Small Enterprise Observatory for gender-based entrepreneurship resource policy for Kerala

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on March 06, 2020

A simple and pragmatic ‘Entrepreneurship Resource Policy’ is crucial for women entrepreneurship promotion in Kerala, says a research report brought out by the ISED Small Enterprise Observatory(ISED-SEO), at the Institute of Small Enterprises and Development, jointly with the Nottingham University, UK.

The global ‘Industry 4.0.’ paradigm, on the one hand, and the growth of the ‘gig economy’, on the other, have important implications for Kerala’s women from two key angles, says the report.

Kerala’s IT-friendliness can be a reasonable ground for greater engagement of women in the ‘gig economy’. But, at the same time, the State’s women entrepreneurship development model and initiatives, heavily based on social capital, is likely to be challenged seriously, unless entrepreneurship resources are scientifically managed on the basis of concrete public policy support.

Since the formal introduction of ‘Gender Budgeting’ by the Union Government in 2005-06, methodologies of gender-based expenditure classification have been put in place by the Centre and the States. But, in practice, programmes are often duplicative, and far less relevant for sustainable enterprise and entrepreneurship development.

Kerala has significant relative advantages for initiating an entrepreneurship resource policy, and to restructure its programmes accordingly. Unlike in other States, Kerala has a mixed group of women entrepreneurs of diverse economic backgrounds, which offers an ideal ground for the development of the private sector. This is a subject that has to be dealt with by entrepreneurship development professionals.

‘Gender and Enterprise’

While at the national level, gender issues remains confined to gender budgeting, Kerala’s historical focus on social mobilisation and social capital offer good lessons; yet, it cannot remain complacent. It is now time to bring sustainability to the centre-stage. It requires the development of ‘Gender and Enterprise’ as a distinct constituency.

Promotional agencies need to critically review their programmes and outcomes. While development banks, largely based on their mandates, conform to arbitrary lending criteria such as rural-urban, traditional-modern, or trade-manufacture, it is time to think beyond to evolve a sustainable strategy based on development of skills and entrepreneurship of a critical minimum scale.

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Published on March 06, 2020
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