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There is no denying that the Indian economy is on the rise, and a major force contributing to this is India's startups. However, despite being home to almost 27000 startups and being labelled as the third-largest startup nation, the data indicating the presence of women in this setup is staggeringly low at 5% only, which is reflective of the challenges encountered by women entrepreneurs.
The risk-reward ratio associated with an entrepreneurial stunt is more unbalanced or lopsided when it comes to women entrepreneurs since many factors such as societal pressure, stigma, familial support and gender bias act as direct hurdles in their journey. The risks become greater while rewards remain less or sometimes unachievable due to socioeconomic conditions that limit the reach and capability of many women. However, things are changing, and the stakeholders of the startup ecosystem are working towards a positive change from their end.Influence of stakeholders of the startup ecosystem in empowering women entrepreneurs.
- Initially, the difficulties for female entrepreneurs in accessing fundings for their endeavours were quite great. While the scenario has not changed completely for women, we can still witness the motivation amongst the stakeholders to demolish these barriers. Female-oriented funds have been set up by investors, and a boost in the numbers of women present in VC & PE firms is being noticed.
- Startups by women are being encouraged through the efforts made by the incubators in including female mentors in the team and by organizing workshops pertinent to the growth of women entrepreneurs. These serve as not just mentorship but also the guidance to overcome the pressure associated with the gender roles women are prescribed to.
- Now comes the most important role that the government can play in empowering more women to be involved with startups. The picture we see is encouraging considering the new schemes that the government has implemented in its capacity.
- A women entrepreneurship program (WING) has been launched by Startup India to extend basic and advanced workshops targeted specifically at entrepreneurs. Knowledge regarding the various stages of entrepreneurship, including pitching your idea, is covered in the basic workshop geared towards aspiring innovators. Whereas, capacity and skill-building are what advanced workshops offer to the existing female entrepreneurs
- Financial support for the required capital in the form of bank loans is being facilitated by Standup India- from INR 10 Lakh to 1 crore for at least one woman per branch, MUDRA- for financing small businesses including startups, and Rashtriya Mahila Kosh- loan up to INR 10 Lakhs for one's startup. Rashtriya Mahila Kosh encourages women with asset and wealth creation through the multiple loans offered as a part of their schemes.
Creating a gender-inclusive startup ecosystem is vital for seeing a boost in women participation in this space with the required push from both private and government bodies, as their combined efforts can play a significant role in lessening gender parity. The approach should focus not only on formulating schemes and incentives but also on spreading awareness about these aids and programs that women can access in their entrepreneurial aspirations.
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