Unlocking Opportunities for Women-owned Small Businesses

Unlocking business opportunities for women and supporting a self-reliant to create a massive entrepreneurial movement by 2030. Read more

To support the push for self-reliance (“Atmanirbhar”), India has to create a massive entrepreneurial movement by 2030. As GAME (Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship) builds on its recommendation to improve economic dynamism and accelerate MSME growth, a firm step in that direction is to build a deeper understanding of the women entrepreneurs’ ecosystem. Hence, GAME and Sattva have released a Segmentation Study Report of Women Entrepreneurs in Bengaluru.

The Segmentation Study done by Sattva was launched at an event in Bengaluru, in the presence of key industry leaders – Ameera Shah, Managing Director, Metropolis Healthcare, Dr. Rajeswari Ranganathan, President, Association of Women Entrepreneurs (AWAKE), Karnataka; Dr B R Mamatha, Additional Mission Director, SAKALA, Rachna Rao, Co-Founder, FoodyBuddy; Aarti Mohan, Co-founder and Partner at Sattva Consulting; Shailesh Dixit, Co-Founder, Gromor Finance; Dr. Nina Pais, Founder, Ennelle Skin and Hair Co; Venkatesh Panchapagesan, Associate Professor of Finance, Chairperson, NSRCEL and M. Srinivas Rao, CEO, GAME. The purpose of the study across priority sectors like food, apparel, health and wellness and education in Bengaluru is to build a nuanced understanding of women-owned small businesses and to ensure that efforts made to enable growth are mapped to the differing needs of the segments.

The Study finds that for women entrepreneurs in Bengaluru, to run and scale their businesses, there is “an urgent need to increase sales & marketing channels and make them finance ready so that they can access capital. While women entrepreneurs in the region face formidable challenges, the combination of new market platforms, peer-support networks, capital will make women entrepreneurs a force to reckon with before the end of the decade.”

Talking about the relevance and importance of the Study, M Srinivas Rao, CEO, GAME said, “GAME’s mission is to catalyse 10 million mass entrepreneurs in India by 2030, half of whom will be women. Our study in Bengaluru focused on the four sectors of Food, Apparel, Healthcare and Education that typically have more women entrepreneurs compared to other sectors. Noticeably, even across these four sectors, only 15% are women-owned and of these only 4% employ greater than 5 people. This shows that we have a long way to go. The Study reinforces the sentiment that while women in Bengaluru have many opportunities to build entrepreneurial ventures, the ecosystem lacks in supplementing them with the adequate resources, infrastructure and freedom.”

A few findings of the Study have helped understand that there is a need to immediately help women entrepreneurs transition from building businesses using personal savings/borrowings to small sized affordable finance to expand the reach of their business.

“Financial Literacy and Awareness, Technology and Digital Literacy and Nurturing of a entrepreneurial mindset are key areas of support for all categories of women entrepreneurs.,” said Dr. Rajeswari Ranganathan, President, Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE).

The impact of COVID has certainly widened the gap. Of the interviewed entrepreneur pool, Strivers (Nanopreneurs earning less than Rs 60,000 a month and having grown their teams for business expansion) had an 80% decline in revenue due to reduced customer footfall.

COVID’s impact has made lack of access to affordable credit, more so for women entrepreneurs, a central issue. Gendered factors in access impede these women entrepreneurs from applying to formal credit. The need of the hour is to bring them under a formal and affordable credit system to help them scale their business.”, said Aarti Mohan, Co-founder and Partner at Sattva Consulting.

Talking about sustaining business in the new normal, Aarti added,With COVID severely affecting businesses, women entrepreneurs need to relook at their business models. As an immediate recourse keeping in line with the new normal, they should be looking at online channels like social media and e-commerce platforms to sustain business. In the mid-to longer term, women need to access more government schemes and stimulus including financial assistance to recover from their negative cash flow”.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

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