Republic day is a nation- wide holiday, as if to pause our hectic lives and reminiscent of how India showcased strength even in diversity and won over what was rightfully ours – the supreme power of creating a government by ourselves, of ourselves and for ourselves! Today, as we honour the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950, for the 72nd time, we take a moment to reflect on the principle of gender equality, enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble and how it has aided in empowering women, to escalate on the path of progress.
Previously, there was a dearth of women entrepreneurs in India and various studies have shown that women entrepreneurs in the country were among the most disadvantaged. India has a colossal 58.5 million entrepreneurs and only 8.05 million of those are women entrepreneurs, which adds up to only 14% women entrepreneurs in the Indian business landscape. This is a criminal waste of talent! However, the advent of COVID19 has been the silver lining we were seeking in the dark clouds of women entrepreneurship. With the COVID induced work-from-home system, more and more women have gained access to the flexibility they desired in order to roll out their business models. Start-ups by women entrepreneurs have boomed, supported by government schemes such as ‘Stand Up India’ which provide venture capital support to help women start and grow businesses.
Furthermore, recognising the importance of tapping in the untapped potential of women entrepreneurs while we tread on the path of self-reliance, educating women to become entrepreneurs is a wise move to make. This education should be multifaceted, where while encouraging leadership values and thoughts in women, they are also introduced to government help ensuring adequate financial resources to support their entrepreneurial ventures. Providing mentoring to these aspirational women to promote success in entrepreneurship will help in bridging the gap between their endeavours and pathways to bring their ideas to a consequence.
In order to dramatically accelerate the country’s economic development providing women with a support system with an integrated policy framework with equal focus on rural India as well, is the need of the hour. Developing more women entrepreneurship programs, funding avenues, skill-training initiatives and digitally equipping them to leap ahead is imperative. Finally, lauding the importance of a vibrant, women-led entrepreneurial ecosystem in India, I wish to say that adopting the above stated measures will tap into the enormous untapped potential of new woman-led businesses and that will be a win-win situation for all!