A new study called ‘Powering the Economy with Her: Women Entrepreneurship in India’, put together by Bain & Company and Google, outlines major barriers women face, and details best practices that can help boost women entrepreneurship in India. “This can generate potentially transformational employment in India, of 150-170 million jobs, which is more than 25 percent of the total job creation requirement, from now until 2030,” the report adds, calling it a “visionary but realistic goal”.
“It’s an ambition that we have to mobilise around, because it’s not just about increasing the number of women entrepreneurs, it’s also about driving up the quality and size of these enterprises, making them truly vibrant and viable,” says Megha Chawla, partner at Bain & Company and lead author of the report.
The question should be about how to create an enabling environment for these women, says Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director of Biocon
. “Even today, investors are likely to select male entrepreneurs over female, even with poorer business models and credentials. I’ve been through it in my early days, and I know that not much has changed,” she adds.
When she started out, Mazumdar-Shaw recalls being asked to have her father give a personal guarantee against a bank loan. “This was 40 years ago, but even today, women are always asked to give details of their ‘management’—another way of asking who the men are in your leadership team.” To fight this bias, Mazumdar-Shaw says women will have to be more assertive, create a CEO forum of women who will constantly lobby with various sectors, to make people understand what women leadership is all about, get better visibility and credibility for women.
(This story appears in the 13 March, 2020 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)