Entrepreneurs are among society's risk-takers, not afraid to question the status quo, think unconventionally, and ask thought-provoking questions. Through their innovative products, services, and solutions, they support the economy's expansion. They enable themselves to achieve their goals and take others along while expanding their businesses.
Entrepreneurship is gender agnostics and in recent years, women have shown a growing interest and involvement in entrepreneurship. Productivity increases, creativity soars, and the economy expands when women hold executive positions in the business. We have several success stories like Slurrp farms, Sugar Cosmetics, VLCC, Nykaa, and many more which are women-founded and grown businesses.
Yet there are challenges and there is still much work and possibilities to be found. Female entrepreneurship is still in its early stages in many aspects.
In several industries, female business owners are making their mark. From law, science, medicine, aeronautics, space exploration, and even the police and military, women are now demonstrating their strength in business and industry.
The majority of female business owners are highly motivated and self-directed. Moreover, they show a strong internal center of control and achievement. According to IBEF, a business with women at the helm is considered to run very efficiently. As women are great at multitasking, most women with entrepreneurial brains indeed have the ability to juggle myriads of things at once. They often showcase the traits that encourage their creativity and help them develop novel concepts and methods.
Challenges Women Are Facing In Today’s World
Like leadership, entrepreneurship should ideally be gender-neutral. But because gender stereotypes are so entrenched in our society, female business owners must engage in a multifaceted war.
Societal front: It's not a hobby! It is a business. The amount of revenue or the nature of the product or service is irrelevant. It has to do with one's passions. Everyone—from those who engage in the clothing trade to those who work in gardening supplies and aquaculture to those who have created businesses—is a boss! They must oversee all aspects of the organization, including sourcing raw materials, production, packaging, management of the workforce, management of vendors, management of cash flow, acquisition of customers, partnerships with e-commerce websites, partnerships with delivery services, and other activities. A difficulty arises every day. They have both wins and losses.
Battling stereotypes and gender norms: If the man is making a good living, women are not required to bargain, network, travel late, contact or conduct business with strangers, or make sales. Instead, they are supposed to keep their business as a hobby, not scale it, and put their family first. It takes immense courage, willpower, and fortitude to resist being judged every day.
Funding: When raising money, things become more difficult for women, whether it's because of socio-cultural hurdles to networking or unintentional biases held by others. There is more skepticism when it comes to sponsoring initiatives led by women. Women are held to challenging and high standards, and it is presumed that they will fail. They will be unable to succeed. In comparison to women, men are evaluated on potential. These demands are genuine; nevertheless, not all women receive the appropriate support from their partners and families.
Statutory paperwork: If women don't have property in their name, it becomes difficult to create a current account, register for GST, trademark a business name, and establish a corporation in their name. The electricity bill, property paperwork, and phone bills must all be in the woman's name. Both the bank and the government require these proofs of residence.
Creating a Support System to Help Women Entrepreneurs
Peer-to-peer platforms have a special role in the entrepreneur's growth. These platforms have a feature that enables entrepreneurs to communicate and exchange knowledge and aid each other in realizing their potential. The other less well-known feature is that peer-to-peer networks let business owners establish relationships of friendship and trust that go far beyond those with co-workers and others on a professional level. They have confidence in their capacity and competence based on conversations, feedback, and observations from female entrepreneurs.
These platforms also act as a great platform to generate clarity of thinking as members from the peer-to-peer network urge entrepreneurs to comprehend the meaning and purpose of starting their firms. Entrepreneurs can make rapid and educated decisions thanks to the immediate response from other industry professionals, which opens up novel channels for expertise and information. These networks also highlight women's innate networking skills. Entrepreneurs who use peer-to-peer platforms are not limited to just “business-oriented” advantages; they can also broaden their horizons regarding personal learning and development.
There is no quantifiable ROI metric that can capture these learnings and benefits. The increased levels of emotional, physical, and mental satisfaction in both the personal and professional spheres of life are the only way to quantify the advantages of these support systems.
Steps That Can Encourage Women Entrepreneurship In India
Guiding Female Entrepreneurs Toward High Growth
Facilitating the appearance of female entrepreneurs in industries with significant development potential must be a key component of this strategy. Simplifying processes for entry, inviting the participation of women entrepreneurs in the bidding, merit-based funding, incentives, tax breaks, duty reductions, and subsidized land and equipment should be offered to support women in growing industries. Showcasing the achievements of women who are already successful business owners, by the state and central government, and helping them mentor other women entrepreneurs will keep the path shining.
Building a business is a lot of hard work and most of the learning happens on the job. There are several times that a business owner is in need of specific learning, and exposure and funds are always tight. Peer support groups and coaching programs for Entrepreneurs by industry bodies can assist in overcoming these challenges.
Encouraging Female Entrepreneurs In Micro Businesses
In India, many women work in small-scale businesses, microenterprises, and the informal economy. Women are diversifying their business interests and entering many industries. The fact that such a high number of women have ventured into non-traditional industries proves that female entrepreneurship is a relatively recent phenomenon, supported by Indian government programs and plans to restore women's empowerment over the long term. Hence, these women can establish sustainable, well-organized, and visionary companies with the proper societal and governmental assistance.
Understanding The Work-Life Blend Concept
Work-life alignment is difficult for women because of the deeply ingrained gender norms. They frequently think that their professional and personal lives will clash. Women should instead concentrate on intentionally aligning the two components, which will lessen the difficulty of the juggling act. By aligning the components, it means that they prioritize different parts of their personal and professional goals and manage their time according to their prioritization. End of the day, it is their life and their business, not society’s life or society’s business.
Institutional And Policy-Based Support
Governments might create laws and regulations governing commerce and industry to support female entrepreneurs. The first step of the strategy entails reviewing the current regulatory environment and making the required adjustments. Furthermore, the second phase should involve crucial efforts to lower administrative barriers, particularly for female business owners. Ultimately, the third component must include easy and subsidized financing for women's business enterprises. And most importantly, to work on the safety of women on roads, in public transport, and in workplaces.
All Things Considered!
Women play a crucial role in entrepreneurship and will drive change, socially and economically in the coming years. Their inventiveness contributes to economic growth, innovation, creativity, and productivity. Successful Women entrepreneurs are seen as Role Models and encourage other women and people to start their businesses. Thus, society must accept that women have the right to be their own bosses. Society must be their support system and wings rather than passing judgment on their decisions. Ultimately, more employment, dual-income households, and increased economic activity benefit society the most.
Sonica Aron is the Founder and Managing Partner of Marching Sheep. The views expressed are the author's own.