Women comprise half of India’s population, which is 48.04 percent as per UN (World Population Prospects 2019). However, their contribution is only around 19.9% of the total workforce in the country, according to another data provided by World Bank 2020. The advancement in India's social structure has not guaranteed the growth and inclusion of women in the economy due to which the progress of women as entrepreneurs and as an economic resource remains substantially untapped. As women, we play a significant role in the economy and our lack of participation in entrepreneurship can lead to serious consequences on India’s economic growth. It is crucial for the country to cover wider grounds for us women to unleash our true potential and break the traditional barriers to thrive in this male-centric entrepreneurial ecosystem. Apart from that, a gender balance in the entrepreneurial ecosystem could result in significant growth and lead to transformation, advancement and innovation to the age-old structure.

Women as Entrepreneurs Only seven of 100 entrepreneurs in India are women. However, in today’s world there is a greater opportunity for women folk as entrepreneurs to change the world-view by realizing the role of job creators. As Michelle Obama once said, “Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives”, and once women start generating jobs, they will build a flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem and inspire other women to join the same.

With gender parity coming into play, the MSME ministry has decided to empower women even more. Government initiatives to boost women entrepreneurship such as Mudra Yojana Scheme, Annapurna Scheme, Dena Shakti Scheme, and TREAD (Trade-Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development) Scheme have been created to provide financial assistance to women entrepreneurs to either set up new projects or upgrade and modernize the earlier ones. Even Startup India has pledged to strengthen our women entrepreneur ecosystem through its initiatives and policies in order to create an enabling network. Other than that, on account of several schemes and attempts of voluntary organizations such as Mahila Mandals, the amount of female entrepreneurs is also steadily multiplying.

New avenues pushing women to become entrepreneurs

I personally feel that skill, adaptability and understanding are few of the prime reasons for us women to emerge as business leaders. Women as entrepreneurs nowadays indulge in every line of business from tourism to electronics. For instance - the handloom industry in India has been providing opportunities to women in the rural areas and small towns which have proved to be profiting them along with their families.

E-Commerce and opportunities for women

With various new avenues growing for women, e-commerce is one such industry which has witnessed prominent and talented women make their mark. The e-commerce industry has become more attainable with women entrepreneurs handling the business either from home or on-the-go. It has also become easier to establish a business outside of a normal profession and sell unique goods. The barrier to become an entrepreneur has definitely been reduced with the growth of e-commerce. The skill to trade online has aided various small businesses run by females receive access to a brand-new set of consumers with nominal investment. This remarkable achievement also empowers women from every nook and corner of the country.

Support Framework

As women entrepreneurs face various challenges in their journey, they also require different kinds of support systems. It is equally important to make technology attainable and friendly to help female entrepreneurs incorporate a digital outlook for rural enterprise. Most women entrepreneurs encounter the skepticism from society and even family members that being an entrepreneur is an insecure pursuit for a woman. It is critical for friends and families at this point to encourage and support women in their journey to become a successful entrepreneur. A lot of women entrepreneurs have exhibited capability and potential to face challenges and we must remember and celebrate such women as they inspire others with similar determination and mindset. Encouraging women entrepreneurs will unlock their inner confidence and potential to generate unlimited profit. The trajectory of India’s development hides in the unlocking of the female prospect.

Source: businessworld.in

March 22, 2021 — Dr. Pallavi Rao Chaturvedi
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