Rise of Women Entrepreneurs in Rural India
Women entrepreneurs in rural India are evolving as a reckoning force for socio-economic and cultural growth. Micro-business units have now started functioning in nooks and corners of every village and are helping women sustain themselves and their families. In India, almost 25% of women MSME’s are owned by women entrepreneurs who account to 20% of the total workforce.
The financial stability that a business offers them is enough to secure a livelihood and build on to their lives. They can now afford better education for their children, and create job opportunities for community members.
Read on as we bring exceptional stories of women entrepreneurs in rural India.
Rural Woman Entrepreneurs in India
The Lijjat Papad- a popular Indian snack, has become a household name and everyone has their yummy papad’s adorning our snack and dinner tables. But did you know that the brand was the brainchild of seven Gujarati women headed by Jaswanti and was funded by an organization named the “Shri Mahila Griha Udyog.” With an annual turnover of over 800 million, this is an inspiring example of how a small-scale rural business has scaled up to provide employment and sustainability to over 48,000 people and has an office in Mumbai too.
A mother of two, she was barely making it through the day with the income from paddy cultivations. But her courage and determination saw the formation of a micro-industry that makes utensils out of areca nuts. She took a loan facilitated by a self-help group and started her own manufacturing unit. Her story is a perfect example of grit and determination. The unit has a significant turnover, and has been a great source of income, support, and sustainability for North-East women.
From selling custard apple (a native Indian fruit) at 0.026 cents to earning $1500 per month, Babli is another example of a woman having gained livelihood through micro-business and the cottage industry. Funded by the National Rural Livelihoods Mission, which is an initiative of the Ministry of Rural Development, she secured a loan of Rs 5 lacs and started a pulp extraction unit. Today, they employ more than 150 women and supply custard apple pulp to companies and earn a fifty percent profit. They also have collection centers from where they buy custard apples for 0.050 cents per pound from farmers directly thus sustaining their livelihood in the process.
Navalben, 62 years old, is a a rural entrepreneur who was able to ride the COVID 19 tide smoothly due to her business skills. In the year 2020, she sold milk worth hundred and fifty thousand dollars and made a whooping profit of 40-50%. She has a small dairy setup at her home which was possible due to a loan funded by the Amul co-operative society. She also employs fifteen women in her dairy and runs a sustainable business that has withstood many adversities. She has also been recognized as a millionaire entrepreneur by the CEO of Amul Co-Operative Society, proving that age is just a number.
Why are rural woman entrepreneurs thriving in the 21st century?
- Higher returns– The Government of India and private enterprises have made the loan process for woman entrepreneurs easy and inexpensive. The interest rates are low and the process is smooth. Many corporate companies also provide interest free loans as a part of their CSR initiatives. This eases up the set-up process and leads to a quicker return on investment.
- Ability to multi-task– Rural women are adept at multitasking. They prove to be a valuable asset to a start-up and are able to work and generate revenue quickly. Their needs to secure a good future for their kids and financial freedom also act as a big motivation to excel at work.
- Taking risks- A survey by KPMG has shared their findings and it states that women have a higher appetite for taking risks than their male counterparts. Their vision for development is well-rounded and takes into account a lot more than just the financial aspect of a business.
In a country like India, empowerment of women has always been in the backseat. A woman owning a bank account was thought to be a benchmark and financial freedom was more of a taboo than a boon. But as of 2022, we have almost sixteen million enterprises that are solely owned and run by women.
This is a huge transformation and talks clearly about the empowerment of women in rural India. It talks of their courage, endurance, and entrepreneurial skill.
The shift in women dominating the workforce is coming to the forefront and would definitely go on to enhance the future of the country with a new dimension to entrepreneurship.
At Venerate, we’ve created a custom loan origination system for banks, which makes the process of loan disbursement a seamless one. The system standardises workflow right from the application, credit check, soft copy approval, background verification, and UW/CC approvals.
This International Women’s Day, we are proud that as more women begin their entrepreneurial journeys, they are able to access quick loan disbursals powered by Venerate.