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Only 3% women have access to external funding in small cities, finds study

The white paper was released at an event organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) here on Thursday

Rupee, Indian rupee, Rupees

Deepa Muthukumarasamy, founder of First Spoon, a baby food brand, and a housewife turned entrepreneur, talked about the particular challenges she faced coming from a small town near Tirupur in Tamil Nadu. (Photo: X@ANI)

Press Trust of India Bengaluru

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Only 3% women entrepreneurs in tier 2 and 3 cities in India out of the 300 surveyed had access to external funding

to start or expand their businesses, finds out a white paper on Women Entrepreneurs Transforming Middle India by Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBIH).
The white paper was released at an event organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) here on Thursday.
But we are keen to promote women in fintech. It is unfortunate that angel investors hesitate to give US$50,000 or US$100,000 to women in fintech. So, we are developing a fintech entrepreneurs programme in partnership with IIM Ahmedabad and Lucknow, BITS Pilani and Indian School of Business," said Rajesh Bansal, chief executive officer of Reserve RBIH, who released the findings.
Bansal also pointed out that while literature and primary surveys reveal that women, in rural areas particularly, may have different financial goals compared to men, there is hardly any financial institution that looks at gender intentionality,

For instance, a woman in Gorakhpur might prioritise saving money for her child's education, while a man might be more inclined to save for purchasing a motorcycle. So, we are nudging financial institutions to think about gender intentional projects, said Bansal.
According to him, by offering a seamless savings experience, financial institutions can empower women to achieve their goals.
Following the launch of the white paper, two panel discussions on capital gap and data gap as well as challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in building and scaling businesses were held.
When it comes to plugging the gender gap, acceleration is only possible if women use windows of opportunities that they come across, said Bindu Ananth, co-founder of Dvara Holdings, one of the panelists discussing capital and data gaps.
For instance, if we say land holding should be made favourable to women, it becomes a political issue and would take forever to get around to reform. However, we can use the land title digitisation as an opportunity to push for land reforms, added Ananth.
The panel also included Anuradha Ramachandran, managing partner, TVS Capital Funds and Geetha Manjunath, founder and CEO of NIRAMAI Health Analytix. The session was moderated by Shilpa Rao, gender and finance lead, RBIH.
Deepa Muthukumarasamy, founder of First Spoon, a baby food brand, and a housewife turned entrepreneur, talked about the particular challenges she faced coming from a small town near Tirupur in Tamil Nadu.
Getting your family to invest in you or even the bank to give you a loan is still an uphill task still. While banks need guarantors, families--where I come from--want their women to stay at home. So, you can say that every step had been a struggle and the only push I had for a long time was my ambition to become a businesswoman, said Muthukumarasamy.
Paroma Chatterjee, CEO of Revolut India, also talked about how as she developed various financial products as well as built a seller base in her previous jobs, the gender equation on the ground often forced her to rethink strategies.
For instance, when I was building a seller base for Flipkart, I started with the intention of inducting a certain percentage of women entrepreneurs. But I found out that they are already there, except they left the money part of it to their menfolk. We then had to think of educating them about, say, opening a bank account in their names or the benefits of being a woman entrepreneur, said Chatterjee.
The session was moderated by Shinjini Kumar, cofounder of mysaltapp, who also undertook the research for the RBIH's whitepaper that combines anecdotal evidence and some scattered data. She talked about how her journey across India in search of invisible women, changed her perspective of women entrepreneurs.
I spoke to 300 women across 30 cities, and found courage, resilience, care, opportunities, challenges as well as many broken stereotypes. The study was undertaken because gender-disaggregated data was not available, said Kumar.
Shraddha Rj Jindal, joint managing director of Jindal Saw Limited, Mumbai was also part of the panel and talked about challenges in inheriting businesses as a woman.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: May 02 2024 | 8:02 PM IST

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