ROLE OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS IN ACHIEVING THE GOAL OF ‘SELF RELIANT INDIA VISION
Dr. (Mrs.) Kiran Kori
Entrepreneurship is a fascinating phenomenon where people want to take up some vocation through which they want to prove themselves and also increase their visibility in the market. The term entrepreneur may mean an individual or group of individuals who initiate, organize and run a business enterprise. Likewise, women entrepreneurship is grounded on participation of women in engagement of a business enterprise with fairness where she proves her mettle to the world along with her household responsibilities. Women entrepreneur deals with that section of female population who venture out into industrial activities i.e., manufacturing, assembling, job works, repairs, servicing, etc. The Government of India treated women entrepreneurs on different criteria in terms of women participation in equity and employment position of the enterprise. They have taken initiative in promoting and running an enterprise by having a controlling interest over it.
RECOGNITION OF WOMEN ENTERPRENEURSHIP-
Since the dawn of civilization, the significant role of women is recognized and acclaimed. As a matter of fact, they have been vitally instrumental in the development of the society. The sacred role of women as a mother, a sister and a wife speak volumes of their inherent leadership and entrepreneurial skills. They are natural risk takers and bearers while giving birth to a child, nurturing, caring and teaching the child, the nuances of mundane world. They teach a child the crucial lessons of survival, development and competition. They are, hence, considered to be a good entrepreneur as compared to the men.
The World War II had resulted in huge loss all across the world. The women being the secondary citizens had suffered a lot. The formation of United Nations in 1945 has brought a relief to a certain extent and we could see that after 30 years of formation of United Nations Organization, the ‘Women entrepreneurship’ got global recognition in the year 1975 by celebrating International Decade for Women from 1975-1985.
In India, the recognition of women entrepreneurship could be traced from the Industrial policies of 1980 and 1990, in which a considerable emphasis has been given to the need of Entrepreneurial Development Programmers (EDPs) in urban as well as rural areas for their upliftment in economic and social sectors. India is rich in crafts and artisans in which women are engaged and are more efficient than their counterparts i.e., men. Initially women entrepreneurs were visible majorly in State Capitals and Metropolitan cities because of access to education and awareness. Of late the women from other economic background/class entered in entrepreneurship as there are many government schemes. Women are coming forward to the business arena with ideas to start small and medium enterprises. They are willing to be inspired by role-models as well as experience of other successful business women. To this end there were many institutions set up for the purpose of promoting women entrepreneurs. They initiated different programmes for the development of women entrepreneurs with partial or full support from the central government and state governments. Let us see some of the schemes as under:
- Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs– it was founded in 1993 with an object to interact with various women associations of the country through its network to help the members in different activities. It provides facilities to member associations in the field of marketing, quality control, export management, standardisation etc. It helps the member associations to participate in national and international seminars, trade fairs, exhibitions to offer new exposure. It helps member organization a better access to different business opportunities. It helps member organizations to expand their business.
- Self Help Groups– A self-help group is a voluntary association of women in rural or urban areas formed to take care of group welfare. The group with the help of commercial banks and other NGOs get its needs satisfied. Each member of the group, according to byelaw, contributes little amount to cover seed money. The other part of Fund’ will be taken care of by a financial institution or NGOs. Sometimes, governments also undertake to provide finance through financial institutions. In Karnataka, “Stree Shakti Sangh” scheme become very popular. It is providing funds to women entrepreneurs through financial institutions.
- Mahila Udyog Nidhi (MUN)- Mahila Udyog Nidhi and Mahila Vikas Nidhi (MVN) of SIDBI have been assisting women entrepreneurs. MUN is an exclusive scheme for providing equity (i.e., seed capital) and MUN offers developmental assistance for pursuit of income generating activities to women. SIDBI has also taken a step to setup an informal channel for credit needs on liberal terms giving special emphasis to women.
- The Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD)-This is a scheme envisaged by Ministry of small-scale industries, Government of India. It helps women entrepreneurs to become economically strong. To achieve this objective, it provides trade related training, information, counselling and extension activities related to trades, products, services etc.
- Bank of India’s Priyadarshini Yojana- Under this scheme the banks provide long term and working capital assistance under various categories.
- Swarna Jayanthi Gram Swarojar Yojana-This scheme has been in operation since April, 1999. The main objective of this scheme is to provide proper self- employment opportunities to rural women who are living below poverty line. The idea behind this is to improve the social and economic standard of rural women. Under this programme, forming a group of 10-15 women was adopted and encouraged them to take up an economic activity accounting to their skills and locally available resources.
