The recent 3-day event Global Entrepreneurship Summit -2017 at Hyderabad city, India, was held for the first time in South Asia with Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and USA President’s Daughter and Advisor Ms. Ivanka Trump as the Guests of Honor. This was the 8th GES event involving approx. 1500 entrepreneurs and investors from over 150 countries. This event is considered to be the first such event where more than 40% of the attendees consisted of women entrepreneurs. Therefore, it is evident that India is moving towards a gender-neutral economy at a steadfast pace. Along with Hyderabad city, many other metropolitan cities of India is promisingly implementing an entrepreneurial ecosystem, encouraging and qualifying the women in the society, to step out of their household and enter into the basking glory of business.
Though India has an abundance of innovators and inventors, it is still a male-dominated society, where women need to come out of the cocoon and establish a space in the business tackling the gender biases and stereotypes. Though people in today’s technological era show off the urban culture, there remains a void, when it comes to factors that influence the gender parity. It is the mindset of the people in the society that has to change for the betterment of the women. A woman can happen, only if there is a combined effort put, together by the family at home and people at work.
Challenges of Women Entrepreneurs
The urban population has around 100 million well educated and qualified women who, after a break of motherhood, either want to resume their careers or want to set up firms on their own terms. But there are several obligations that a woman faces in terms of
- The skills and the experience;
- The education level and knowledge;
- Limited mobility due to the geographical and cultural boundary;
- Stiff competition in the male-dominated society;
- Finance and marketing problems;
- Lack of accessibility and availability of technology;
- Lack of proper guidance and mentorship;
- Family support system;
- Health of herself and the family;
- Mental stamina and perseverance;
- Time management and handling pressure;
There are the startups by the women, for the women, such as Sheroes, flexiwork, jobsforher that allows a woman to seek ‘work-from-home’ opportunities which not only provides her flexibility to nurture the family but also helps her to be financially and economically independent. Therefore, as these women-led businesses are providing employment opportunities to women; they are acting as a catalyst and a multiplier of the women workforce. The technological advancements that India is adopting rapidly have not only paved the ways for a lot of city-based women entrepreneurs to evolve themselves and quickly connect with the network, but also helped a lot of women who are not from the cities by alleviating the issues with respect to accessing the technology.
Solutions offered by Government of India
The Indian Government is focusing on the women in villages and providing avenues to start and eventually scale the small businesses. Growth in both rural and urban women entrepreneurship in the 21st century is expected to multiply and emerge as a breed steadily. The Indian Government has drafted schemes and supposedly implemented them both at the state and central level. The GoI is working towards the visibility of women empowerment both in urban and rural areas by providing a reliable and transparent environment to enable and engage their active participation. The public and private sector enterprises are bringing about the changes in policies concerning the women workforce.
Government-controlled major loan schemes such as Annapurna scheme, Stree Shakti package, Bharatiya Mahila Bank business loan, Dena Shakti scheme, Udyogini scheme, Cent Kalyani scheme, Mahila Udyam Nidhi, Mudra Yojana scheme, and Orient Mahila Vikas Yojana scheme etc.These schemes eliminate a major problem that the women entrepreneurs face at the initial stage of a startup – lack of the financial assistance to fund their startup.
Government organized entrepreneurship development and training programs for women in rural areas:
They are many women-centric programmes planned and implemented in all the states of India. Following programmes are a Few to name:
- Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises cluster development programme and credit guarantee fund scheme
- Financial and marketing awareness, decision-making techniques and support for training and employment programme(STEP)
- Trade-related entrepreneurship assistance and development(TREAD)
- Set up a Women cell for coordinating, assisting and addressing the problems faced by women entrepreneurs
- Women in Agriculture –scheme and co-operative scheme
Government associated Platforms for enabling the Women Entrepreneurs
- SAARC Chamber of Women Entrepreneurship Council (SCWEC)
- Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs (FIWE)
- Women Entrepreneurship Promotional Association (WEPA)
- Consortium of Women Entrepreneurs (CWEI)
- Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)
- Women Empowerment Corporation (WEC)
- Mahakaushal Association of Women Entrepreneurs (MAWE)
- Marketing Organization of Women Enterprises (MOOWES)
- TiE Stree Shakti (TSS)
- Women Entrepreneurs Association of TamilNadu (WEAT)
- Association of Women’s Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE)
- Association of Lady Entrepreneurs of Andhra Pradesh (ALEAP)
- Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh(BMUS)
- Government of Kerala – Women Industries Programme
- Government of Goa –Women Entrepreneur Scheme(GDITC)
- NGO-Women Entrepreneurs India(WEI)
Why Women Entrepreneurs are not Superior yet
The women entrepreneurs think differently than that of men entrepreneurs. Women become entrepreneurs just for few simple reasons such as, to:
- solve the problem at hand;
- develop the creative and techno-social skills;
- follow their passions and chase the dreams;
- support the family financially along with balancing the family and nurturing the children;
- develop into an independent, healthy and wise human being in the patriarchal society;
Due to these reasons, women entrepreneurs restrict their businesses after a specific point in time. They don’t tend to scale up when they feel that their businesses have ripened and have reached the maturity levels.
Men entrepreneurs, on the contrary, aim to accumulate wealth, earn reputation, and try to expand their businesses as wide as possible all around the globe, thus significantly contributing to the economy when compared to their female counterparts.
The Potential of Women Entrepreneurs
Women, especially between the age group 20 and 30, have all the grit and guts to pursue their career obligations. Today’s women, in the 21st century, have enough confidence to take risks and outperform men in the same field of work. But beyond 30 years, most of the women start their families and shoulder up the additional roles and priorities in life, which eventually becomes as equally important as the business itself. This sets the women community behind in the competition thus not allowing them to significantly contribute to the economy. But if these females start to exercise the right power and the authority according to their capability along with the right guidance and support system, then, no doubt that the potential of women will spread out by itself exponentially in their respective field of work cutting through the competition.
With the strong women workforce lying dormant, India is losing a big time on its GDP. Tapping this dormant workforce and enabling the women-led businesses, with the help of the accessibility and availability of technology, will “boom and zoom-in” the Indian economy.
Women graduating from nationally renowned institutes (IITs, IIMS, AIIMS, FTII and NID etc.) and international schools, research centers can collaborate with each other and contribute to the development of the less educated and the other needy women in the society just by guiding, sharing their knowledge and experience.
Women who are well- established entrepreneurs, engineers, bankers, researchers, scientists, doctors, biologists, architects, artists, fashioners, film-makers, journalists, Government officers and so on – at the end of the day can do their bit by diverting a little of their skills, styles and attitudes to other women ,be it her mother or her sister or her daughter or just an acquaintance. These established women can give back to the society by becoming a role model of other struggling women, thus leaving a miniature impact today but leading to the promising generation of women entrepreneurship tomorrow.
The growth of Women will balance the Country’s Economy!
Authored by Rekha Harish Rao