Levelling the playing field and supporting women to start even small-scale enterprises can help in accelerating overall female entrepreneurship.
Not an obscure concept anymore, women entrepreneurship in India has been on the rise in recent years. From veterans like Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Indra Nooyi, to new names like Richa Kar of Zivame, Falguni Nayar of Nykaa, Aditi Gupta of Menstrupedia etc. women today are realising their potential, breaking away from the shackles of gender politics and bias.
Global evidence buttresses the fact that women have been performing exceedingly well in a plethora of spheres like academics, politics, administration, social work and so on. Plunging into the industry and running successful business enterprises was the consequential next step for changing the economic and social trajectory of the country for generations of women to come.
Where do Women-Owned Enterprises Stand Today?
According to a report by Google and Bain & Company, 13.5 to 15.7 million women-owned enterprises make up about 20% of all the enterprises present in the country today. This is a 6% rise from the 14%, in the last decade, having overcome several constraints that stand in the way of women entrepreneurs, restricting them from reaching their full potential.
If accelerated to meet its full quality and quantity, women entrepreneurship can create about 30 million women-owned enterprises and potentially transform the employment milieu of the country with 150 to 170 million new jobs according to the study.
Why Women Entrepreneurship?
From increasing longevity of women in the workforce to gender-sensitive innovation, from enhancing pay parity and productivity to the alleviation of poverty and expansion of the country’s economy – “Investing in women builds economic and social prosperity by enabling a gradual social shift from high fertility, low education, and poor health to making more conscious reproductive choices, higher education, and better health for self and family,” noted the report.
Levelling the playing field and supporting women to start even small-scale enterprises can help in accelerating overall female entrepreneurship. When women become active contributors in the workforce they invest not only in their families, their homes but also the communities which helps in leading measurable impact.
The Way Forward
Ultimately, for any venture to take off, one of the most important factors is available capital. While investors are claiming that they invest in ideas, statistically speaking, a skewed pattern has been observed when it comes to capital funding for women-led start-ups and businesses. Having said that, however, new firms are now taking the mantel by betting on great ideas, without letting gender affect their judgement.
From global millennial venture capital firms like SoGal ventures to SAHA Fund, the tide is changing with available funding for women entrepreneurs. Apart from this, having mentorship goes a long way in building and growing networks. Having the right help in articulating their ambitions, or learning how to promote and negotiate can help women entrepreneurs in understanding the gaps within their skill sets.
In India, there are mentorship and skill training initiatives that include finance and skill development programmes led by foundations like Mann Deshi – that has infused about an aggregate of 500 crores to almost 90,000 women entrepreneurs in rural areas. Another programme worth mentioning is TiE Global’s All-India Road Show for Women’s Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship (AIRSWEEE) that looks at promoting entrepreneurship amongst women in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in India.
A collective effort by the government and voluntary agencies is what is necessary to be able to harness the unrecognised and unaccounted for strength in women-led enterprises. By integrating them into the process of industrial development, value can be especially added to small-scale industry development in the country.
Source: Business World