Unlocking Women-Owned Enterprises to Create a Ripple Effect on Employment Opportunities and India’s GDP: Study

Several challenges hamper the growth of women-owned enterprises in India. A Bengaluru study reveals that unlocking women-owned enterprises can create a ripple effect on India’s GDP.

Women-Owned Enterprises Contribution

A study conducted by Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship (GAME) on Women Entrepreneurs in Bengaluru analyzed challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. It included middle-aged, educated women entrepreneurs from lower-to-middle income households. The study identified women entrepreneurs as a solo- entrepreneurs with no hired employees and nanopreneurs who hired at least one paid employee. It revealed that the growth of women-owned businesses remains restricted on the macro-level.

With 80% of women-owned businesses run solo, women entrepreneurs contribute only 3.09% to total industrial output in India. Notably, 17% of women-owned enterprises employ around 22-27 million workers, which is just 10% of the total industrial workers. Also, only 27% of women-owned businesses generate more than Rs 10 lakh in revenue annually. Besides, 84% of women entrepreneurs used personal savings for capital needs.

Women-Owned Businesses in Bengaluru

The study showed that Bengaluru has a robust entrepreneurship ecosystem with a predicted GDP growth of 8.5%. However, women-owned only 15% of the total businesses in the state. It is interesting to note that majority of women-owned businesses were in the apparel and fashion sector while others dealt with the health and beauty, food, and education sectors.  

Women- Owned Enterprises to Internally Affect India's GDP
Women- Owned Enterprises to Internally Affect India’s GDP

Challenges 

The study revealed that the assumption of ‘deemed suitable’ role for business had confined women to low-growth businesses. COVID has reduced the revenue of women entrepreneurs by 60-80%. The solopreneurs are unable to determine post-COVID long term strategies for revival. 

Further, they face difficulties in expanding sales efforts & tech adoption due to their limited networks. Several women-owned enterprises end up running informally due to small size and remain aloof of the benefits of formalization —moreover, a lack of success stories of women entrepreneurs deterrents women from growth. 

Solutions

The study suggested solutions according to different subcategories of seekers, aspirers, and strivers. It said that there is an urgent need to encourage women to use affordable finance to expand the reach of their business. Also, it recommended expanding the online presence of companies. Dr.Rajeswari Ranganathan, President, Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka, comments that it is essential to nurture mindset focusing on digital and financial literacy. Aarti Mohan, Co-founder of Sattva consulting, noted that it is necessary to bring more women under the formal credit systems. Further, she added that women must have access to more government schemes

In all, the study concluded that women need to relook their business to be in line with the new normal. 

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