Female Entrepreneurs - The Next Wave of Business Success
Though women constitute nearly 14per cent of the 58.5 million entrepreneurs in India, the numbers are rising in the favour of the former
Constant brainwork and multitasking 24x7 are not new to modern women, who have been adeptly managing their professional and personal responsibilities for quite some time now. Giving the best out of limited resources - particularly time - on a daily basis is their forte. Their managerial skill is a reflection of their potential in entrepreneurial setup.
It is, however, no secret that negatively using their "homemaker" tag, the society discriminates against women. Instead of encouraging them to apply their abilities outside the domestic setup, people often try to limit them to their prejudiced gender roles. From the beginning of their lives, women in India still get fewer opportunities than men do.
While trailblazing women are breaking out of the societal shackles and starting their own businesses, they face many challenges that their male counterparts might not. They rarely get emotional and financial support. The latter accounts for a major portion of challenges in their entrepreneurial journey. The fact that only 2per cent of the total startup funding raised in 2017 went to a woman founder is a testament to this.
Women Push Back and Strive to be Successful Entrepreneurs
Despite the odds, we have seen women rise above, scale success and break norms. They have continuously marched forward, from being a minority in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to representing 37per cent of the world's total entrepreneurs in the past decade. A report by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) in 2016 states that 224 million women are actively contributing to the global economy. Of these almost 126 million women have started their own businesses, while 98 million operate established businesses.
Women entrepreneurs are becoming a driving force in India's economic growth. Though women constitute nearly 14per cent of the 58.5 million entrepreneurs in India, the numbers are rising in the favour of the former. Going by the registered records in the country, over 8 million women have started their own business in the last two years. A quarter of these women started their businesses under the age of 25 years.
Aspirations Rise in Tier-2 Cities
While earlier the cities they came from tended to rule their probability of becoming entrepreneurs, women today are joining the business ecosystem from all parts of India. The restricted social set-up in small towns and lack of equal educational opportunities are no more preventing women from dreaming big and venturing into the business world. NGOs, Self-help groups, as well as government policies, are giving women unbridled access to capital for their businesses. Improvement in education opportunities, as well as higher general awareness, are also driving factors behind the rise in female entrepreneurs in the country.
Women like Sunitaben from Gandhidham, Gujarat running a vegetable business or Lalfakzuali from a small town in Mizoram operating her handwoven shawl business, are inspiring others. They are also creating multiple job opportunities for other women in the region. Indian women-owned businesses are reportedly helping the economy by providing employment to 13.45 million people.
The Way Forward
With many successful examples of female entrepreneurs, people are slowly realizing women's worth in the economy. A 2015 study by McKinsey Global Institute stated that if women participate equally with men in the economy, India's GDP could rise by between 16-60per cent by 2025. This could imply the addition of a whopping $2.9 trillion to the economy.
Though women across the country are working day and night to make it big, there are multiple factors like family responsibilities & market competition, trying to pull them down. Their high calibre does not match the low assistance they get in starting their business or managing one.
There is a need to create an environment more conducive for women-led businesses to flourish. This is already underway in South India where women entrepreneurship numbers are constantly rising. In fact, about 1.08 million of the total companies headed by women in India are based in Tamil Nadu; 0.91 million in Kerala and 0.56 million in Andhra Pradesh.
This scenario must be replicated across the country so that women can reach their full potential as entrepreneurs. Work needs to be done from scratch to provide women with the opportunities they deserve to achieve optimum success and drive the country's GDP.