The Wadhwani Foundation, a global not-for-profit championing the development of a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in India and other emerging economies advocates the importance of fostering women entrepreneurship in India by adopting measures that will tap into the enormous untapped potential of new woman-led businesses.
Only a quarter of India’s workforce is female as against a global average of 49 per cent, and it is clear that India’s growing entrepreneurial landscape has left behind a key demographic — the women.
It is the need of the hour to unlock the untapped potential of women entrepreneurs by providing them with a support system comprising of an integrated policy framework with equal focus on rural India, women entrepreneurship programs tailored to the unique constraints and skill requirements of women, more gender-responsive financial sector and a conscious integration of the formal and informal networks. This could spur economic and job growth of massive proportions.
Says Ajay Kela, President and CEO, Wadhwani Foundation, “Of the 63 million MSMEs in India, only six percent are women-led, a criminal waste of talent. Growth driving, business-friendly skills such as relationship building, emotional intelligence, and multitasking are second nature to women. Leveraging these unique capabilities and the massive untapped capacity where only 25 per cent of the Indian workforce is women could add $700 billion to India’s GDP by 2030.”
There is, therefore, a huge opportunity to empower women in India to choose entrepreneurship by creating networks that promote an ecosystem to motivate and support women entrepreneurs in taking the leap of faith by providing training in the nuances of entrepreneurship like the initial critical tenure of starting up, the importance of mentoring and optimal use of necessary resources to remain lean, and making technology accessible.
Simultaneously, it is equally important to celebrate the fearless breed of women entrepreneurs who have made it big as role models for inspiring women towards entrepreneurship and facilitating a major mindset shift. With women comprising just 14 per cent of the total entrepreneurial base in India, this is India’s big chance to tap into the precious resource of women entrepreneurs so as to realize their true potential. Leveraging India’s vast talent pool of women and not allowing it to be frittered away, especially at a time when businesses are facing a severe talent crunch could be transformational for the Indian economy and job creation.