September 24, 2022

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Julia Karst, Head of Project Her&Now, GIZ.
In 2018, a young entrepreneur from Jaipur, registered a business selling beeswax candles. She worked with tribal women artisans from marginalised village communities across India to create safe, sustainable products. In just a few years, she has grown her business manifold and helped generate livelihood opportunities for over 800 women.
Meanwhile, another entrepreneur from Maharashtra was trying to make her mark. Coming from a community where women didnt work, she convinced her husband to let her become a part of their family business. Today, she is at the helm, and her business of making statues has grown internationally. Taking this step changed her role in her own family, empowering other women in the community to seek financial independence.
Women entrepreneurs are a catalyst of change in Indian communities – becoming role models, creating opportunities, and uplifting the societies they operate in.
More than an economic growth story
Undoubtedly, women entrepreneurs are a vital part of India’s growth. According to a report by Google and Bain & Company, there are 13.5–15.7 million women-owned enterprises in India, representing 20% of all Indian enterprises. The World Economic Forum considers empowering women’s entrepreneurship as key to economic recovery. But women-owned businesses are more than just contributors to GDP. Women’s unique role in the community, the family structure and in child-rearing makes them critical agents of change. They contribute significantly to economic development and poverty reduction and empowerment of people and communities around them by changing social mindsets, breaking biases, and creating more collaborative and less discriminatory workplace cultures.
Today women entrepreneurs in India are shaping and changing the future of communities by:
Investing in the future of India
Despite their potential to catalyse economic and social growth, women entrepreneurs in India are fighting an uphill battle. They struggle with social constructs, biases, and an ecosystem that is heavily skewed in favour of their male counterparts. There is an urgent need to invest in creating supportive ecosystems and to bring together allies who can together catalyse women entrepreneurship in India.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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