(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Women Entrepreneurs Driving Transformation
Women Entrepreneurs Driving Transformation
- Women labour force participation is a driver of development, and their participation roles point to the potential for o country to grow more rapidly. It is closely linked with financial independence, confidence and ability to drive others, as well as to make an individual mark in the social environment.
- Entrepreneurship remains critical to harness the economic potential of women Stimulating women entrepreneurship can also go a long way in bridging gender gaps and empowering women.
Challenges Faced by Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs:
- The role of women entrepreneurs in economic development is inevitable. Now-a-days women enter not only in selected professions but in professions like trade, industry and engineering.
- Women are also willing to take up business and contribute to the nation’s growth. Their role is also being recognised and steps are being taken to promote women entrepreneurship. In the last decade, there have also been focused institutional efforts such as Mahila e-Haat and Stand-up India to make women an active part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of India by enabling access to funds, markets and mentors. However, deeply entrenched socio-cultural expectations act as systemic barriers leading to less-than-ideal participation from women entrepreneurs.
- Access to Credit: Additionally, the risks associated with entrepreneurial ventures play a part in holding back aspiring women entrepreneurs who often have to tackle biased perceptions while seeking credit. Getting a loan from a financial institution requires adequate collateral and the gendered differences in asset ownership and the lack of sufficient savings, often disqualify women from receiving credit.
- Domestic Responsibilities: For instance, in most Indian families, women are still operating within the framework of pre-assigned gender roles shouldering the sole responsibility for domestic chores and care giving for dependents. OECD reports that the average Indian woman spends nearly six hours on unpaid work each day with men contributing less than a single hour (52 minutes). With the management of the domestic realm falling on women alone, the time and energy required to run a functioning enterprise is not always feasible, making women skeptical and hesitant to enter the space.
- Gender Biases: The undercurrent of gender biases is starkest in the investment space for women owned enterprises. Women entrepreneurs are often hesitant to approach investors If and when, women do make investment pitches, investors have been found to prefer pitches presented by men as compared to those by women, despite having identical content.
- Information Asymmetry: Another key challenge is the information asymmetry’ that amplifies the lack of access to different resources and support available to women entrepreneurs Limited exposure to the world of business makes women with entrepreneurial ambitions undermine themselves and question their ability to succeed in the space. This under confidence is only heightened by the lack of formal training and consequent inadequate skill sets.
- Lack of Role Models: Added to this, Is the dearth of role models, limiting the confidence of aspiring women entrepreneurs, making success seem like an unbreakable glass ceiling. Visibility of successful role models in the public domain helps combat stereotypes and trigger change, and this lacuna can be felt in the Indian ecosystem with the inhibited development of an “entrepreneurial” spirit among young women.
Role of NITI Aayog to tackle the Gender Bias in Entrepreneurship:
- Women entrepreneurs must be molded properly with entrepreneurial traits and skills to meet the changes in trends, challenge global markets and also be competent enough to sustain and strive for excellence in the entrepreneurial arena.
- Based on the assessments and analysis of the data from the surveys and feedback from the Women Entrepreneurship Ecosystem, key areas of support were identified. These have been developed into six parallel work streams. These streams are curated in a manner so that the larger objectives, namely facilitate collaboration in the ecosystem, address the information asymmetry, facilitate capacity building programs and create role models for the larger ecosystem, offering services to users across its six work streams:
- Community and Networking: To build a robust network of women entrepreneurs to enable an ecosystem of support, learning, collaboration and mentorship by enabling key partnerships, WEP helps entrepreneurs realize their aspirations, scale-up innovation and chalk-out sustainable, long-term strategies for their enterprises.
- Compliance and Tax Assistance: Leveraging knowledge partners for resources around taxation, audit, business licensing and regulations.
- Entrepreneur Skilling and Mentorship: Imparting essential entrepreneurial and management skills to stimulate innovation and sustainability.
- Funding and Financial Assistance: Providing information on sources of funding, financial management for launch and expansion of enterprises.
- Incubation and Acceleration: Connecting women to incubation and acceleration programs for speeding up the growth of startups and early stage companies.
- Marketing Assistance: Providing guidance to help women-led businesses improve their online and offline market presence.