As the glass ceiling shatters a little more every day, women are staking bigger claims in the entrepreneurial scene. They are bringing innovation in fields ranging from e-commerce to organic products and much more beyond. But how easy is it for women to make a mark in this competitive field that is still largely dominated by the opposite gender? Can they move ahead seamlessly without support systems to thrust them forward? Moreover, how do they know what sort of schemes and initiatives have been put into place for their benefit?

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Often, women who dare to dream business do not have the means to do so. Which is where central agencies like NITI Aayog step in. The National Institution for Transforming India, also called NITI Aayog, is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs. While designing strategic and long term policies and programmes for the Government of India, NITI Aayog also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre and States. One of the agency’s women-centric initiatives is the Women Entrepreneurship Platform, that aims to “to promote and support established as well as aspiring women entrepreneurs.”

Initiatives For Women Entrepreneurs In The Market

Speaking to SheThePeople during the 2020 Digital Women Awards Virtual Conference, Anna Roy, Senior Advisor at NITI Aayog, elaborates on the opportunities and solutions that WEP aims to cater to women entrepreneurs. “Our Women Entrepreneurship Platform is an aggregator platform which showcases all existing initiatives, provides a place where providers of these initiatives can connect with each other. The beneficiaries will get to know these initiatives.” Additionally, she says, this “community initiative” will provide mentorship and tools to entrepreneurial women, and give them better exposure in the marketplace.

There are many women who still lack awareness about the nitty-gritty of business and finance, some of whom Roy confirms, are women who have their own start-ups as well. This is generally due to women being less equipped with resources to educate themselves about the facts and functionality of economics.

Knowledge Is Power In Business

Initiatives, support and concessions for women entrepreneurs do exist on the local and central level. But how many women from the field actually know about such initiatives? Putting support systems in place for women running businesses is a job half done because it is equally imperative that women know about these initiatives and how to avail the advantages that they offer. Access to information is the key to empowering them.

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As Roy, who has been instrumental in shaping NITI Aayog’s focus on entrepreneurship says, “We should divert our attention to giving women power through information and making them more enabled. The global benchmark indicates there is a lot of ground to cover. We should have targeted initiatives.”

That is what NITI Aayog as a think tank is aiming at, in fact, through the WEP. Anna Roy tells us, “Through WEP, women will get mentorship that is outcome-oriented. So when we say mentoring, we are bringing in objective systems and methods to assess the outcome they will get out of it. We will be showcasing role models that will guide women who want to get into this field. And we cover the entire spectrum because we are agnostic to the stage of entrepreneurship.”

Expounding on the inclination towards the Vocal for Local campaign, which coincides with DWA’s motto of #MakeSmallStrong, Roy says, “This campaign is not import substitution. It is giving the necessary support local entrepreneurs need to meet the gap they may be facing with their international counterparts which is not allowing them to be competitive. The aim of the government is to bridge this gap to bring our entrepreneurs at a level playing field.”

Watch the full interview with Anna Roy here: 

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