers, pattern makers, marketing company, retailers and fashion education institutes.

It increases cooperation with other companies, facilitate networking and built industry contacts. It is often regarded as the common location as a base for a relationship that eases work and offers a learning platform.

These present a useful and beneficial environment to initiate a new venture for entrepreneurs. [1]

Communication – Network

Network is essential for every industry but especially for the fashion industry the interaction and communication among people is very important. It can be a challenge for young fashion designers whose network is often very limited.

A new entrepreneur needs some time to build up his own network. Through a network of relevant contacts, it is possible to get useful information and share knowledge. Especially at the beginning a relevant and broad network is very helpful to start up the label.

There are three stages of networking for small firm communities: the first stage are the networks in terms of membership and linkage, secondly the dynamics within the network of relations between members and third stage is the competitive advantage.

It can be a problem for entrepreneurs while dealing with business partners. In particular when interacting with the counterparty, some designers are incapable of communicating with businessmen in the right way in an appropriate business language.

A fashion designer described that his biggest problem is selling clothes. For that one has to prove himself and uniqueness of his product.[1]

Designer as the brand

The fashion designer stands for the brand 24/7 and as a result incorporates the brand. A director of a fashion incubator explained it like “It’s not you and the business, you’re the business.”

The designer’s name recognition in the market is more in fashion industry. It is a challenge to create good products and then to communicate the aesthetics of the products and to connect the personality successfully with the collection. [1]


The intention to set up a label may have various reasons, ranging from personal fulfilment, financial self-reliance to artistic freedom, but in the middle of the focus is the generation of value. For a creative person value can be associated to financial, social or emotional outcome.

Some companies prefer to stay small because they are afraid to burden themselves too much as fashion industry is an uncertain, fast-paced and unpredictable section.

The small-scale nature of the business is a challenge for an entrepreneur. If a small company is not well established yet, the founder is confronted with obstacles such as the dependence on a few customers and the missing effect of economy of scale in the production process as already examined in industry specific difficulties.

If a business founder does not think big definitely the focus will not be on further growth.[1]

5. Scopes of entrepreneurship

In a developing country like India, entrepreneurship has prodigious scope. The problem of unemployment and under-employment is increasing day by day which can be dealt with entrepreneurship.[8] The report of Labour Bureau states that the rate of employment was 5 per cent in the year 2015-2016, which was the highest percentage in past five years, and it is becoming higher for women than in men.

Various reasons of choosing entrepreneurship as a career by young generation:

•Determination of people

•Wants to control the future.

•There is scope of more profits

•To reduce unemployment

•Is committed to foster entrepreneurship substantially

The Planning Commission has put forward the idea of self-employment in order to target the unemployment rate amongst youth. The Government of India and numerous other organisations are assisting in nurturing entrepreneurship through various schemes and strategies. As an example, the Maharashtra Economic Development Council (MEDC), provides support in the development of entrepreneurship by research and training in this area. Various institutes have added entrepreneurship in their curriculum so that an individual gains knowledge at earlier stages of his education and in addition workshops and seminars are organised on the topic of entrepreneurship. The overall movement of entrepreneurship development has started in the country and is likely to gain huge momentum in the near future. [9]

6. Impacts of Covid-19: 

The COVID-19 pandemic had affected almost each and every sector. Entrepreneurs have also faced both positive and negative impact. Almost 61 per cent of entrepreneurs have faced a significant challenge for their survival because of sudden stoppage of trading activities.[10] Only 28 per cent of small medium enterprises were working even in COVID times and remain unaffected. Almost 3,162 entrepreneurs and their 41,578 employees’ jobs were at risk. Customers were either not clearing the bills or making late payments which caused problem in keeping up with the pace of business. 42 per cent entrepreneurs started working remotely from home, 33 per cent continued to work in their offices, 20 per cent were already following protocols of work from home. As the schools were also shut down during pandemic, parents had to take care of their children and home as well which became a challenge for some entrepreneurs. The impact has been different for different people, someone who was already offering online services didn’t face many challenges compared to someone who was only dealing in physical mode of services and products. Numerous businesses entrepreneurs tried new ways to satisfy consumers’ needs during the pandemic time.[11] The way entrepreneur ventures have been impacted, will make people think twice to choose it as a job option in near future.

Almost 60 per cent of entrepreneurs in India predict a long-term positive impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. Entrepreneurs are fighters; by nature optimistic and resilient. So they will surely survive in this difficult time.[12] An increase in the percentage of finding customer, capital investment, policies and regulations are emphasised more during pandemic and demand for skilled employees have also been created.[13]

7. Future scenarios:

India is considered as the third top country to invest in startups. A PwC report predicts that 2219 MNCs will establish their base in India between 2010 and 2024. Based on the previous experience it is believed that with appropriate policies, environment, and entrepreneurship will help economic activities to grow rapidly. After 1990s economic reforms, the private industries have become profit makers and are supported by all executive and legislative functions irrespective of political ideas. There is a long way ahead to reach a mature entrepreneurial landscape in India, but the opportunities are ample so as to shape the future of India by its entrepreneurs.[15] Here is a list of some future trends:

•Heading to the entrepreneur age: In this virtual age, by having merely a laptop and internet connection and rich innovative ideas, one can enter into an entrepreneur culture. The global market can be accessed for numerous buyers and suppliers. The educational institutes are now more directed towards entrepreneurship education so that people have sufficient knowledge about the subject before they enter business. It will lead to more growth, more profit and employment.[14]

•Young generation: Entrepreneurship is becoming a trend these days lead by young people as they want to become job givers rather than job seekers. There are various approaches to uplift young entrepreneurs. Their determination and perseverance make them successful in this field.[14]

•Women as entrepreneurs: In today’s world, women owned businesses are increasing. As per a report about 800 women are starting their businesses as owners and will surely be at pace in future. Investors are investing their money in the support of women so as to give them voice and reduce racism factor. Women entrepreneurship will help in growth of economy and strengthen the community.[14]

•Faster scaling speed: A sudden change in speed at which a company scales up is seen now because of automation, computerisation, robotics, telecommunication and other advanced technologies. But in this environment too, plays an important factor. Only some enterpreneurs are able to cruise this environment. People will be the challenge for future entrepreneurship, not the product.[14]

•Vast scope: Entrepreneurship is definitely going to be a common wave for all types of businesses and industries and will be no longer confined to new business set ups but also adopted by earlier existing organisations. It is more of flexible, innovative, inventive and apropos.[14]


Entrepreneurship can be seen as a recognised change, opportunity, risk taking, innovations and economic growth factor. Unemployment is the biggest problem of India and its rate is increasing day by day. This can be treated by encouraging youth to pursue their career as an entrepreneur. Apparel manufacturing alone provides 40 per cent of jobs, besides offering ample opportunities to entrepreneurs. Although there were numerous challenges faced by entrepreneurs during the pandemic, but they have survived the market by adopting latest technology, understanding consumer needs and following future trends. The rise in women business owners is due to the fact that women are better managers than men. Proper education system needs to be developed so that sufficient knowledge is imparted to a person, and he does not have to face challenges afterwards. Recently the government has removed the spending restrictions on the ministries of rural development, health and MSMEs which will act as big booster in economic recovery of entrepreneurs.

About the author: Achala Jaglan is a student from Fashion and Apparel

Engineering, T.I.T&S Bhiwani, Haryana, India.


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