What Can Be Done To Fast Track Growth Of Women Entrepreneurs In India?
It is no longer a man’s world and entrepreneurship is no longer a man’s ballgame either. As per a SumHR 2019 research, the growth of women entrepreneurs in India has been exponential.
60% of women have found opportunities to start their own ventures, nearly 52% have gained validation for their skills and 57% are resilient enough to not have the fear of failure deter them from this rocky yet exciting adventure.
With names like Sabina Chopra (founder, Yatra.com), Sairee Chahal (founder, Sheroes), Shradha Sharma (Founder and CEO, YourStory) and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, currently India’s richest self-made woman, a new era has begun for women and how!
A) Number of women entrepreneurs in India & projections
Entrepreneurship definitely plays a catalyst for economy and is known to fuel growth for the same as it has helped generate jobs for the youth. Where women are concerned, they reportedly constitute nearly 14% of the total entrepreneurship in India.
We still have a long way to go, yet the statistics favouring the growth of women entrepreneurs is a very positive sign.
Notably, the banking sector was dominated by women in the last decade, and women are, in general, seen to be ruling all segments spanning across industries.
This shows and highly impacts the self-belief, confidence and aspirations of other women as well. We have great women leaders like Indra Nooyi and Ziya Modi as well and women have also been donning the hats of angels and investors of lately.
All in all, this creates a very strong network of women who can support each other and play mentors and policymakers to those in need of guidance. A 2015 study by McKinsey showed that with equal participation of women in the economy, India’s GDP can rise by 16-60% by 2025, which translates to an addition of $2.9 trillion to the Indian economy.
As per the Sixth Economic Census by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), out of the 58.5 Mn businesses in India, 8.05 Mn are managed by women entrepreneurs. The projected GDP growth of India for the year 2018-2019 is 7.3%, making India the fastest growing economy in the world.
B) Why is the growth of women entrepreneurs vital for the Indian economy?
Women are vital to every segment in the work sphere and have always displayed growth and results, even when it comes to interpersonal relationships, raising a family or contributing to their man’s success. So, women are inherently vital to society in general and a world without women is unimaginable.
Where entrepreneurship is concerned, it requires a lot of discipline, resilience, grit and patience – all of which have women top the charts. Patience is key to making good decisions and standing your ground when life hits hard.
Entrepreneurship is synchronous with risk-taking. Women have a sharper and more nuanced view of risk. Also, they know how to segregate between essential risk-taking and fool-hardy risks. They also identify more strongly as financial risk takers than other women.
Women are more ambitious in general to become and prove their mettle as serial entrepreneurs as compared to their male counterparts. Also, the increase in the number of women in business leadership positions is directly proportional to better business returns and payout ratios.
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C) What can be done to boost women participation in entrepreneurship?
A variety of factors have inadvertently led women to take a backseat where entrepreneurship is concerned. Some factors contributing to the same are as follows:
1) Gender bias
Though numerous women have said they have not faced gender discrimination during their careers, however, senior women have reported being a women founder to be difficult in general.
Therefore, this subtle bias has proved to cause more harm than blatant discrimination at times and has also proven to be one key element impending women’s entrepreneurial success.
2) Less faith is shown to women’s business world
Some people believe certain stereotypes than women are bad drivers, bad at math and bad at anything that a man claims to have mastered! As a result, the world does not show complete faith in women’s business sense and oft times, even they struggle to feel confident in their own abilities.
3) Difficulty in securing funding
It has been found that investors are more inclined to provide funding to a man rather than a female entrepreneur due to the stereotype that women are low risk-takers and hence would not be able to attain the desired success for their venture.
Nearly 79% of women-owned startups are self-financed, and even families do not support their daughters’ entrepreneurial dreams most of the time.
Entrepreneurship can bring a lot of flexibility and personal space to women, but with children, it can become a challenge to manage the roller-coaster life of setting up and running a business and managing its unpredictable challenges while providing complete assistance to their families at home.
Women do try to work their way around by trying to involve their parents for support or taking aid of nannies, but that arrangement has been observed to die a slow death as women tend to or are made to feel guilty about neglecting their responsibilities at home.
D) How can the Indian government boost the growth of women entrepreneurs and Indian startups in general?
- The government of India has come up with the Startup India Programme in the year 2016 for encouraging entrepreneurship in the country and boost employment. By empowering new businesses, we would have ever-increasing number jobs with increasing pay and also witness an exponential increase in discretionary flow.
- The I-MADE program under this activity means to enable Indian business visionaries to build one million versatile and innovative businesses.
- There is the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (MUDRA Banks) which aims to provide small-scale financial support and low-financing cost credits to visionaries hailing from a low financial background. At the end of this activity, the intensity and need of entrepreneurship would be realised and how is surge can help adolescents find more employment options.
- Startup India has its incubation centres spread across the nation. There is also a Startup India centre point which has been operational from April 2016 so people can get their queries resolved about incubation centres, financing, profit tax reductions and more.
- Notably, the centre point has resolved over 25,000 questions from new businesses on phone, mails and even Twitter.
- Also, the ‘Reserve Bank of India’, has kept aside a reserve deposit of INR 10,000 crore for new companies under SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India). This kind of financial support has been a noteworthy fascination for new companies.
- Even the exit of startups have been made easier – as per the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, a startup can shut everything down within 90 days of applying. The GST Bill has also improved the development rate of new and upcoming businesses, which are scaling up well with no unmanageable or unpredictable issues by far.
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Where women are concerned, the government will assist them so they can also excel in the field of entrepreneurship through online and offline programmes/courses for capacity building in women and facilitate and grant aid to them for legal, tax and financial matters.
Under the programme, women will get an opportunity to interact with venture capitalists and banks alike so the process of equity and debt can be more simple and accessible. Notably, the government had announced earmarking of Rs. 1000 crores out of FFS only for women-led/centric startups.
To sum it up, all of these developments should mean ‘ache din’ for the growth of women entrepreneurs. The change has already begun, only the acceleration needs to be seen through.
Women entrepreneurship is no longer taking a back seat because women are going all out now – they also want their leadership skills and the ability to create to be displayed before the world, and that they can crunch numbers just as fine as a man, who they are not even competing with.
They just want their part in this rollercoaster ride which also, in turn, would be a key step towards poverty alleviation and would be an attempt to eradicate gender bias and pay parity as well. You GO, women!
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