Women in entrepreneurship can generate transformational employment in India and generate 150–170 million jobs, which is more than 25 per cent of the new jobs required for the entire working-age population by 2030, a joint report by Bain & Company and Google said on Tuesday.
India has 13.5–15.7 million women-owned enterprises, representing 20 per cent of all enterprises in the country, the report titled 'Women Entrepreneurship in India – Powering the economy with her' said.
The report said a number of enterprises reported as women-owned are not in fact controlled or run by women and a combination of financial and administrative reasons lead to women being "on paper" owners with little role to play.
Accelerating quantity and quality of entrepreneurship towards benchmarks from high-performing countries and Indian states can create over 30 million women-owned enterprises, of which 40 per cent (12 million) can generate employment, the report said.
"This can generate potentially transformational employment in India, of 150–170 million jobs, which is more than 25 per cent of the new jobs required for the entire working-age population, from now until 2030," it added.
Of all women-owned enterprises, a majority are single-person enterprises with the largest group represented by rural non-farm home-based business owners at 38 per cent, followed by urban self-employed women "solo-preneurs" at 31 per cent who usually work from home.
The other dominant segments include rural "agri-preneurs" who are farm-based business owners (18 per cent) and small business owners at 14 per cent — split across urban (6 per cent) and rural (8 per cent).
In total, these women entrepreneurs provide direct employment to an estimated 22 to 27 million people currently, the report said.
In spite of India's economic progress in the last decade, women's participation in the labour force has declined and is expected to be under pressure due to labour trends, technological disruption and constraining social barriers, Megha Chawla, Partner at Bain & Company, and the lead author of the report, said.
"Unlocking entrepreneurship among women in India is a complex effort but it provides an unprecedented opportunity to change the economic and social trajectory of India and its women for generations to come," she added.
This will drive tremendous job creation and also deliver transformational social and personal outcomes for women, Chawla said.
Google India and Southeast Asia Senior Country Marketing Director Sapna Chadha said the company has been investing in skilling efforts across small and medium businesses, start-ups and overcoming digital gender gap in the country through its Internet Saathi programme.
"Across all our programmes, we have seen that women are hungry for opportunities to grow their household incomes. Hundreds of women in rural India want to learn more about doing business and many have already made the start to enhance their livelihoods," she said.
The report outlined opportunity areas to unlock women entrepreneurship in India. It suggested that level-playing field for high-impact, employment-creating entrepreneurs be provided and expanding the funnel to get more women to start enterprises.
It also recommended that steps be taken to build, strengthen and scale productive rural "agri-preneurs".
"Implementing these interventions to accelerate prospective and current women entrepreneurs will need a deep recognition of the urgency, and a multi-year coordinated scaled effort between various ecosystem participants," Sri Rajan, partner at Bain & Company, and co-author of the report, said.
These participants include national and state governments, grassroot organisations, investment and banking communities, other private enterprises, educational institutions and media.
The report said that of the about 432 million working-age women in India, about 343 million are not in paid formal work.
An estimated 324 million of these women are not in the labour force and another 19 million are in the labour force but not employed, it said.
By 2030, India's working-age population will surpass an unprecedented 1 billion, and up to 400 million women's economic potential may be left unaddressed, it added.
"India needs to take a non-traditional approach. In addition to job creation by private and government sectors, entrepreneurship is a powerful, and largely untapped, opportunity for working-age women in India," the report said.
By creating jobs, fuelling innovation and furthering investment in health and education, entrepreneurship among women could transform of India's economy and society, it said.