In India, entrepreneurship has taken on a movement-like status, with important players like businesses, talent, investors, the government, and foreign organizations all taking a keen interest in the success of Indian startups. This trend is supported by an increase in micro venture capitalists, funding raised by existing funds, FDI inflows, and a significant shift in business priorities toward innovation. Although the entrepreneurial movement is gender-neutral, building, launching, and scaling startups in India still presents unique challenges for female founders. These obstacles not only include societal ones but also discourage women from choosing entrepreneurship as a career, which explains why only about 5% of women choose it as a career path at the moment. Women entrepreneurs are significantly less able to access relevant networks and communities than their male counterparts, which is a significant disadvantage.
Having said that, despite the fact that female founders and investors have historically been underrepresented in the Indian startup ecosystem—roughly 14% by the broadest definitions, including SMBs, for instance—their companies have demonstrated a 35% higher return on investment. Additionally, they have hired 2.5 times as many women for leadership positions.
In order to foster the expansion of women-led businesses in India, it is crucial to create an environment that is supportive of women entrepreneurs and their many potentials.
Role of women entrepreneurs in the Indian economy
Compared to a few decades ago, women entrepreneurs are now starting to receive a lot more importance and attention. According to a McKinsey study, simply leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs could add $1 trillion to the Indian ecosystem and economy. This translates to a gain in the value of more than $20 trillion on a global scale. In fact, 50% of our economy will be tapped by startups that are led and dominated by women, both for talent and as a consumer market. Our GDP and economic growth will be greatly impacted by this. Additionally, according to a McKinsey quote, advancing women’s equality can boost the global GDP by nearly $12 trillion by 2025 if all ecosystem and economic stakeholders collaborate.
Growth of women-led entrepreneurship in India
In the coming years, there will likely be significant changes to the startup ecosystem as a whole. This trend will only continue as there are more women in positions of leadership, more female-led and -focused businesses, inclusive workplace cultures, more women on boards, and technology acting as a core and essential enabler of the service and product. The growth of the startup ecosystem historically has largely come from five major metro cities.
The largest market in India, the Tier 2+ cities, can now be reached as well thanks to increased internet and mobile penetration as well as the rise of vernacular technology by giving women-led/focused businesses in India a long-term, widespread base.
The overall impact of women-led businesses
More women-led businesses mean
i) addition of more entrepreneurs to the ecosystem
ii) capitalizing on the current whitespaces of innovation perceivable primarily by women and
iii) the emergence of more women in leadership and investor roles, which will create more jobs for women as well.
As the ecosystem is currently experiencing the first phase of women-led entrepreneurship, it can be assumed that it will take one entrepreneurship cycle—during which time first-time founders exit their businesses and turn into investors in the following generation of first-time founders—to truly transform the ecosystem from the ground up.
Sometimes it can be challenging for businesses to create truly inclusive organizations, prioritize D&I policies, or deal with the effects of a pandemic.
If these are not given priority sooner, there is frequently a risk of losing female leaders and employees who possess exceptional talent and come from different societal spheres. Economic growth and the post-pandemic recovery depend on supporting women in the workplace and in entrepreneurship. In order to participate and succeed both personally and professionally, women must have access to communities, inner circles, and the right advisors. Flexible spaces have begun consciously putting equal emphasis on catering to women entrepreneurs, freelancers, and others in order to meet these needs.
Outlook of women-led economy
With the expansion of the female economy, it is critical for businesses to create a strong foundation for high-potential women-led or women-focused startups in India by providing them with a range of resources, including funding, mentorship, acceleration, and customer and market access.
Indian women are expected to shape and improve the future of the nation by adding more than 30 million women-owned businesses, which will create roughly 150–170 million jobs by 2030, as they continue to dominate the workforce with their enormous potential and lead the start-up ecosystem with 15.7 million women-owned enterprises. This might completely alter how women entrepreneurs are supported in India.