Women’s entrepreneurship day 2022: Women’s Entrepreneurship Day: 4 female bosses from Indian startups on how to kill challenges and what reality is

The second season of Shark Tank India is about to raise the curtain with the panel of judges showing a fair and equal distribution between men and women. However, what it narrates may not be the truth for the entire space. An inroad into the numbers shows that it is still male entrepreneurs who dominate the space.

Certainly, India has come a long way with women empowerment. However, the sixth economic census by the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation shows that women constitute only 13.76% of the total number of entrepreneurs in India, nothing to write home about. This is only 8.05 million out of a total of 58.5 million entrepreneurs.

On the global stage, we hear more about Indian or Indian C-suit bosses like Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Google’s Sundar Pichai, Starbucks’ Laxman Narasimhan, Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen, and others. There are definitely female leaders running some companies. But is the number fair?

There is certainly no doubt about the potential of the entrepreneur. Amid the rush of IPOs in India in recent years, remember the only profitable and popular startup to list on the market was Falguni Nayar’s Nykaa. November 19 is celebrated as International Men’s Day. However, today is also Women’s Entrepreneurship day, which is celebrated to promote a more conducive environment for entrepreneurs and to celebrate the rise in the number of female entrepreneurs running profitable businesses.

Today, let’s hear from the following four female entrepreneurs and one venture capital firm unit (in no particular order) about the highs and lows and what’s really at stake in this issue.

Meena Ganesh, Co-Founder & Chairman at Portea Medical

Meena Ganesh Co-Founder, MD and Chairman

The number of female entrepreneurs in India is growing but it is still not encouraging enough. There are several reasons why women continue to shy away from pursuing the entrepreneurial path. One of the main reasons is that society and women tend to feel the need for a more established lifestyle through corporate careers.

Startups tend to be challenging and roller coaster rides. However, women have the ability, maybe they lack confidence.

“If we want women to become mainstream entrepreneurs, then it’s important to level the playing field. They need to be supported and heard.”

— Meena Ganesh

The investor community also has a lot of men. This can create an unconscious bias against female entrepreneurs who want to raise money. Female entrepreneurs tend to lack confidence in areas such as sales or negotiation and fundraising, these are traditionally seen as male-dominated fields. However, these skills can be greatly developed through training and mentoring.

Although there are several government policies to encourage women entrepreneurs, the change must start at the grassroots level and in educational institutions. This will ensure that more women are educated in various aspects of starting their own businesses and provide the necessary support at home. Also, if we look at the overall percentage, it is definitely lower than ideal, but the balance is steadily increasing. There are more women in the tech industry and IITs/IIMs today than ever before.

The need is to take this momentum from educational institutions to the corporate hierarchy through continued support and opportunities.

The future is promising for women-led startups in India. However, their ideas and passion should also be supplemented with opportunities to network, get mentored, etc. There are various organizations today that offer support in this regard. Because of that, if we want women to become mainstream entrepreneurs, then it’s important to level the playing field. They should feel supported and heard. Ideally, there should be more initiatives to establish academies and incubators for women entrepreneurs where they not only get access to funding, but also technology, skill development and mentoring.

IIM Bangalore has a decade long association with women entrepreneurs, and the collaboration between IIM- Kozhikode and the National Council for Women is a much needed venture. We have hundreds of tech colleges across India. If they start setting up such incubators, we will definitely see a wave of strong female entrepreneurs emerge.

Lisa Suwal, Co-founder of Meatigo & CEO at Prasuma

Lisa Suwal

With awareness of women’s role and economic position in society, hidden entrepreneurial potential is rising. Women can now be seen working in every industry, from pickled fashion to telecommunications, because the glass barrier is now broken.

Indra Nooyi’s successful journey to become the first Indian-born female CEO to lead an iconic United States corporation is a classic example of how one’s education dictates the future. With the support of a disciplined family that has an extraordinary focus on gender-neutral education, Indra is a shining example.

“Women have always been entrepreneurs, the challenges they face in life force them to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.”

– Lisa Suwal

The percentage of female entrepreneurs has increased by 114% in the last 20 years, says the Global Entrepreneurship Survey by Onepoll. Not all hardworking women have the same spotlight or us in society. Because of that, the numbers are changing and the female workforce in every industry is increasing. We as women must build our own sisterhood, and keep proving to ourselves and not just society.

