Limited access to capital, lack of mentors are key challenges for women entrepreneurs

08th March 2022
Limited access to capital, lack of mentors are key challenges for women entrepreneurs

International Women's Day Special
New Delhi, March 8,  2022:  Sheatwork, a one-stop knowledge hub for women entrepreneurs,  has unveiled a report on ‘State of Women Tech Entrepreneurship in India’ in partnership with leading technology analytics firm, Techarc.
The report highlights that while the number of female students in leading engineering institutes like the IITs has increased from a mere 5% about four years back to 16% now, this is not really translating into more women starting up companies. In fact, going by current trends, India should have more than 200 unicorns (startups with at least $1 billion valuation) by 2025, many of them going public, but this growth story will be primarily led by men.

Interestingly, the report, based on a survey of 2,000 women across India including women professionals, students, start-up founders and business leaders, highlights that almost 48% of women in non-metros are eager to take up tech entrepreneurship as a career option vis-à-vis 23% in metros who’d like to pursue their own ventures. Women in metros often prefer opting for corporate jobs as a convenient career choice. The report aims to bring to light the challenges and opportunities India presents a woman entrepreneur in technology as the nation becomes home to the world’s third largest start-up ecosystem.
Highlights of the Report:
There are five major barriers for women to take up entrepreneurship:
 Access to capital: 58% of the respondents highlighted the difficulty of raising fund and gaining access to capital in comparison to their male counterparts. Amongst women in metros, 38% of the respondents felt that access to capital in metros is one of the major barriers towards taking up entrepreneurship.
Lack of infrastructure: 73% of women in non-metros feel that non-availability of adequate infrastructure deters their move in taking up entrepreneurship. While 22% of women in metros feel that physical infrastructure is a problem for them.
Lack of mentorship: 67% of women in non-metros adjourn lack of mentorship as another crucial factor in taking up entrepreneurship. 34% of women in metros also feel that mentorship is important and without a guiding light, it becomes difficult for them to shine.
Lack of Talent: Although women from non-metros are inclined towards starting off on their own, finding the right skill set in smaller cities hinders their progress. 48% of non-metro respondents have attributed lack of skilled and talented team often stops them to pursue entrepreneurship in comparison to women from metros where 18% feel that finding the right talent isn’t a hindrance.
Access to Technology: Despite an increasingly educated population, limited access to relevant business and technical resources is a major impediment in scaling the venture, with 74% of respondents from non-metros attributing lack of technology as the primary challenge. 24% of women in metros also opine that technology access is imperative for women entrepreneurs which can make or break their venture.
Says Ruby Sinha, Founder, Sheatwork:“Women shouldn’t merely be consumers of tech but be creators of tech driven products/platforms. It is for all stakeholders including venture investors, mentors and society at large to ensure that the startup ecosystem especially in the technology space is rich with diversity – not just of ideas but even more women turning entrepreneurs to ensure all round growth of the startup ecosystem.”
Adds Faisal Kawoosa, Chief Analyst & Founder, Techarc:“It is the first time that India has more women than men on record as per the recent data released by the National Family and Health Survey. With this, the need for diversity at workplaces and in industries have become more important. In times to come, we’ll see that the tech sector will welcome women in leading roles where they stand as an icon of power and creativity at the same time.”