Women in entrepreneurship have potential to create 170 million jobs

NEW DELHI: Women in entrepreneurship can generate transformational employment in India with 150–170 million job opportunities, which is more than 25% of the new jobs required for the entire working age population by 2030, says a joint report by Bain & Company and Google.

The report, titled ‘Women Entrepreneurship in India – Powering the economy with her’, underlines the need to step up efforts to grow female entrepreneurs in India to solve the country’s employment challenges.

“In spite of India’s economic progress in the last decade, women’s participation in the labour force has declined and is expected to be under pressure due to labour trends, technological disruption and constraining social barriers,” said Megha Chawla, a Bain & Company partner and the lead author of the report.

Unlocking entrepreneurship among women in India will provide an unprecedented opportunity to change the country’s economic and social trajectory and its women for future generations, in turn driving tremendous job creation, Chawla said.

The report identifies six dominant segments of female entrepreneurs and estimates India to have 13.5–15.7 million enterprises owned by women, representing about 20% of all enterprises today. In many cases, women are named owners for financial and administrative reasons with no active role to play, which overstates true entrepreneurship among women. Of all women-owned enterprises, a majority are singleperson enterprises, with the largest group represented by rural non-farm home-based business owners at 38%, followed by urban self-employed solopreneurs at 31%, who usually work from home.

The other dominant segments include rural agripreneurs who are farm-based business owners at 18% and small business owners at 14%. Finally, there are the scalers, who employ more than 10 people and account for less than 1%. In total, these female entrepreneurs provide direct employment to an estimated 22-27 million people today.

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The report projects an opportunity to accelerate both quantity and quality of entrepreneurship to create over 30 million women-owned enterprises out of which 12 million can create employment.

“Hundreds of women in rural India want to learn more about doing business and many have already made the start to enhance their livelihoods,” said Sapna Chadha, the senior country marketing director at Google India and Southeast Asia.

The report outlines four opportunity areas — levelling the playing field for high-impact, employment-creating entrepreneurs, enabling ambitious solopreneurs and small business owners to scale and become high-impact entrepreneurs, expanding the funnel to get more women to start enterprises, and building, strengthening and scaling productive rural agripreneurs.

The survey is based on responses from more than 60 female entrepreneurs Bain and Google spoke to, and from organised multiple focus group discussions and a granular survey with more than 1,100 women across rural, semi-urban and urban India.


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