Accelerating Women Entrepreneurship in India – Roadmap for NCR:
Women entrepreneurs are being celebrated as the harbingers of growth and development, especially in developing countries. They represent a vast untapped source of innovation, job creation and economic growth. Ensuring that women are able to create, operate and grow their businesses is increasingly recognised as fundamental to economic growth. Women’s share of entrepreneurial activity is lower than that of men and is changing little over time (OECD, 2012). In the Indian context, overall entrepreneurial activity rate stands at 18.21% for men and 9.66% for women (GEM Data, 2007). This huge gender gap in entrepreneurial activity can be attributed to the differing economic, financial and socio-cultural factors that impact business environment for entrepreneurs. With respect to finance, women businesses are heavily undercapitalised with a financing gap of INR 6.37 trillion indicating that 73% of the total finance demand among women-owned businesses in India remains unmet (IFC, 2014). The Indian Government and the private sector have initiated several schemes and programmes in response to these gender gaps in entrepreneurship; however, women continue to face challenges in setting up and growing their businesses. Understanding the institutional and social barriers women entrepreneurs face and providing solutions to address them is necessary to leverage the economic potential of women to promote growth and development.