Fostering Women Entrepreneurship in India: Analysis of Value Chains

  • 23 July, 2019
  • Guwahati, Hyderabad & Jaipur

To achieve a sustainable economic growth in India and create more jobs, women must play a greater role in the economy as employees and entrepreneurs. The Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups by Women project aims to improve the overall framework conditions for women-led businesses in India and encourage women to become entrepreneurs and existing women-led enterprises to grow. Under the name Her&Now, the project pilots an incubation and acceleration programme, that equips India women to start new businesses and grow their existing businesses in Northeast region, Rajasthan and Telangana with three local partners.

With an aim to gain an on-the-ground picture, value chain analysis workshops were recently conducted in Guwahati, Hyderabad and Jaipur. The focus was to gain insights into sectors and value chains that lend themselves to entrepreneurship for women-led enterprises in all three regions. The workshops, jointly organised by the project Her&Now and Dhriiti, were attended by 140 ecosystem experts and entrepreneurs. And were a melting pot of ideas and insights on current value chains and sectors alike. Some of the highlights from the workshop were:

  • The space for Women's Entrepreneurship has developed manifolds over the last 10 years with various stakeholders operating in various capacities, however the biggest challenge is to differentiate between entrepreneurship and livelihoods. With the strengthening of the SHG movement and the evolving mass entrepreneurship concepts, the thin line between entrepreneurship and livelihoods seems to be fading more.
  • The realities for women entrepreneurship in all regions across the country are very stark and adverse in comparison to entrepreneurship for men, hence the support structures and the eco-system providers need to gear their services keeping the realities of women entrepreneurs in place. Programmes or initiatives targeted to service women entrepreneurs cannot just provide the run of the mill entrepreneurship support as it exists in the larger ecosystem (it is the prime reason why percentage of women entrepreneurs in a one solution for all programme is very low i.e. around 15%).
  • Access to finance, access to information and access to network of women entrepreneurs in the region is a common need that has come out from the consultations across the various locations.
  • Mobility for work and negotiation with self/family biggest challenges that has been noted from the consultations across various locations.
  • Rajasthan and the Northeastern Region has a craft/handloom/handicraft focus in the traditional spaces for women entrepreneurs whereas Telangana does not show any such particular focus sector but higher percentage of women participating in tech-based initiatives across sectors.

Though there are similarities in all the three regions in the women entrepreneurship landscape, there are also differences, and each region needs to be treated differently keeping in my all these complexities. Keeping these factors into consideration, it was decided that all the stakeholders need to create a focused approach towards encouraging and supporting women entrepreneurship in their respective regions.

© 2019 Private Sector Development. All Rights Reserved | Designed by