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Accelerating Women Entrepreneurship In India Can Generate 150–170 Million Jobs: Bain And Google Report

Realising this potential will account for more than 25 per cent of all new jobs needed by2030

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Women in entrepreneurship can generate transformational employment in India and generate 150–170 million jobs, which is more than 25% of the new jobs required for the entire working-age population by2030, according to a joint report by Bain & Company andGoogle titled “Women Entrepreneurship in India –Powering the economy with her” –released today. The report underlines the need to accelerate efforts to grow women entrepreneurs in India in both quantity and quality to solve employment challenges in the country.

The report highlights the unprecedented opportunity India has, as it soon grows into a nation with the largest working-age population in the world, by focusing on growing the overall base of women entrepreneurs as well as enterprise quality. It presents women entrepreneurship, as a vital component to boost the economy through job creation as the private and government sector alone has not been sufficient in generating the required jobs.

The report identifies six dominant segments of women entrepreneurs and estimates India to have 13.5–15.7 million women-owned enterprises, representing approximately 20% of all enterprises today.In many cases, women are named as owners for financial and administrative reasons with no active role to play, which overstates true entrepreneurship amongst women.  Of all women-owned enterprises, a majority are single-person enterprises, with the largest group represented by rural non-farm home-based business owners at 38% followed by urban self-employed women 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% -split across urban (6%) and rural (8%), employing less than 10 employees and contributing most to employment generation. Finally, there are the scalers, who employ more than 10 people and account for less than 1%. In total, these women entrepreneurs provide direct employment to an estimated 22 to 27 million people today.

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 generate employment.

Commenting on the report, Megha Chawla, Partner Bain & Company and the lead author said, “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. Unlocking entrepreneurship amongst women in India is a complex effort, but it provides an unprecedented opportunity to change the economic and social trajectory of India and its women for generations to come. This will drive tremendous job creation and also deliver transformational social and personal outcomes for women.”

Speaking about the effort, Sapna Chadha, Senior Country Marketing Director, Google India and Southeast Asia, Google said, “At Google, we have been investing in scaled skilling efforts across SMBs, Startups and overcoming the digital gender gap in the country through the Internet Saathi program. Across all our programs, we have seen that women are hungry for opportunities to grow their household incomes. Hundreds of women in rural India want to learn more about doing business and many have already made the start to enhance their livelihoods. We are already running a pilot accelerator program for rural entrepreneurs from our Internet Saathi network. This joint effort/report with Bain is a start to better understand the barriers facing the various types of women entrepreneurs across India and find synergies with like-minded companies and the government to accelerate women entrepreneurship in India.”

The report outlines the following four opportunity areas to unlock the potential of women and entrepreneurship in India:

* Level the playing field for the high-impact, employment-creating entrepreneurs
* Enable the willing middle—the ambitious solopreneurs and small business owners—to scale and become high-impact entrepreneurs
* Expand the funnel to get more women to start enterprises
* Build, strengthen and scale productive rural agripreneurs

Sri Rajan, Partner Bain & Company and co-author of the report said, “Implementing these interventions to accelerate prospective and current women entrepreneurs will need a deep recognition of the urgency and a multi-year coordinated scaled effort between various ecosystem participants. These include national and state governments, grass-root organisations, investment and banking communities, other private enterprises, educational institutions and the media. This report is a start and is the compass needed to consolidate and coordinate efforts across high impact areas.”

The report provides rich insights into the motivations, advocacy and constraints across the six distinct types of women entrepreneurs and outlines the following challenges:
 * Access to finance impacts nearly every entrepreneur across segments, but it manifests in the form of disparity in the investor ecosystem for the scalers, and lack of information and absence of tailored products for rural and urban solopreneurs.
* Scalers are disadvantaged due to exclusion from networks, especially informal ones, but for urban solopreneurs, it is about not having had the opportunity to create a network of any sort.
* Rural agripreneurs is a distinct segment, which is here to stay and can be a critical catalyst of the modernisation of agriculture.
* Across all segments, women face cultural constraints that continue to stall advancement. These manifest in the form of denial of the social permission to work and for those that work, gender biases and expectations that persist widely.

Methodology Bain and Google had in-depth conversations with more than 60 women entrepreneurs, organised multiple focus group discussions and conducted a granular survey with more than 1,100 women across rural, semi-urban and urban India.

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