From Small Business to Success: How E-Commerce is Helping Women Entrepreneurs Thrive
From Small Business to Success: How E-Commerce is Helping Women Entrepreneurs Thrive

This is rightly said to be India’s coming decade of outperformance. Besides its technology and budding manufacturing prowess, India is at a demographic advantage. Its workforce will soon surpass one billion people, making it the largest working-age population in the world. This advantage, coupled with rising education levels, holds enormous potential for India's economic and social progress and India must adopt an unconventional approach that goes beyond relying on job creation by public and private sectors. Embracing entrepreneurship as a possible option for women is an underutilized opportunity that can have a multiplier effect on economic and social outcomes. 

Empowering women, unlocking future

Despite significant advancements in education, it is undeniable that women still encounter formidable structural, social, and economic obstacles in accessing employment, engaging in the workforce, and pursuing entrepreneurship. Industry estimates tell the same story— the number of women-owned enterprises in India ranges between 13.5–15.7 million, representing 20 percent of all enterprises. There is little doubt that providing a level playing field for women entrepreneurs can be a game changer for individuals, societies, and economies alike. 
For starters, entrepreneurship presents a transformative opportunity for women to take on a central rather than peripheral role in the economy.

Women entrepreneurs are more inclined to hire other women and are less susceptible to gender-based stereotypes. In fact, promoting women's entrepreneurship can lead to positive outcomes, due to their community-focused outlook on running businesses. Additionally, women's entrepreneurship enables more women to attain greater financial independence, autonomy, and control and can lead to higher rates of women staying in the workforce. The key to unlocking India's development trajectory lies in ironing out any roadblocks in realizing the potential of the largely unaddressed women entrepreneurs.

Leapfrogging to success with technology

As we course correct, a closer look reveals the need for a multifaceted push to improve women’s involvement in starting businesses. Besides focussed interventions on skill development, driving financial awareness and funding, access to role models and mentors, and providing the right infrastructure to run scalable businesses can support growth. The adoption of technology, particularly online selling, has created a realm of possibilities for women entrepreneurs, enabling them to initiate and expand their businesses in unprecedented ways. It has also provided an expansive online customer base, especially for those women entrepreneurs with limited mobility.

E-commerce has helped women entrepreneurs navigate cultural and social challenges, keeping them from giving up on their ambitions. E-commerce offers substantial advantages in terms of flexibility, especially for women who bear caregiving responsibilities or reside in areas with scarce job prospects. By leveraging e-commerce, women can launch and operate a thriving enterprise from the comfort of their homes. This allows them to work from any location, granting them greater autonomy over their work schedules and facilitating a better work-life balance.

Furthermore, by maintaining an online presence, women-led businesses can operate round the clock, even when owners are unavailable physically. This, in turn, empowers women to commence and conduct business operations on their own terms, utilizing the internet to attain financial independence and self-sufficiency. Finally, with the online marketplace, women can sell their products to customers all over the country, without having to worry about ancillary needs like building distribution networks, managing logistics, and receiving payments. 

A new dawn is upon us

As e-commerce continues to break down barriers and empower women in the world of business, more and more such businesses are emerging from every nook and corner of the country.  

Today, women entrepreneurs are pioneering new markets and more gender-responsive innovations. A case in point is Himalayan Origins, a company based in Dehradun that offers a range of skincare and hair care products. Co-founders Soumya and Neha Parmar started this business to provide consumers with products that support sustainable living. Today, a loyal customer base purchases their products- from the home state Uttarakhand, all the way to Andaman and Nicobar. 

These journeys illustrate how e-commerce has leveled the playing field for women entrepreneurs in India, allowing them to showcase their talent, creativity, and hard work on a national stage. With technology and e-commerce, there's no limit to what women entrepreneurs can achieve, and the impact they can create.

Stay on top – Get the daily news from Indian Retailer in your inbox
Also Worth Reading