- RashtriyaMahila Kosha- This fund was setup on March 30, 1993 to facilitate credit support to poor women for uplifting their socio-economic status. The Support is being extended through NGOs, Women Development Corporations, Dairy Federations, Municipal Councils etc., RashtriyaMahilaKosh is planned to extend loan facilities through these organisations at 8 percent per annum interest. The financial assistance from this fund is totally security free and it doesn’t insist for any kind of collateral security from organisations taking loan from it.
- Other Schemes- In addition to the above assistance, women entrepreneurs are also Untitled to financing under other government sponsored schemes where capital subsidy is available and the rate of interest is much lower. They are–
(a) Indian Mahila Kendra
(b) Mahila Samiti Yojana
(c) Mahila Vikas Nidhi
(d) Indira Mahila Yojana
(e) Working Women’s Forum
(f) Women’s Development Corporations
(g) Marketing of Non-Farm Products of Rural Women
(h) Assistance to Rural Women in Non-Farm Development Schemes
(i) Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana (PMRY)
(j) Self-Employment Programme for Urban Poor (SEPUP)
(k) Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP)
The above-mentioned programmes and schemes have to be implemented in their true spirit else they will be mere a showcasing document with less significance. Nonetheless many banks have encouraged women to come to the forefront in entrepreneurship skills and fulfill their dreams. The long-term objectives of the developmental programmers for women should be to raise their economic and social status in order to bring them in the mainstream of national development. The basic approach should be to inculcate the confidence among women and create awareness of their own potential for development.
HARDSHIPS TO WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS-
Despite government initiatives and support towards women to become self-reliant, they have to suffer a number of hardships. The woman tries to fight against all the odds that come towards her entrepreneurship. She has to face cultural hurdles, in which society acknowledges that a woman must look after her family as her first responsibility. In conventional countries, such as India, a woman has to perform primarily her family duties irrespective of her career as a working woman or an entrepreneur. A woman entrepreneur has to bear double responsibilities; she has to manage her family as well as her business in case she wants to be economically independent.
The women entrepreneurs undergo lack of confidence, because their own family members have reservation towards their capacities and efficiency to run a business and take decisions. It refers to the personal problem of women entrepreneurs. Women have been dependent on their family members for a long time. They have been always protected and guided by the male members of their family. Right from taking any decision to going anywhere they are accompanied by male. This makes women feel less confident even about their own capabilities.
Despite all these barriers women entrepreneurs have proved themselves in all the walks of industrial activities. They are successfully performing and managing their roles at work and home. They have made a great level of adjustment and tuning between two roles of a woman. They are confident, creative, and are very much capable of running an enterprise, regardless of all the barriers in their path. They are equally talented as men and need a congenial environment to grow themselves.
Entrepreneurship does not depend upon man or woman. It is an attitude of mind and requires
Suitable motivation duly supported by cordial external conditions. Therefore, women entrepreneurs need to be supported by congenial environment to develop the risk-taking and
Financial hardship is one of the major hardships to women entrepreneurs. It refers to the major problem of women entrepreneurs that arise due to the lack of access to funds. It is really difficult for them to arrange the requisite fund as they may not possess any tangible security and credit in the market. Generally, the family members of women entrepreneurs do not have confidence in their capability of running the business successfully. Women entrepreneurs even face problems in financing day-to-day operations of enterprises, including purchasing of raw materials and paying wages to laborers or to the supporting staff. The lack of access to funds makes the condition of women entrepreneurs extremely vulnerable. The complexities and the complications in the process of obtaining bank loans usually deter women from establishing enterprises.
Marketing problem is another latent hardship to women entrepreneurs refers to the problems of women entrepreneurs in marketing their products or services. Lack of mobility and heavy competition in the market makes the women entrepreneurs dependent on middlemen. Middlemen take a huge amount of money to market the products. Women entrepreneurs lack information on changing market and find it difficult to capture the market and make their products popular.
WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR VIS A VIS WOMEN EMPOWERMENT-
The terms women entrepreneurs and women empowerment are intertwined although both the terms are having independent universe and significance. Both are interrelated and dependent on each other at one point. To put it simple, empowerment comes with entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship gives empowerment to women. To this end the government of India has enacted The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 (hereinafter MSMED Act, 2006) with an object to facilitate the promotion and development of and enhancing the competitiveness of micro, small and medium, enterprises. The MSMED Act, 2006, thus, has brought a sense of motivation which provides financial assistance to minimize the sickness of enterprises and enhance the competitiveness among such enterprises. To empower women, the government has launched specific schemes and projects to facilitate women entrepreneurs and these supports are resulting in women empowerment. Hence, we see that both the terms are complimentary to each other.
