Women in the Startup World: Challenges and Opportunities

Devanshi Tripathi

By Devanshi Tripathi, Founder & CEO, TripGo Hospitality: Women have come a long way in the start-up ecosystem of India.

The last few years have proven to be great years for women and women-led startups are growing like never before.

The credit for this exponential growth should certainly be attributed to the women and it is heartening to the Government taking initiatives to support women entrepreneurs.

Recently, it was mentioned in the report of  National Survey Organization that women made up just 10% of all entrepreneurs in the country two years ago, but today that percentage is 14%. In India, that translates to 14% of business organizations being led by women.

Having said that, only 8.05 million out of a total of 58.5 million entrepreneurs are women, indicating that establishing a business is particularly challenging for  women, who often face unique challenges and barriers in entrepreneurship.

A lack of female leaders in our industries can have a negative impact on women’s representation in these fields.

To address this issue, understanding the intricacies of the challenges faced by womenpreneurs is essential.

Firstly, women often have more difficulty obtaining financing than men, particularly in the early stages of a business.

Networking is also an issue; many women feel that they have fewer connections in the business world, which can make it harder to find partners, customers, and investors.

The work-life balance is also difficult to maintain, since starting a business can be a demanding and time-consuming process, which can be especially challenging for women who are also trying to balance family and other responsibilities.

Women may also face stereotypes and biases that can make it harder for them to be taken seriously as entrepreneurs or to attract investment.

Another issue among many is the lack of mentorship and role models. The startup ecosystem can be a male-dominated field, and it can be difficult for women to find mentors and role models who can provide guidance and support.

This lack of mentorship can make it harder for women to succeed in the startup world, as they may not have the same level of access to valuable resources and connections as their male counterparts.

To take an example from the hospitality sector, since it’s predominantly male, women entrepreneurs  get asked who the “man” in the business is while scouting for properties or who would be the point of contact to the police and take care of legal things in the restaurant business.

Women are generally not considered the owners and are asked who the final decision-maker is or who would be running the business.

The journey as a female entrepreneur in the male-dominated F&B sector is not easy. Only a few women are able to propel their businesses to new heights after having overcome several obstacles and hardships.

The challenges are numerous and impossible to weed out since they are deeply rooted in our system. However, despite the difficulties, women are becoming more self-enabled owing to a number of resources and organizations that can help them overcome the numerous challenges and succeed as entrepreneurs.

Some of these include accelerators, government schemes, and incentives specifically designed for women-led startups, networking events; and online communities and resources.

In conclusion, while women face a number of challenges when starting businesses, there are also many opportunities for them to succeed and make a positive impact in the startup world.

Instead of relying on male entrepreneurs or external factors to support them in their endeavors,  more women entrepreneurs must really pick up on these opportunities by themselves and support each other. For this reason, building a connection with other female entrepreneurs is a very important component of building a sustainable and diverse startup ecosystem.

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