Women Entrepreneurs in India

Women today in India are expressing themselves in myriad colors. From flying choppers on the high seas to plying taxis on unsafe roads, women are exploring new frontiers like never before. They are telling us that their entrepreneurial spirit and political ambition can break new ground and do wonders for the country and society at large. And the capital is making way for them. This new assertiveness has not taken away from them their healing and caring touch”.

Women are playing increasingly important roles in leadership and we‘re seeing some of the most exciting global growth coming from female-led companies,” said Moira Forbes (2010), publisher of Forbes Woman. She noted that in Asia, ―female business leaders and entrepreneurs are changing the face of business and India is at the forefront of this phenomenon”.

Women Entrepreneurship in India since Pre-Independence days:
Prior to Independence (Before 1947)

Manufacturing entrepreneurship did not exist in India till 1850 due to weak communication and transportation systems from the colonial political structure. Briefly it can be stated that both the East India company and the agency houses made some contribution in stimulating i entrepreneurship in Indian business men and creating some opportunities for its growth opportunities. The modern factory system was first introduced in India from 1850 onwards and this paved way for the first wave of entrepreneurship in India. The first cotton mill was set up in Bombay by a Parsi. J. N. Tata started the iron and steel industry. It is true Parsis dominated the entrepreneurial scene in the beginning. The second wave of entrepreneurial growth began during and after the first world war. During these decades,-cement and sugar industries
experienced fast progress. Secondly, the relative importance of Parsis declined and the Gujrati and Marwari and Vaishyas emerged. The preconditions for innovating entrepreneurship had come into existence but the managerial talents still lacked. The process of entrepreneurial growth got more impetus from the second world war. Since then, the Indian economy has been undergoing a rapid change. During the war, the entrepreneurs got many incentives for setting up new industries, that is the government of India helped entrepreneurs to give boost to the growth of industries and entrepreneurs earned high profits. But soon after the war, the production went below average, and the entrepreneurs experienced a setback.

Post Independence (After 1947)

After the independence, the government of India on realizing the magnitude of the adverse consequences of such an unbalanced growth of industries tried to device a scheme for the growth of a balanced and mixed economy. Three important measures were taken by the government:

  1. To encourage a proper distribution of economic power between public and private sectors.
  2. To increase the tempo of industrialization by spreading entrepreneurship from the existing industrial centers to other cities, towns and villages.
  3. To spread entrepreneurship from a few dominant entrepreneurs to a large number of industrially potential people of varied social strata. To meet these objectives, the government laid emphasis on the growth of entrepreneurship in various Five Year plans and Industrial Policy Resolutions (IPRs).

Liberalization & Globalization (1990’s Onwards)
The liberalization of the Indian economy started in 1991 with the government’s attempt to decontrol the economy and open Indian markets to the foreign world. The liberalization, which was started in 1991, and the Information Technology boom of the mid-late 90’s have been significant factors, leading to third wave of entrepreneurship sweeping through the country. Special policies for Entrepreneurship were designed in the 1991 Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR). Women entrepreneurs and technical entrepreneurs got a boost. Till the nineties the process of globalization of the Indian economy was constrained by the barriers to trade and investment and financial flows initiated in the nineties had progressively lowered the barriers to competition and hastened the pace of globalization. Globalization came to be the new buzzword that came to dominate the world since the nineties of the last century, with the end of the cold war and the break-up of the former Soviet Union and the global trend towards the rolling ball. Globalization also brought in new opportunities to developing countries. Greater access to developed country markets and technology transfer held out promises, improved productivity and higher living standard along with paving way for third wave of entrepreneurship. It has also thrown up new challenges like growing inequality across and within nations, volatility in financial market and environmental, another negative aspect of globalization is that a great majority of developing countries remain removed from the process.

Post Recession (Since 2008)
Since September, 2008 the industrialized world has undergone a recession, a pronounced declaration of economic activity. This global recession has resulted in a sharp drop in international trade, rising unemployment and slumping commodity prices in December 2008.
The conditions leading up to crises, characterized by an exorbitant rise in asset prices and associated boom in economic demand are considered as a result of the extended period of available credit, inadequate regulation and oversight or increasing inequality. According to Prof Dholakia IIM Ahmedabad , a senior economist has commented that the right time of restructuring of economy has come and has asked the Government to take necessary steps which include amendment in labor laws, restructuring and amalgamation of banks included private and public sectors. According to him, India did not see much of recession in 2008 and was hopeful that things would change for better in next two years. Globally, venture capital funding had fallen to 71 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 from a year ago, startups have been forced to fold up as they couldn’t sustain their business and investors cannot fund them any longer. This has actually boosted innovation amongst laid –off engineers, scientists and other highly skilled individuals as many of them have decided to pursue their own ideas. Calling it “forced entrepreneurship” Mark Cannice Professor of Entrepreneurship at San Francisco said, “he was optimistic that the current layoffs would unleash the next wave of creative, thoughtful entrepreneurs.” Even in India venture capital funding had dropped by 27 % in the first quarter. Post recession many surveys have showed that many new start-ups with a new work culture have came up and are there in the business arena to last for long and majority of the old ones sailed through the tempest (Kalra, 2011).. So a broad insight into the literature survey concludes that a new wave of entrepreneurship is going to thrive in these turbulent times.

Support systems for Women Entrepreneurs-
During the Pre-Independence days there were no concrete public or private financial and non-financial support systems to foster Entrepreneurship. Post Independence along with five year plans, various Industrial Policy Resolutions (IPRs) were introduced for fostering Entrepreneurship. The Government nationalized the banks, set up state financial corporations in Programs, designed various income generating schemes meant to reach out to women entrepreneurs. Post liberalization, various private support bodies specifically for women entrepreneurs, like TIE The Indus Entrepreneurs with their TiE Stree Shakti, NEN ( National Entrepreneurship Network) through it‘s Goldman Sachs 1000 women entrepreneurs Program and Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs (FIWE) have supported 60% of the women entrepreneurs of the total sample in terms of technical guidance. All the women Entrepreneurs have received physical support from their family members. 85% of the respondents have received funding from their family members.

Liberalization of markets encouraged women to come forward to become an entrepreneur and start new industries. A role of modern women is not confined to the traditional role as a mother and housewife; it has and is undergoing changes. As woman gets educated she begins to think of herself as an independent person, she becomes aware of her own identity, potentials and decision making capabilities. It is a common assumption that majority of women in India are economically non-productive as they are not involved in activities that are financially remunerative. But this trend is gradually changing. Women across regions have started showing interests to be economically independent. Interested women with creative and innovative ideas are coming forward to start the small and medium sized enterprises. The educated women do not want to limit their lives in the four walls of the house. They demand equal respect from their partners. However, Indian women have to go a long way to achieve equal rights and position because traditions are deep rooted in Indian society where the sociological set up has been a male dominated one. Women are considered as weaker sex and always made to depend on men folk in their family and outside, throughout their life. The Indian culture made them only subordinates and executors of the decisions made by other male members, in the basic family structure. While at least half the brainpower on earth belongs to women, women remain perhaps the world’s most underutilized resource. Despite all the social hurdles, India is brimming with the success stories of women. They stand tall from the rest of the crowd and are applauded for their achievements in their respective fields by striking a work-life balance.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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