Eminent Panelists Discusses Challenges for Women Entrepreneurs and Ways to Leverage Digital Tools to Create Success Stories
PATNA || State of entrepreneurship is intrinsically linked to the state of women in a state/city and it is important to create an inclusive ecosystem for women entrepreneurs, according to speakers in the inaugural session of sheatwork.com Aatma Nirbhar She Entrepreneurship Dialogues.
The online discussion with its focus on unlocking the potential of women entrepreneurship in Bihar is the first in a series of webinars aimed at highlighting the state of women entrepreneurship across various Indian states, organized by Sheatwork.com, a one-stop knowledge hub for women entrepreneurs.
Speakers included Usha Jha, President- Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh and Founder- Petals Craft; Sanjeeva Shivesh, Founder & CEO, The Entrepreneurship School; Himani Mishra, Co-Founder & CEO, Brand Radiator; Soniya Sanjay Sinha, Vice Chairman, Frontline Business Solutions and Vice President- BJP Purvanchal Morcha and Ruby Sinha, Founder, sheatwork.com.
The panel agreed that many more businesses have embraced digital tools in the wake of COVID-19 and women need to understand and accept that such digital marketplaces can support their ventures. According to the panelists, there is need for women to be made aware of product listings, social media presence, GST requirements, aggregators, among other things to be successful businesswomen.
The panel opined that the overall state of entrepreneurship in Bihar remains challenging and the biggest problem in taking advantage of government policies is that women at the ground level are not aware of the policies that exist. Changing the mindset to a pro-business mode is the need of the hour and adopting local resources to go global can be the mantra for success.
Addressing the webinar, Ruby Sinha, Founder, sheatwork.com said, “Most of us are not aware of the various government policies/incentives for women entrepreneurs implemented by the central and state governments. In fact, according to industry reports, majority of women entrepreneur establishments in Bihar are self-financed.
Only 5% received financial assistance from the government, while just 1% have borrowed from formal financial institutions. This inspite of the government announcing a Rs 500 crore Bihar Startup policy in 2017 and trying to completely digitise the process through the startup.gov.in website. Through a series of webinars, beginning with this edition, we are trying to highlight the state of women entrepreneurship across various Indian states and bridge the information gap.”
Usha Jha, President – Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh, Founder – Petals Craft added, “Due to lack of exposure and communication skills, women entrepreneurs of Bihar have been unable to present themselves on a national and international stage. There is no dearth of skilled women here, but we are yet to tap their skills fully to empower them and develop a large section of society socially and economically.
Women are half the population but their contribution to business as entrepreneurs has not yet received its due credit. I hope platforms like sheatwork’s AatmaNirbharShe can help address the gap in the system.”
Soniya Sanjay Sinha, Vice Chairman – Frontline Business Solutions, Vice President – BJP Purvanchal Morcha said, “Major challenges that women entrepreneurs face in the state include family pressures, upbringing, society, and gender and socio-economic stereotypes. As soon as people hear that you are a woman from Bihar, you find two speed breakers in your path. You have to prove to naysayers that you are an empowered and a capable woman entrepreneur, even though you may be from Bihar. A strong-headed woman can beat all odds of the society if given the right amount of push and encouragement.”
Sanjeeva Shivesh, Founder and CEO, The Entrepreneurship School added, “Bihar is the land where the seeds of Republic was sown. Now it is time that we sow seeds of entrepreneurialism here. It is a big state full of talented people but continues to lag all other states in most economic indicators".
Himani Mishra, Co-Founder and CEO, Brand Radiator added, “When a woman determines to start her own venture, the challenges she faces are more on credibility of commitment and societal structure than real business problems. It is important for the State Government to formulate a woman-friendly business ecosystem. Some of these include relaxation in strict eligibility criteria, turnover capping and mapping the appropriate skill among women population based on their expertise."
The forthcoming editions of AatmaNirbharShe Entrepreneurship Dialogues across various Indian states will be focused on starting up your business, leveraging various government schemes and understanding finer details of entrepreneurship.