'Not taken seriously' biggest challenge for women entrepreneurs
As the Indian start-up ecosystem witnesses dynamic growth, women entrepreneurs continue to face some particular challenges.
Not being taken seriously, struggle to raise capital, lack of a professional network, and lack of mentorship are the top challenges faced by Indian women entrepreneurs, revealed a recent study by talent solutions provider CIEL HR Services.
Among the survey respondents, 35.1% of women stated that they face discrimination and biases as they are not taken seriously in their business endeavors.
The study, based on voices of women representing over 200 companies, revealed apart from the prejudice and stereotypes, women entrepreneurs also face difficulty in raising capital, with 29.4% of the respondents saying they struggle to secure funding for their ventures.
The lack of access to financial resources is a major setback for women entrepreneurs in India, as it limits their ability to scale their businesses and compete in the market. Respondents also said that lack of professional network (20.6%) and lack of mentorship (14.9%) continues to be a challenge in the Indian start-up ecosystem.
“The start-up and entrepreneurship ecosystem in India is witnessing robust growth. When we took a closer look at the system with a gender lens, we discovered that with the progress, the challenges have also scaled. What the ecosystem needs immediately is a shift in mindset,” said Aditya Narayan Mishra, Managing Director & CEO of CIEL HR Services.
“One of the recommendations is to promote entrepreneurship among students and also provide them the right facilities like access to capital, mentorship programmes, training resources and more. Additionally, the government should also introduce policies that promote gender equality in entrepreneurship and ensure equal access to resources for all aspiring female entrepreneurs. With these initiatives in place, we can create a more equitable ecosystem for women-led businesses in India.”
The study notes that proven and established practices that have worked abroad can be learned and adopted in India while keeping cultural differences in mind, to encourage more women to run a business.
For example, Sweden and the US have established financial support mechanisms for women-owned businesses, while Canada and Mexico provide mentorship and training programmes. Countries like Australia have introduced policies to promote gender diversity on boards, while Rwanda has taken steps to promote gender equality in general.