THE MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT ACT, 2006-
A single comprehensive act for development and regulation of small enterprises had been a long outstanding demand of the Sector so as to free it from a plethora of laws and regulations and visit of inspectors, which it had to face with limited awareness and resources. The need has been emphasized from time to time by stake holders at different fore. In addition, recommendations to provide for a proper legal framework for small sector to relieve it of the requirements to comply with multiple rules and regulations were made by the Committees such as the Abed Hussain Committee (1997) and Study Group under Dr. S.P. Gupta (2000). While the small-scale industries continued to be important for the economy, in the recent years the small-scale services have also emerged as a significant sector contributing substantially to the economy and employing millions of workers. Therefore, it became necessary, as is the practice worldwide, to address the concerns of both the small-scale industries and services together and recognize them as small enterprises. The worldwide as a composite sector. In a fast-growing economy like ours, the natural mobility of small enterprises to medium ones has to be facilitated through appropriate policy interventions and legal framework. With these objectives in view, the Government came with an exclusive legislation for micro, small and medium enterprises known as the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006. Pursuant to the existing provision of MSMED Act, 2006, MSMEs are classified in 2 classes:
- Manufacturing Enterprises: The enterprises engaged in the manufacture or production of goods pertaining to the specified industry or employing plant and machinery in the process of value addition to the final product having a distinct name or character or use. The ‘Manufacturing Enterprise’ is defined in terms of investment in Plant & Machinery.
- Service Enterprises: The enterprises engaged in providing or rendering of services and are defined in terms of investment in equipment.
MSMEs CHAMPIONS: It has been felt necessary to put up and promote a unified, empowered, robust, bundled and technology driven platform for helping and promoting the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) of the country. As the name suggests it will aim at Creation and Harmonious Application of Modern Processes for Increasing the Output and National Strength. Accordingly, the name of the system is CHAMPIONS. This is basically for making the smaller units big by helping and handholding, in particular, by solving their problems and grievances. Three basic objectives of the CHAMPIONS:
- To help the MSMEs in difficult situation in terms of finance, raw materials, labor, permissions, etc.
- To help the MSMEs capture new opportunities in manufacturing and services sectors.
- To identify the sparks, i.e., the bright MSMEs who can withstand at present and become national and international champions.
COVID 19 AND WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS-
The Covid 19 pandemic has had uneven impacts across sectors and types of businesses and women entrepreneurs have been disproportionately affected. There is a risk that covid 19 will undo decades of progress in advancing female entrepreneurship.Women led enterprises in rural areas have been resilient during economic shocks in the past. But during covid 19 pandemic women-led enterprises reported cash shortages than male-led enterprises.There have been crisis of non-payment of past wages and pending arrears that have made women entrepreneurs and their households prone to economic shocks. Therefore, the impact of Covid-19 pandemic is not gender neutral. We see a disproportionate impact on women and women-led businesses as these businesses typically operate in the trade and service sectors that have directly been affected by social distancing measures. Tourism, airlines, hospitality, food and beverage, salons, etc. were the first casualties of corona virus. As most vocational skills are not easily transferable, women employees will have to re-skill to survive thereby increasing expenses and reducing opportunities.
CELEBRATED WOMEN TYCOONS OF INDIA IN RECENT YEARS-
There are some women entrepreneurs in recent years that have proved themselves in the global arena by their most exciting business ideas in the form of start-ups. Let us have a look on their efforts:
- Your Story: Founded by Shradha Sharma in 2008, YourStory started as a platform that would tell stories of entrepreneurs who are not superstars yet but have the spark, drive and hope. After failing to raise funds from investors for her media and news startup, Sharadha Sharma bootstrapped YourStory for seven years before investors eventually realized the potential of her venture.
- MobiKwik: Founded by Bipin Preet Singh and UpasanaTaku in 2008, MobiKwik is a digital payments startup that was started before FreeCharge, Paytm and PhonePe. Initially, MobiKwik was a prepaid mobile recharge service but it has now expanded its portfolio to include a host of financial services like offering loans, investment in gold and mutual funds and it also has its own payment gateway called Zaakpay.
- Little Black Book (LBB): Founded by SuchitaSalwan in 2011, LBB started as a Tumblr blog and has now evolved into a discovery-led commerce platform. Suchita started building a small team of employees, freelancers, and interns, who would scour Delhi searching for interesting places that people could visit. They later started building their own website and app after Dhruv Mathur joined LBB as a co-founder in 2015.
