Even though the Captial improved in indicators over the past two years, it still indicates difficulties for women in Delhi to conduct businesses.
Delhi has become a better place for women entrepreneurs and, yet, there have been challenges aplenty. We speak to female entrepreneurs on the challenges they face.
It is fair to say that Indian society has come a long way as women who were expected to fulfil household and maternal tasks can now, at least relatively, be who they want to be.
Recently, in what is known to be a historical budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that women entrepreneurs of every self-help group would be sanctioned loans upto `1 Lakh under the MUDRA scheme. Furthermore, to encourage women entrepreneurship, Women Self-help Groups (SHGs) interest subvention programme to be expanded to all the districts in India.
Dell Technologies has announced the findings of its Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index. Out of 50 cities, Delhi has been ranked 50th. Even though the Captial improved in indicators over the past two years, it still indicates difficulties for women in Delhi to conduct businesses.
Neha Rastogi, co-founder and COO, Agatsa, feels that running a startup in the Delhi-NCR region is a mix of both personal and professional challenges. Delhi has always been a hub of traditional businesses. “However, unlike cities such as Bengaluru or Hyderabad, women in Delhi have mostly taken over family businesses, due to which there was a lack of capital in Delhi for startups too,” she says. She then adds, “Apart from this, the city has a reputation of being unsafe for women, making it tougher to run a company or build a team. Certain families may also be a little unsupportive towards women to start a business.”
But despite challenges, she was upbeat about the changes in the capital with respect to the status quo. She added, “Not only are there many women-led startups coming up but families have also become more accepting and supportive. Investors are showing more interest in such startups. Given this and the fact that there is a great pool of talent available in the city equivalent to that in Bangaluru/Mumbai, etc., entrepreneurs can form brilliant teams.”
But irrespective of the improvements in the startup scene in the capital, she says, “I feel Delhi has a long way to go in terms of access to capital and for women to feel safer to live their dreams and start a business.
Parineeta Sethi, another entrepreneur, opines that these aren’t challenges that exist only in Delhi, but also exist in other cities. “Having said that, there are really no challenges that one can't handle and are really the same for a male or female. It is just an individual's perception and approach towards the work. Over the years, I have understood the industry and have bonded well with everyone.”
Celebrity makeover expert Aashmeen Munjaal, who is doing business from the last 23 years in Delhi, on the other hand, says, “I think Delhi has been a very conducive environment for the women entrepreneur. No matter I started my work from a small scale, a one-room business turned into a big space. I took it forward in commercial markets and malls, I have worked in a big market, it has been a great experience.
I would say the Delhi people are receptive, they are open to new ideas and products.
People are open to evolving themselves into newness. Delhi is a cosmopolitan city, a good place to do business.
Tanya Khanna, Founding Director, Epistle Communications, believes that Delhi is one of those cities that is abundant with opportunities and, in a dynamic industry like communications, there is no dearth of people who are looking to do business with us. “Speaking of challenges, one of these is logistics and getting things done. But in all, these have only helped me learn and move forward”, she says.