Financial literacy builds confidence in women entrepreneurs, says Shamina Singh
Opportunities for women entrepreneurs have been growing globally. Women from different walks of life are seen experimenting with various business models and are carving a place for themselves with their entrepreneurial skills. In India too, the number of women entrepreneurs is growing, but it is very small when compared to the opportunities the market has to offer. Recently, Mastercard, a leading technology company in the global payments industry, released the second edition of the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE). Shamina Singh, president, Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth, speaks to Jui Dharwadkar about the findings of this index.
What has prompted Mastercard to survey the index of women entrepreneurs?
The survey aims at understanding the changing market trends and where women stand as entrepreneurs. Currently, globally and even in India, there are a lot of opportunities for women entrepreneurs which will continue to grow. Women also face certain unique challenges while starting a business such as that of getting loans from banks. The survey was carried out to understand all these facets. The index focuses on female entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalise on opportunities granted through various supporting conditions within their local environments.
Where does India stand in Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE)?
India ranks 52nd among the 57 countries studied. The index is not really about the ranks, but focuses more on understanding the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. The results suggest that the underlying conditions for women business ownership/entrepreneurship in India are less favourable as compared to countries with a high index score. According to the report, Indian women business owners, leaders and professionals exhibit less inclination towards business ownership owing to cultural bias. They are also less likely to grow their business, whether locally or overseas, and are more prone than other regions to discontinue their businesses due to unprofitability or lack of finance.
How good is the market scenario for women in India for starting their own businesses?
The opportunities for women entrepreneurs in India are plenty. The tourism sector in India is growing very fast and women can consider exploring it. Also, financial literacy needs to grow. This will help build confidence in women. To help women entrepreneurs further, Mastercard will undertake a comprehensive research to understand the breakdown of digital payments within the supply chain. The research will help the company understand why and what are the perceived roadblocks that need to be overcome to digitise an entire supply chain.
What are the initiatives of Mastercard in strengthening women entrepreneurs?
Mastercard is committed to bringing 500 million people globally into the financial mainstream by 2020 and connecting 40 million micro and small merchants to its electronic payments network by 2021. The Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth works closely with the business to advance equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. We will also scale up partnership with Mann Deshi, an NGO dedicated to the economic empowerment of rural women. Under this partnership, Mastercard will support 10,000 women business owners to connect with new customers and suppliers. Apart from this, through Industree Foundation, an NGO with a mission to foster an ownership-based and organised creative manufacturing ecosystem for micro-entrepreneurs, we will connect over 20,000 women producers to domestic and international markets in the next year.
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