- Nykaa: Founded by FalguniNayyar in 2012, Nykaa started things off with an exclusively online approach, curating beauty products from a number of different well-known global brands. They follow an inventory-based business model. By 2017, Nykaa had broken even and they’ve been profitable ever since. Today, Nykaa sells beauty, wellness, and fashion products for both men and women using an omnichannel channel approach: through their website and 70 offline stores across India. It’s going to open IPO in 2022 and will become the first Indian online beauty company and first Indian IPO of a company that was solely founded by a Woman.
- Rivigo: In 2014, Deep Garg and GeetKalra set out to make the profession of truckers more humane and address the growing need of truck drivers in the country by starting Rivigo. The company’s innovative relay trucking model not only helps its drivers to go home to their families every day but also makes deliveries for their customers much faster. Today, Rivigo has become a unicorn and has raised more than $280 million.
- SmartVizX: Founded by another husband-wife duo Gautam and TithiTewari in 2015, SmartVizX is a virtual reality startup that is changing the way architects communicate. Their flagship product Trezi is India’s first VR-based design communication and collaboration product. SmartVizX’s customers can use Trezi to seamlessly review, modify, and experience a project design with clients and colleagues.
- ZestMoney: Founded by Ashish Anantharaman, Lizzie Chapman, and Priya Sharma in 2015, ZestMoney is a fintechstartup that partners with NBFCs and banks to offer EMI option to customers who do not have access to credit cards and can’t afford to pay for products out of their pockets in full.
- Doubtnut: Founded by husband-wife duo Aditya Shankar and TanushreeNagori in 2016, Doubtnut provides its users with instant video solutions to doubts in a number of different educational categories like math, physics, chemistry, and biology. Students just plug in their question or even take a photograph of it and Doubtnut provides a solution to that question.
- Nexus Power: Founded by twin sisters Nishita and Nikita Baliarsingh in 2019, Nexus Power is building bio-organic and biodegradable batteries for electric vehicles. Initially, Nishita and Nikita wanted to actually build EVs, but after doing some research, they realized that India’s EV space was still a really tough market to get into and they started creating batteries that could replace Lithium and were good for the environment.
- Myelin Foundry: Founded by Aditi Olemann, Ganesh Suryanarayanan and GopichandKatragadda in 2019, Myelin Foundry’s flagship service called Fovea Stream is able to leverage the power of artificial intelligence and deep learning to upscale videos that viewers are watching on OTT platforms up to 4K, irrespective of the video’s original quality or network bandwidth limitations.
The above-mentioned list of start-ups and women entrepreneurs is only a few who have been applauded at international platforms as they have begun their journey in recent years. There are many more women entrepreneurs engaged in small, medium and micro enterprises and contributing to the India’s economy. Thus, they have started getting recognition with the declaration of “AtmaNirbhar Bharat Mission” where even a single drop of water is as much important as a stream of water heading towards ocean.
CONTRIBUTION OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS TOWARDS SELF RELIANT INDIA MISSION-
The ‘Self-Reliant India’ mission is a very noble attempt initiated by the Government of India. This has a long way to go and if seriously and sincerely taken up then India will be developed nation one day. The women, who constitute almost fifty percentage of Indian population must be respected and cared for. They have been trying to travel a long voyage from only home-maker to independent personality, employment creator, contributor in nation’s economic growth, improved standard of living (of herself and of her employees). There are many more contributions of women entrepreneurs to the Indian Growth, social-economic and cultural. The women always follow a healthy competition in almost all spheres of life, be it family or her workplace or her enterprise.
CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS-
The period of post Liberalization and Globalization has resulted into the growth of women entrepreneurship in India. There has been rapid growth in small, medium and large-scale businesses owned and managed by women. The corporate world is talking about gender neutrality where women have started occupying a significant position in India’s workforce at middle and at top level management. The trend is now set and thus need of the hour is to set roll this trend through concrete and pragmatic plans, policies and schemes for women entrepreneurship development in all spheres of business. Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, popularly known as the engine of growth in the country and incubators of entrepreneurship has emerged as the torchbearers of women empowerment on a global platform. It can be said that India is in a better position wherein women participation is increasing at a considerable rate. Last but not least, no country can attain its full potential without adequately investing in and augmenting the capabilities of women. For a long-term development of a country, it is indispensable to facilitate women empowerment through women entrepreneurship.
 Assistant Professor of Law, Hidayatullah National Law University, Nava Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India
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