The three - day Global Entrepreneurship Summit will be held on November 28 to 30, 2017 in Hyderabad jointly hosted by India and United States of America under the theme ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’. This is the eighth annual summit which was the brainchild of former US President Barack Obama. It has been held in other locations such as Istanbul, Dubai and Silicon Valley.
The 8th Summit aims at providing India and Hyderabad an excellent opportunity to showcase the exceptional progress and achievements that have been made by Indian entrepreneurs in a number of areas such as information technology, media and entertainment, and health-care and life sciences. It also provides the chance to call attention to the fact that there is a need to do much more in India in order to put Indian women entrepreneurs first.
It may be mentioned that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government has placed some emphasis on women entrepreneurs. In April 2017 the Modi Administration launched a Stand-up India scheme which provides loans from Rs 10 lakh ($15,500) to Rs 1 crore to women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST). The Stand-up India programme is projected to reach up to 250,000 borrowers, however, there are no records to pin-point how many of these are women entrepreneurs.
Although the study shows that there is an increase of women business owners and operators over the past several years, entrepreneurship still remains a male bastion in India. A recent study by the National Sample Survey Organisation found that only 14 per cent of Indian business establishments are run by women. The same study disclosed that most of the women-run businesses, compromising of 79 per cent, were self-financed.
Even in the matrilineal society of Meghalaya, women entrepreneurs too are like the national figures, although most of the Non- Governmental Organizations are doing their part in promoting craftsmanship, weavers and other artisans are being encouraged to improve their skills, however, there is no focus on marketing or entrepreneurship, which has defeated the main objectives to retain the women folks in their respective villages to avoid trafficking.
Even the state government, particularly in Meghalaya, marketing of products and produces was never encouraged, as most of the essential commodities are being imported, in the past even the Ministers in power had never encouraged exporting the produces from the state, except in participating in the Trade Fairs as promotion. This lukewarm attitude is the main setback encouraging not only women entrepreneurs, but entrepreneurship as the whole.
This year, MasterCard issued its Index of Women Entrepreneurs ranking countries based on an assessment of: Women’s Advancement Outcomes; Knowledge Assets and Financial Access; and Supporting Entrepreneurial Conditions. India ranked 49th out of 54 countries. Even with such figures, the report expressed that there is significant potential to harness the untapped potential of women’s entrepreneurship in India.
However, to achieve the result the report suggested three points, namely, Educate and empower women to become entrepreneurs, secondly, Ensure adequate financial resources to support their entrepreneurial ventures and lastly, Provide mentoring to promote success in entrepreneurship.
It is time that respective state governments take a step forward to adhere to the suggestion, and not only confine themselves to training programmes. It is time to review the action and take the initiative forward while at the same time, take advantage of the Modi administration’s initiative to promote women entrepreneurs and also the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to be held in India to stake the claims in the women centric entrepreneurship for the matrilineal society of Meghalaya.