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Women Play key role in propelling Bharat to $5tn milestone

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Women entrepreneurs fuel India’s growth, overcoming barriers for a trillion-dollar economy and global leadership.

Mumbai: PM Narendra Modi has promised to Make India a trillion dollar economy in next five years, in a journey of being world superpower or vishwaguru, India needs to leverage the support and potential of its female demographic, constituting half of the population, as the rise of women in entrepreneurship is not merely a trend; it’s a movement fueled by determination, resilience, and a drive to shatter glass ceilings. Over the past ten years, despite the tremendous barriers, we’ve seen women across the globe harness their talents, skills, and vision to launch successful businesses, disrupt industries, and create lasting change. It is obvious that without women participation in the workforce and business, India can not achieve the goal of being the world’ s largest economy. 

The government has realized the importance of women led industries in the economy and has taken several initiatives to encourage women in entrepreneurship. But Only 14% of businesses in India are led by women. The latest census indicates that of 58.5 million entrepreneurs in India, about 8.05 million (13.76%) are women. 

In the past decade, the entrepreneurial landscape has witnessed a remarkable transformation, with women stepping into leadership roles like never before worldwide. What was once a predominantly male-dominated arena has now become a fertile ground for women to thrive, innovate, and make their mark.

India’s government offers 27 schemes for women, including collateral-free financing for micro-enterprises and Mudra loans up to ₹10 lakhs. Udyam Shakti supports social entrepreneurship with business planning, incubation facilities, training, mentorship, and market research, while initiatives like Drone didi modernize farming, benefiting rural women entrepreneurs.

Despite initiatives by the Government of India, we rank 57th out of 65 nations in the Mastercard Index on Women Entrepreneurship and 70th among 77 countries on the Female Entrepreneurship Index.

One of the key drivers behind this stagnant surge in female entrepreneurship is lack of access to resources and support networks. Initiatives aimed at empowering women, such as mentorship programs, funding opportunities, and networking events, have played a pivotal role in leveling the playing field and providing women with the tools they need to succeed. But societal attitudes towards women in leadership have not evolved yet.  Women no longer want to be confined to traditional roles or limited by outdated stereotypes.

Here are the most common challenges faced by women to start the entrepreneurship

Funding Problems: 

Women  entrepreneurs  suffer  from a shortage of finance on two counts.  Firstly, women do not generally  have property  on  their  names  to  use  them  as  collateral  for  obtaining funds  from  external  sources. Women-led businesses face a large credit gap of more than $11.4 billion and female entrepreneurs receive only 5.2% of the outstanding credit granted to enterprises by Indian public sector banks, according to the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Thus, their  access  to  the  external  sources  of  funds  is  limited. Secondly, the banks also consider women less credit- worthy and discourage women borrowers on   the  belief  that  they  can  at  any  time  leave  their  business.  Given  such a situation,  women  entrepreneurs  are bound to rely on their own savings.

Health issues: 

From cervical cancer to pregnancy issues major health related difficulties are faced by women. Apart from that women feel the problem of feeling fatigued  after  returning  home,  lack  of  rest  and sleep  and a heavy  schedule, Enterprise.      Risk   bearing    is   an    essential    requisite   of    a   successful entrepreneur.   In  addition  to the above  problems,  inadequate  infrastructural  facilities,  shortage   of  power,  and high  cost  of  production, social-economical constraints hold women back from entering into a business.

Marketing cooperatives: 

Finance is critical for any business, and women entrepreneurs often face challenges in accessing long-term finance and obtaining working capital due to lengthy procedures. Establishing marketing cooperatives to support women entrepreneurs is essential. The government should prioritize purchasing from women entrepreneurs, facilitating their product sales and providing them with remuneration opportunities.

However, despite these significant strides, barriers to women’s entrepreneurship still exist. Gender bias, access to capital, and work-life balance continue to pose challenges for many aspiring female entrepreneurs. Addressing these obstacles requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including policymakers, investors, and business leaders, to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for women in entrepreneurship

Looking ahead, the future of women in entrepreneurship is bright and promising. As more women break barriers, defy expectations, and pave the way for the next generation of female leaders, the entrepreneurial landscape will continue to evolve, innovate, and thrive.

– By Priya Sati, Freelance Journalist

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