Economy

India’s women entrepreneurs see survival by remodeling business

Bloomberg October 16 | Updated on October 16, 2020 Published on October 16, 2020

‘A few characteristics of women-owned enterprises in India, such as being service-oriented, smaller and less capital-intensive, enabled faster adaptation’

Most female entrepreneurs in Indian cities were quick to change their business model and predict their operations will survive after the coronavirus pandemic ravaged revenues, according to a new study.

Bain & Co, Google, and AWE Foundation surveyed almost 350 women entrepreneurs and small businesses and found that 54 per cent had already made business shifts — including new products or services — and another 24 per cent planned to change by December. About 90 per cent said they believe they will survive the crisis.

Covid-19 had a disproportionate impact on women all over the world. In India, which has a vast gender gap across almost all social indicators, women are even more vulnerable. The South Asian nation has as many as 16 million women-owned businesses, fewer than 20 per cent of all enterprises, with most of them largely single-person operations, making survival crucial.

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Women-owned businesses saw a sharp decline in revenue: 73 per cent reported being negatively impacted by the pandemic, and almost 20 per cent were nearly wiped out, according to the survey.

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“Post the initial few months, there has been rapid responsiveness,” said Megha Chawla, a partner at Bain and the study’s lead author. “A few characteristics of women-owned enterprises in India, such as being service-oriented, smaller and less capital-intensive, enabled faster adaptation.”

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Published on October 16, 2020
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