4 in 5 Indian women want to start their own business, according to a research conducted by Facebook (YourGov Research). If half of these women actualised their dream, it would positively affect the economy in a huge way by creating more jobs through new businesses. The reality is that out of 800 startups, just 72 have been started by women. But, with Facebook’s initiative, SheLeadsTech, a wave of change is under way for women entrepreneurs.
An all-women panel will mentor and support
With an online application, women founders can gain access to FBStartup that will give out technical support and necessary training. Since SheLeadsTech works as a mentorship arrangement, women will receive priceless pieces of advice from successful women in business like Yourstory’s Shradha Sharma, Babychakra’s Naiyya Saggi, Indi.com’s Shikha Uberoi and many others.
But in spite of this, women face a lot of obstacles when starting their own business. Namrata Kohli, Manager of Strategic Product Partnerships at Facebook said, “The barriers in India are substantial. There are, of course, cultural barriers, and we need to challenge our own beliefs. Men and women both believe women don’t have the confidence to succeed in a business. There’s a lack of investor confidence along with gender bias. We see that women are asked a lot more personal questions when they try to raise funding.”
Starting a family and other challenges
I was often asked by VCs whether I plan to have a baby, and when,” said Naiyya Saggi, while Shikha Uberoi said, “I’ve had a higher proportion of no’s than yes. I think if you have a mental framework where you expect to fail, you tend to pick up yourself.” But women must overcome these by being given good opportunities. Namrata Kohli said, “Women are far more passionate than men in everything, and we have to harness that. If we were to convert even half of those intentions into ambition and execution, by 2021, there will be 15.6 million new businesses, and 64 million newer job opportunities created for women.”
SheLeadsTeach is a necessity for woman entrepreneurs
With a great network of accomplished business women, startup founders have everything they need to get in the industry. But women need to be aware of things like delegation and avoidance of micro-management when their business peaks. Chandni Jafri, CEO of Mumbai Angels said, “Don’t take rejection personally. Men know that they mustn’t, but women tend to get bogged down.” Regarding mentorship, women founders must take in everything they can from that relationship and more importantly, find the right mentor.
SheLeadsTech has hosted many events for women all over the country and surely this will give potential and existing women entrepreneurs the confidence to just dig in.