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Women entrepreneurs have fewer opportunities to get funding: Smriti Irani, Minister for Women and Child Development

Mar 09, 2022

 eCommerce platforms offer significant growth prospects for small businesses

NEW DELHI, 09 March 2022: Ms Smriti Irani, Union Minister for Women & Child Development, Government of India today said that female founders of a company get 35 per cent fewer opportunities to get funding than male cofounders.   

Addressing the virtual session 'Women & Digital Economy: Atmanirbhar Nari, Atmanirbhar Bharat, organised by FICCI Young Leaders Forum, jointly with Amazon India, Ms Irani stated that out of the four and a half lakh jobs that have prospered in the country only on the basis of information technology, 50 per cent are women.   

The event aimed to increase the awareness around equitable access to e-commerce for women entrepreneurs and barriers that hamper their participation in national and global trade.   

Speaking in a conversation with Mr Neeraj Singh, Chair, FICCI Young Leaders Forum, Uttar Pradesh, on the opportunities as a result of the amalgamation of technology and marketplaces, Ms Irani said that COVID-19 had taught us that technology has been well received and is productively engaged with on a day-to-day basis in the rural landscape. "The fact that today technology can be leveraged to give small businesses a voice is also something that we can take solace in," she added and alluded to the need to sensitise people, especially those in the area of crafts, handmade products to present their wares in a way that attracts more and more consumers.  

Ms Irani further stated that nearly 55 per cent or about 23 crore - out of 44 crore bank accounts - were women-owned. She said that India recorded transactions worth Rs 21 lakh crores into the citizens' bank accounts through the DBT scheme. "Imagine the purchasing power that you have enhanced in the country by just this one transfer," she said. 

Manish Tiwary, Country Manager, India Consumer Business, Amazon India, said, "This year's International Women's Day theme 'break the bias' asks us all to take action and create a level playing field for women. It is inspiring to see how women entrepreneurs across India are leveraging digitisation, and e-commerce, in particular, to create products customers love and build scalable businesses that have a meaningful impact on society. We are honoured to be a catalyst in their journey and constantly strive to help them leverage e-commerce to create and accelerate their businesses online and transform their livelihoods."  

Mr Navneet Sehgal, Additional Chief Secretary, I&PR, MSME Department and Khaadi Gram Udyog, Government of Uttar Pradesh, stated that ensuring a sense of security and comfort for women to go out and work anytime is a priority for the government. He highlighted other steps that the government of Uttar Pradesh has taken to strengthen women's entrepreneurship. These included handing over mid-day meals to women SHGs; 58,000 women working as banking correspondent Sakhi, and handover of ration shops to women SHGs in villages. Mr Sehgal also stated that the women entrepreneurs under the UP's ODOP programme had been connected to online eCommerce platforms like Amazon, eBay and Flipkart. "In last one year, they have sold goods worth Rs 1,000 crores online," he added.   

Mr Shashwat Goenka, Chair, FICCI Young Leaders Forum & Sector Head - Retail & FMCG, RP - Sanjiv Goenka Group, delivered the welcome address.  

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