In the recently concluded Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed a lot on women empowerment and women entrepreneurship in India. Considering women as incarnation of “Maa Shakti”, he said, “We believe women empowerment is crucial to our development”.
But when it comes to statistical data, India still has to go a long way to be a country where all or most of the women are empowered. According to the Sixth Economic Census, out of the 58.5 million entrepreneurs, only 8.05 million are women entrepreneurs, which is just 13.76 percent of the total entrepreneurs in the country. Only 10% of entrepreneurial ventures are launched by women in India, as of now.
What is the reason for such a low growth? What are the problems faced by women entrepreneurs in our country? What steps should the government take for growth in women entrepreneurship?
- Access to capital: The first hurdle is of course access to capital to get the business started. The majority of women entrepreneurs have had to rely on their own self-generated finances and savings. Not all women get the benefit of inherited property. Bank loans and grants are more easily available only when the business becomes established. There are many who have dreams of starting something on their own but their dreams get shattered due to lack of funds to start their business. If the government of India provides easy access to capital and finances for women, it would go a long way in helping women entrepreneurs.
- Mentoring:All women need mentoring when they take the plunge of starting something. This becomes all the more necessary when you belong to a family where there is no member having any previous experience on doing business. With proper guide and support, it becomes easy for a woman to start up a venture. Hence, the GOI should support women entrepreneurs with proper mentorship and organizing awareness programs, workshops, seminars with focus on women entrepreneurship so that women entrepreneurs know that the governmental support is available for mentorship and guidance. While we do see a significant presence of women in the SME sector who have taken up various business initiatives to make some extra money, such enterprises can expand more only when they have access to mentorship. The government should start providing mentors to women entrepreneurs if it really is looking for women empowerment and entrepreneurship in the country in a bigger way.
- Licensing policies: Another effort that the government should take into consideration to encourage women entrepreneurship is to provide a single window for licenses. At present, women face lot of hurdles for registrations and paper works and maintaining documents. Too many licenses are required to start a business for which one has to go to various government bodies. There are many who do not opt for entrepreneurship solely because of the hurdles involved in the registration process. Hence, the government should provide the benefit of single window licensing for women entrepreneurs to start their business.
- Focus on learning: Modi government has already started the “beti padhao, beti bachaocampaign”. Beyond that, the government should also make the facilities for learning and education in all business aspects easily accessible to women across the country. There are not enough opportunities for women to learn about trading or businesses or they are not properly educated to make the ones they run viable. Make learning accessible to all, not only for the young girls but also for women who want to start their own business. It is necessary for Government to provide training to women entrepreneurs to set up their own bank accounts, to make them digitally advanced and to access the internet so as to expand their business on their own.
- Proper safety issues:Another factor that should be taken care of by the government at the outset is the safety of women. Women safety should be taken into priority by the government if the country really needs to be developed in all aspects. A woman when she moves out of her house and enters the world of male dominated society, she needs to assured that she is well-protected in the outside world. Only then more and more women can come forward. As women entrepreneurs, they need to go out for various issues related to their business. But with increase in the number of rapes, assaults, molestation in the country, not all women dare to move out of their homes. We cannot talk of women empowerment when women are not safe. The government needs to ensure safety of women, make them feel safe when they travel and face the world outside with pride and dignity.
GharSeNaukri Encourages Women to take their next charge of life while being at home.
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