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The emergence of Women Entrepreneurs in India

Growth and development of women entrepreneurs in India

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” – Mary Kay

The past couple of decades has seen a drastic change in not only the role of women in society but also people’s perception of them. Women all around the world have gained a significant stature in society especially the business world with leading entrepreneurs like Falguni Nayar – Founder: Nykaa, Richa Kar - Founder: Zivame, Divya Gokulnath - Co-founder: BYJU’S, Vandana Luthra - Founder: VLCC, and many more who have not only proved for themselves but also all the budding entrepreneurs that entering a market with more than USD 60 billion investment in the past five years and creating a name of your own need not remain a dream. 

The route to building a successful empire doesn’t end at planning. The investment scenario plays a major role in supporting the team in grabbing opportunities. As an advantage to the growing start-up culture in India, Venture Capital investments have opened up newer avenues for Indian startups and small businesses. Sequoia Capital India, Nexus Venture Partners, SAIF Partners, Forum Synergies (India) PE Fund are a few leading players investing in major companies like Zomato, Ola, Quikr, Freecharge,, Paytm, etc. Individuals in the investment sector include Sanjay Mehta who funded 103 startups including Wow! Momos, Box8, and Ratan Tata funded companies including Paytm, Ola, and UrbanClap.

The Indian government has also stepped up to back women in their journey towards empowerment through schemes like Mudra Yojana Scheme for Women, Cent Kalyani Scheme, Dena Shakti Scheme, and so on and have also partnered up with banks like State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank to lend loans at lower interests rates under the name Bharatiya Mahila Bank, Stree Shakti Package For Women Entrepreneurs and Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme. These schemes are targeted towards helping women who are restrained by chains like patriarchy, financial paucity, and unsupportive family. 

Accelerator programs by private players in India have also accelerated their game and tailored them to cater to women entrepreneurs, and handhold them to achieve their dream goals. Programs like empoWer, India’s first tech accelerator for women entrepreneurs, provides mentorship, industry connections, peer network, and a one-year support program. Others include WSquare’s W-INcubate, Womennovator, Pernod Ricard’s WE Social Impact Incubator for Women Social Enterprises, and Women’s Business Incubation Program. A few international ones include Aviatra Accelerators, Bad Girl Ventures, The Refinery, and SheEO which help women gain an edge in the game.

“Even though we are moving forward to be more inclusive, cultural thinking frequently inhibits women’s inclusion. There is a level of implicit bias that we as a society have men and women included, and we need to try to go against that trend. The efforts for women’s development and inclusion that are there in intention, don’t necessarily translate because of the implicit bias we have grown up with,” says Karishma Kewalramani, Founder of vegan beauty brand FAE beauty. 

Women entrepreneurs have immense potential to promote innovation, economic growth, and job creation, and yet they face two major problems, one can be categorized as the general obstacles which all entrepreneurs suffer and the second one is the toxic ‘pink problems’ which are women-centric. It's high time that we as a society not only start recognizing them but also take initiatives to erase them. And in the words of Beyonce, ‘Let’s step up as women and take the lead.’

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