“The percentage of the women entrepreneurs who have completed the lifecycle of entrepreneurship (in India) is a small fraction,” opined Padmaja Ruparel, president of the Indian Angel Network (IAN). She added that Meena Ganesh was one of the rare entrepreneurs she could think of who’ve gone through the entire cycle.
Although women entrepreneurs are trickling into the startup ecosystem of India in slightly larger numbers, this in Padmaja’s view, is an important factor that needs to change.
“These women have to go through a complete lifecycle of entrepreneurship: starting a venture, raising money, exiting it, giving in to healthy returns,” she said. Until this changes, the ratio of investments in female- and male-led ventures won’t change, and this topic will continue to dominate any discussion on women entrepreneurs,” she said.
She is not wrong. A study by Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) has ranked India 52nd out of 57 countries judged on the basis of parity for women entrepreneurs. According to the Sixth Economic Census by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) only 14% businesses in India are run by women domiciled in the country. There are a total of 58.5 Mn businesses in India, but only 8.05 Mn are managed by women entrepreneurs.
Padmaja was speaking at the 2018 Annual Startup Conclave by Yes Bank on the topic of ‘Navigating the VC Landscape’ and the session was moderated by Vaibhav Agarwal, founder and CEO of Inc42.
The VC landscape is a tough terrain for women entrepreneurs to navigate, one that desperately needs smoothing, and women could do with all the help they can get in this regard.
The panel discussion attempted at gaining a better understanding of why there is there a dearth of women investors, how they can create scalable businesses, and also how they can bring consumer businesses under the lens of investors and try to leverage technology at the same time.
The panelists included Ritu Marya, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Media (India) and former editor-in-chief of Franchise India, Manu Shukla, a project officer in the IT department of the Government of Rajasthan, Dolly Bhasin, director of Incuspaze Coworking, and Nidhi Agarwal, EIR of YourNest Venture Capital.
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