Scaling up of women led enterprises in North East

In my career span of  34 years, I have worked with and  for  entrepreneurs for more than 25 years and have witnessed the change in outlook towards entrepreneurship amongst various stakeholders. Women have come up in large numbers to start their own business and although there is a long way to go, India has witnessed a phenomenal growth in women entrepreneurship in recent times. It is interesting to note that compared to the rest of India, the percentage of registered women led MSMEs in North East is  higher and more and more women are looking for business opportunities. It is seen that  majority of the women led micro enterprises often work at lower margin markets and hence more prone to  instability.

While the numbers are encouraging, I have often wondered why a very small percentage of women have been able to scale up. This is indeed a matter of concern and I have realised  apart from known challenges like work life balance and lack of funding,there are certain other challenges mostly associated with women entrepreneurs-.  .Sharing some two such observations

  • There is often self doubt more commonly prevalent with women entrepreneurs and this eventually leads to not owning accomplishments and  not recognising the value of their ideas and creativity. Confidence is critical, whether in a board room full of men or by yourself in your workplace.
  • Because of the conditioning and multiple roles that women have to perform, I have come across a lot of women entrepreneurs who seem to be happy with the fact that they are atleast doing some business. This eventually leads to aspiration deficit  and they often stop  dreaming  big.

Entrepreneurship is also about daring to dream big and being passionate .Passion helps in going through challenges. It is important to understand that superheroes are normal people with super normal will power. Building business is like boxing—unless you don’t get punched enough, you will not become a champion.

Some inherent strengths like the following are associated with women and it is important that women realise these inherent strengths and capitalise on the strengths.

  • Ingrained resourcefulness, be it at home or at office
  • Unmatched organisational skills
  • Strong work ethic and diligence

Some suggestions for  women entrepreneurs

  • One  needs to come out their comfort zone
  • Dream big and let nothing stop you. What is needed is heavy dose of paranoia and curiosity
  • Acknowledging that failure is a part of the process important. In fact one should celebrate failure, identify role models and mentors. Getting over the fear of making mistakes is the most liberating process .It allows you to think of failures as learning opportunities and actually be happy that they happened.
  • Always draw inspiration in women who have outdone in their respective fields and the trials they have gone through to be Indira Nooyi , Falguni Nayar, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw ,Kalpana Chawla or P V Sindhu

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