‘Not Taken Seriously’ Is Biggest Challenge For Women Entrepreneurs In India

Apart from the prejudice and stereotypes, women entrepreneurs also face difficulty in raising capital. Around 29.4 per cent of the respondents stated that they struggle to secure funding for their ventures

As the Indian start-up ecosystem witnesses dynamic growth, women entrepreneurs continue to face some of the biggest challenges, revealed a recent study by CIEL HR Services based on voices of women representing 200+ companies. Launched ahead of International Women’s Day 2023, the study stated that not being taken seriously, struggle to raise capital, lack of professional network and lack of mentorship as the top challenges faced by Indian women entrepreneurs.

Amongst the surveyed respondents, 35.1% of women stated that they face discrimination and biases as they are not taken seriously in their business endeavors. Apart from the prejudice and stereotypes, women entrepreneurs also face difficulty in raising capital. 29.4% of the respondents stated that they struggle to secure funding for their ventures. The lack of access to financial resources is a major setback for women entrepreneurs in India, as it limits their ability to scale their businesses and compete in the market. Respondents also stated that Lack of professional network (20.6%) and Lack of Mentorship (14.9%) continues to be a challenge in the Indian start-up ecosystem.


Commenting on the study, Mr. Aditya Narayan Mishra, Managing Director & CEO of CIEL HR Services, said “The start-up and entrepreneurship ecosystem in India is witnessing robust growth. When we at CIEL took a closer look at the system with a gender lens, we discovered that with the progress the challenges have also scaled. What the ecosystem needs immediately is a shift in mindset and that is evident in CIEL’s study report. One of the recommendations is to promote entrepreneurship among students and also provide them the right facilities like access to capital, mentorship programs, training resources and more. Additionally, the government should also introduce policies that promote gender equality in entrepreneurship and ensure equal access to resources for all aspiring female entrepreneurs. With these initiatives in place, we can create a more equitable ecosystem for women-led businesses in India”

Other key findings from the study:

According to another study carried out by CIEL HR, there are 3 women among 10 employees in India Inc but only one woman makes it to the leadership team of 10. The study covered the workforce of 528 companies pan-India employing 1.2 million people across the industry sectors of IT, BPM, start-ups, MSME, pharma, manufacturing, engineering, projects, construction, FMCG and electric vehicles.

 Proven and established practices that have worked abroad can be learned and adopted in India while keeping cultural differences in mind, to encourage more women to run a business. For example, Sweden and the US have established financial support mechanisms for women-owned businesses, while Canada and Mexico provide mentorship and training programs. Countries like Australia have introduced policies to promote gender diversity on boards, while Rwanda has taken steps to promote gender equality in general. By learning from and adopting effective policies and practices from other countries, we can create a supportive environment for women entrepreneurs to succeed and in turn, contribute to their countries' economic growth and development.

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