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Female Entrepreneurs are Re-defining the World of Business According to the Sixth Economic Census by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) of the 58.5 Mn businesses in India, only 8.05 Mn are managed by women entrepreneurs

By Tejas Parulekar

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India is bursting with bold stories of growth and risks taken by women in business, which are inspiring, empowering and spurring more women to bravely follow their heart. India is an increasingly preferred trade and business destination today with a developed open-market economy. It is encouraging to see many Indian women entrepreneurs start their own venture, raise funds and make a mark on the domestic as well as a global stage in this new empowered India.

The factors are favourable for women entrepreneurship in India; A report by New World Wealth estimates that the average wealth per person increased from $900 in 2000 to $2,800 in 2015. Amenities are more affordable, manpower is abundant, technology is touching an increasing number of lives, and both consumption and investment are on the rise. The Projected GDP growth of India for the year 2018-2019 is 7.3per cent making India the fastest growing economy in the world.

Add to that the supportive environment and nurturing ecosystem that the government and private sector are making available for Indian women entrepreneurs allowing them to explore available opportunities to join this hub of growing commerce.

Why Women Entrepreneurship in India Must be Hailed

Winning Over Themselves - Fact remains that women have a dual role and the responsibility for work life balance falls more squarely on the woman's shoulders. While this may seem like a disadvantage at first, what this dual responsibility has helped us to do becomes work-liveborn thinkers and multitaskers. However, just like anything in life, there is a need to strike a balance as opposed to becoming perfection chasers. Consider this, how many articles have been written to address "traveler's guilt' for men who take an all-boys vacation leaving the children back home?

Braving the Odds- The adverse socio-economic winds that women in India have braved further attempt to clip their wings. Lacking equal access to education, equal opportunity in the labor market, handling the unequal division of unpaid domestic work, dealing with sexual abuse and gender disparity has for so long hindered their integration into mainstream that the changing panorama and the increasing new stories of growth and bravery, brings to the fore that women are an unstoppable force of nature.

Navigators of Change-The recently unleashed #MeToo movement or the news last year of Catt Sadler ending her contract with E! News to protest the fact that her male counterpart was taking home double the salary for identical roles, are examples exposing the underbelly of our gender-biased world.

Finding Their Voice- These are stories of courage, and growth, and of taking a stand. They have claimed the stage, forced the audience to pay attention and deliver retribution and corrective action. And these stories have an undeniable multiplier effect in the growth story of the women entrepreneur in India.

Slow, Steady and Power-Packed

A study by Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) has ranked India 52nd out of 57 countries judged on the basis of parity for women entrepreneurs.

According to the Sixth Economic Census by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) of the 58.5 Mn businesses in India, only 8.05 Mn are managed by women entrepreneurs.

The change might be excruciatingly slow, but it is irrefutable.

  • According to Tlabs which is an enabler of women entrepreneurship in the country, applications received for a cohort have risen from 2-3per cent of the 300-400 applications in 2012 to 8-10% of the 750-800 applications in a 5-year duration, especially in tech range.

  • NITI Aayog, encouraged by the fast-emerging group of women entrepreneurs in India, launched a dedicated women's cell last year in March with the aim to provide women entrepreneurs a platform where various stakeholders can collaborate to help them create scalable and sustainable businesses.

  • The Indian women entrepreneurship landscape is seeing investments from investors and government alike to help their startups. More investors are investing in innovative and scalable ideas and good quality products which solve a problem, undeterred whether the founder or co-founder is a woman.

  • Mentor networks comprising of successful women entrepreneurs who are industry experts are coming forward to nurture women entrepreneurship in the country. Their wealth of experience and expertise and deep understanding of the unique challenges women face is helping these innovators give shape to their ideas

  • Urban and rural women alike, sometimes with little experience in their chosen entrepreneurship endeavour, are boldly donning the founder's hat to follow their heart and make a difference to their communities. Many women-led projects have created wide-scalable social impact

It's a brave new world and it is so important for women entrepreneurs to tell their stories because it takes just one story to change a life. One story of how someone reached out for help, or believed in herself, or stood her ground is permeating the Indian entrepreneurship universe so much so that we are witnessing the rise of awe-inspiring women business leaders of grit and vision.

Tejas Parulekar

Co-Founder of SaffronStays

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