Women–owned MSMEs constitute 20.5 per cent of the total registered MSMEs in India, but their contribution to employment (18.73 per cent) and investment (11.15 per cent) is slightly lower, indicating potential room for growth and increased impact. Similarly, their contribution to the total turnover of Udyam-registered MSMEs stands at 10.22 per cent, suggesting potential for further economic contribution.

The data raises critical questions from a gender perspective indicating barriers or challenges that hinder women entrepreneurs’ full economic participation. This suggests that women-owned MSMEs may face constraints such as limited access to finance, markets, networks, and skills development opportunities compared to their male counterparts.

The data presented to the Rajya Sabha based on Udyam Registration Portal (URP) of the Ministry of MSME, since the inception of the portal on July 1, 2020, reveals that Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka are the top States when it comes to the highest number of women-owned MSMEs. 

Maharashtra, TN lead

The data highlights the concentration of women-owned MSMEs in certain States, with Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat accounting for 50 per cent of the total 46,67,278 women-owned MSMEs in India. Despite Maharashtra having the highest percentage of women-owned MSMEs at 18 per cent, Tamil Nadu stands out for its higher contribution to employment, providing 15 per cent of the total employment generated by women-owned MSMEs in India compared to Maharashtra’s 12 per cent.

This indicates a potentially higher level of productivity or job creation efficiency in Tamil Nadu’s women-owned MSMEs compared to those in Maharashtra. This could be due to various factors such as sectoral composition, business practices, or supportive policies in Tamil Nadu that facilitate higher employment generation per unit of MSME.

Informal Micro Enterprises

On the Udyam Assist Platform (UAP), which registers Informal Micro Enterprises (IMEs), women-owned IMEs play an even more prominent role. Since the inception of the UAP on January 11, 2023, they constitute 70.49 per cent of the total number of IMEs registered. Furthermore, their contribution to employment is also significant, at 70.84 per cent. This data highlights the substantial presence of women-owned IMEs in the informal sector, indicating their crucial role in generating employment and economic activity.

The data underscores the importance of supporting and empowering women entrepreneurs in the MSME sector. Despite their significant presence, there is potential for further growth and impact, particularly in terms of employment generation and economic contribution. Policymakers and stakeholders could focus on targeted initiatives to further enhance the participation and impact of women-owned MSMEs and IMEs in the economy.