Women Entrepreneurs in India

We as Indians lag far behind the developed nations when it comes to equality of gender or creating a healthy environment for women entrepreneurship. According to the Gender-GEDI female entrepreneurship index announced at Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network annual event on June 4, India despite its economic development came in 16th.

India trailed behind top ranking nations like Australia, Germany and France, but it also lagged behind some developing economies like morocco, Mexico, Egypt and Brazil! It suggests that female population get good opportunities for business, and they also recognise the potential but are not able to succeed due to lack of funds.

Ruta Aidis, Project Director, Gender-GEDI, said that one of the reasons why India ranked so far behind was that the index did not cover the informal sector-where so many Indian women entrepreneurs are engaged in small and medium scale businesses.

The index is based on individual aspirations, business environments and entrepreneurial ecosystems and it covers high-potential women entrepreneurs who are defined as innovative, market expanding and export oriented.

The lack of venture capital funding for women entrepreneurs, even in the developed nations is a challenge, for example, in the US, only 3-5 per cent of venture financing goes to women-owned businesses.

Author Rashmi Bansal agrees that there is definitely a bias. “Society may allow a woman to get the best education, but we still do not actively encourage and support women as innovators and entrepreneurs. To innovate, you have to think ‘out of the box’; you have to question what exists. Women are taught to never question the status quo, to be submissive, to maintain harmony in the family.

Even the most elite and educated families, this message is unspoken and unwritten.” Her latest book, Follow Every Rainbow, tells the stories of how 25 women entrepreneurs built their businesses.

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