On the one hand, women become the face of the brand, but on the other hand, gender disparities in economic participation and opportunities remain significant. Women face many challenges when starting out on their own. From lack of family support, lack of capital to lack of self-confidence, women go through many obstacles in their entrepreneurial journey.

It is very important to talk about these barriers and encourage women to step out of their comfort and take advantage of their potential for personal and professional growth.

We should celebrate women but as much as we celebrate everyday life! Those days are like reminders for us to respect ourselves and others. Interestingly, women have always been entrepreneurs, the challenges they face in life force them to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. They have now become an important part of the global business environment and their contribution is counted by the economy when they enter the formal market.

Yamini Bhat, CEO & Co-Founder at Vymo

Yamini Bhat - Vymo

There are many women in global business in executive roles as well as self-employed entrepreneurs who run their own businesses. Jayshree V Ullal, CEO of Arista Networks, Neha Karkade, co-founder of Confluent, Leena Nair, CEO of Chanel, Revathi Advaithi, CEO of Flex and Anjali Sud, CEO of Vimeo.

I also agree that the number is less.

“Women need to take the first step towards entrepreneurship, find role models and build a support system for themselves to move forward”

Yamini Bhat

Women comprise only 13.76% of total entrepreneurs in India according to the Ministry of Statistics and we lag behind some other countries- both developing and developed.

Some ways to deal with this include:

● Create a strong support system that allows women access to knowledge, skills development and funding to give momentum to entrepreneurial initiatives.

● Designing female entrepreneur-friendly financial products to give them the impetus to advance their businesses.

● Encourage successful female entrepreneurs to champion entrepreneurship and mentor other women through this journey.

● Lastly, more corporate organizations should introduce programs to nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship and motivate them to start their own business – from ideation to planning to give it wings. Good examples are Sequoia Spark, Sequoia India and Southeast Asian platform for women entrepreneurs and Herstory from Yourstory.com. The Sequoia Spark Fellowship provides equity-free grants, immersive mentorship and community support for aspiring female entrepreneurs in India and Southeast Asia.

We definitely have a lot of role models now and that only adds to the power. If every woman entrepreneur runs her business by fostering an entrepreneurial culture, encouraging her team to continue to work on ideas, find solutions to problems and continue to carve their own path, we will surely have many successful women-led businesses in the coming days. Women need to take the first step towards entrepreneurship, find role models and build a support system for themselves to move forward. This is where it becomes very important for families and those who wish to provide that support system so that women can thrive.

Anju Gupta, Co-founder & President at IvyCamp (an initiative of IvyCap Ventures)

Anju Gupta (1)

I think there are more and more women leaders in global companies – Leena Nair (Chanel), Sonia Syngal (GAP), Roshni Nadar (HCL), Sharmista Dubey (Matching Group), Anjali Sud (Vimeo), and Indian women in leading roles at Capgemini, HP, etc. Some of these companies may not be our top MNCs like the likes of Google and Microsoft but large global organizations. And beyond this, let’s look at global organizations like the WMF Chief Economist.

I don’t believe there is a “rush” for female entrepreneurs. The number is increasing over time but I don’t see a “rush” and the percentage is still low in the number of new entrepreneurs. I think it’s more than “holding back” the question of not being a “mainstream” option for women and one of the key reasons I believe is the same key reason why it’s slower for women to reach the top slots in MNCs, – the culture aspect is not enough family support and responsibility Family responsibility is usually a priority for women vs. men.

“Let’s not only target the number of women entrepreneurs but ease the way for women who want to become entrepreneurs”

– Anju Gupta

Many entrepreneurs now start with more work experience under their belt, at an age where women who start families end up in the same tussle of choosing between family and career, while male entrepreneurs don’t have to do it.

The stability and less variability of working hours of an MNC is more attractive to many women, especially in the new situation of working from home.

I think the way forward is not simply to compare the number of male and female entrepreneurs but to see what roadblocks are faced by women who want to become entrepreneurs and how to remove them. Let’s not only aim to increase the number of women entrepreneurs but make the path easier for women who want to be entrepreneurs and I don’t think this is any different from making the path easier to reach the top slots in MNCs – that’s taking away. all biases, provide more social and family support, flexibility. One thing I think we can also do better is provide more network support.

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