As the year draws to a close we take a look at how 2022 fared for India women in business. SujataPawar from Avni, Kajal Malik from PickMyWork and Harini Ramachandran of Excellence Installations Technology & Antano&Harini, Legacy Accelerators share their thoughts with us.
Over the past few years the Indian economy has been heralded as one of the fastest growing ones globally. This spurt in economic activity has come as a consequence of the hard work put in by various skilled entrepreneurs and business owners. Women business owners and entrepreneurs have also been playing a crucial role in contributing towards India’s economic growth.
However, women’s growth and involvement in India’s economic activity and the workforce has been a matter of concern. While the community has been making strides yet there have been various factors pulling women back. The year 2022 was also full of such hot and cold moments; some came as wins for women while others as losses.
The Many Ups & Downs of 2022
India ranked rather low in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2021, coming in at the 41st spot out of the total 43. But on the other hand the number of women entrepreneurs in India has been rising. Reports suggest that women make up 13.76 percent of all entrepreneurs in the country and have been making significant contributions to the Indian economy.
Building a startup from the ground up is an uphill battle for anybody irrespective of their gender. It requires grit, skill along with expert guidance. According to reports almost 48 percent of businesswomen do not have access to sound business advisors to guide them through their entrepreneurial journey. Despite facing such odds, more than 20 percent of Indian MSMEs are owned by women and this number has been constantly increasing.
The Indian government has been doing its part in promoting women’s participation in the workforce and as business leaders. The years 2022 saw several such initiatives coming into place. Very recently the government’s public policy think tank NITI Aayog launched its very own Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) 3.0 web portal. The portal’s sole aim is to support Indian women entrepreneurs. “The platform will target to onboard 2.5 lakh women entrepreneurs, engage with 500 partners and host over 200 capacity-building online and offline events,” stated the NITI Aayog at the launch.
Hearing it from the Horse’s Mouth
It is evident that women entrepreneurs in India are here to stay. They are sure to fight against all odds and build their presence in the Indian business landscape in the years to come. To understand their sentiments closely the Women Entrepreneur team spoke to three women entrepreneurs from varied fields. SujataPawar from Avni, Kajal Malik from PickMyWork and Harini Ramachandran of Excellence Installations Technology &Antano&Harini, Legacy Accelerators tell us about their thoughts on how 2022 treated them. These women leaders also give us their predictions for how 2023 will fare for the Indian business landscape.
SujataPawar, Co-Founder & CEO at Avni- A Feminine Hygiene and Menstrual Healthcare Startup
The year 2022 has been a big boost to my journey as a woman entrepreneur as Avni is a women-led brand working for women’s health. I have seen immense support right from customers supporting more women-led brands, various e-commerce platforms and accelerators offering specific programs for women entrepreneurs, and our stories being amplified organically in the media.
A recent study says four out of five women in India want to start their own businesses, however, the conversion rate is not that high. I am sure this picture will change as we have more success stories, and role models, increasing investor confidence and a boost in the infrastructure in the coming year.
Kajal Malik, Co-Founder & CSO of Pick My Work- A Gig Platform
The entire ecosystem- the founders, the funders, the government of India, the enablers - everyone has recognized the importance of women in entrepreneurship and is working hard to bridge the gap. Initiatives like BharathiyaMahila Bank Business Loan, Mudra Yojana Scheme, Google startup Accelerator, NSRCEL, and many more will have a positive impact on women's entrepreneurship at every level. The participation of women in the labor force has helped millions of families pull out of poverty and has led to job creation. In India, 20.37% of women are MSME owners which accounts for 23.3% of the labor force. They are considered to be the backbone of the economy.
To reach exponential growth in the coming few years we are still laying the foundations. Every year is a year of these incremental efforts and I believe that every effort (big or small) will make a difference in this decade. At the top level, we are aware that it is extremely important to have women as a part of the formal workforce to push our nation’s GDP, it is important to create that awareness at every level, in every city or village so that every scheme, every effort that we make actually leads to the desired result.
Harini Ramachandran, Co-Creator of Excellence Installations Technology and Co-founder of Antano&Harini, Legacy Accelerators
"2022 posed its own set of challenges for women entrepreneurs, amongst others. Indeed, most of them have splendidly progressed in this journey in 2022, although with great struggle. One of the most significant agendas of 2023 is to get a complete & clean reset from the struggle and get the mind & the body to feel lighter to soar to new altitudes, not just in the same range. It is pivotal, thus, to do the prep required mentally, physically, strategically and from a capabilities perspective, to take the Big Leap ahead and accelerate their success. Capabilities like Predictive Intelligence, Ecosystem Engineering, Sustained Creative High on-demand, striking collaborative brilliance on-demand, etc are going to be pivotal in 2023, especially for Women Entrepreneurs. In 2023, I see women entrepreneurs leverage the power of Technology like Excellence Installation to accelerate their personal evolution and be more daring, and capable, and push the boundaries of what they considered possible. This is also the year, where I see women developing rapidly targeted capabilities to Build their Business, Health, Family, and Legacy (impact), all together. Simultaneously."
Moving Forward with Hope in 2023
As we step into the New Year, we can only hope that the year brings with it balanced growth for the Indian economy and women leaders of the country.
It is important to understand that no nation can truly prosper unless every section of the society contributes towards the growth. Women are one of the most under-utilized demographic of the population. Once this demographics’ hidden potential is truly unlocked, there will be no stopping the nation & the womenfolk.
Here’s hoping 2023 is the year this wish turns into reality.