MUMBAI: We have heard of women breaking the glass ceiling in the corporate world, but it’s in the unlikely corners of the country that women entrepreneurs are actually giving stiff competition to their male counterparts.
Unbelievably, north-eastern states like Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya are where women-run micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will likely overtake the usual testosterone-dominated business landscape, if they get the required support.
In fact, these three states lead the pack of top five states in the country with the highest number of women enterprises. As per the latest NSSO data, Manipur tops the charts with 481 women-owned MSMEs for every 1,000 in the state, much higher than the national average of 195.
Mizoram and Meghalaya are trailing in second and fourth spots with 392 and 351 MSMEs, respectively. Telangana stands third with over 373 women-owned MSMEs for every 1,000, while West Bengal has 327.
In all, women entrepreneurs account for 20 per cent of all MSMEs in the country, lower than the global average of 30 per cent of formal small and medium enterprises (SMEs) owned and run by women. This is also lower than 40 per cent in the US as of 2016.
Also, according to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, India is ranked 49 among 54 economies globally.
The World Bank estimates that 70 per cent of formal women-owned SMEs across developing countries either lack capital or don’t have access to it. In other words, it translates to nearly $300 billion annual credit deficit for formal women-owned SMEs.
Meanwhile, India is behind the curve not just in terms of the number of women entrepreneurs, but also lags in the total number employed by MSMEs.