Imagine that you want to have a beautiful garden at your home. You buy the seeds, the manure, the soil, the pots and everything that you need to set up a garden at your home - but then you realise that you forgot to seek approval from your parents about it and then you are forced to withdraw the idea because your parents aren't supporting enough. Well, in case of startups - the Government is that parent whose support can turn the tables upside down, and especially when the point of debate is the benefit that is associated with lending support to women - the boost that it provides and the sense of equity and equality that's embedded among the masses. Let's see what our women have to say about the Government and it's support to entrepreneurs.
Ms. Geeta Ramakrishnan, ontological coach
Our government is very cognizant and cued in empowering women. We are a member of the government-run Maritime Taskforce formed by the DG of Shipping, India. Its objective is to facilitate and increase in women’s participation in the Maritime industry. We also partner ‘mother and child’ projects run in rural areas.
Himani Khanna, Co-Founder & Director at Continua Kids
I always believe that rather than expecting from the government I would ask myself as to what I have done for the government. The government has a strong focus on startups and gives a tax advantage, as it is healthcare is exempted from GST. The government has given priorities to Divyangjan in terms of various subsidies, facilities give me particular satisfaction to make them stand on their feet. I consider that rather than dependent on government we have to work in sync with the government to increase the awareness of the facilities provided by the government to the people who cannot grab. We are happy to be a bridge between the government and the needy.
Ms. Aarti Gill, Co-founder of OZiva
When we were planning to start our venture, the government had just launched its new initiative ‘Startup India Standup India’ to provide support and motivate the budding entrepreneurs. Under the scheme, we got a loan from the government which in a way motivated us to take the company forward. And, since then we have majorly grown with our internal accruals.
Geeta Kumana, Proprietor at Prime Health Support
Prime Health Support is still growing and hasn’t really reached that stage where we can ask for support from the government. When we do, the first thing I would like the government to do is make women CEOs get as much as men CEOs as remuneration and women CEOs pay less tax when earning the same as men because very often, married women who are either separated or divorced tend to take their children with them and hence have the responsibility of looking after the house and the children. This requires much more money than divorced/separated men need. Hence, a woman needs to have a larger take-home salary by paying less tax than a man.
Sumita Tulsiani, Co-founder & Director at TravelDilSe
We got selected as one of the incubators by IAMAI Mobile10x Haryana Government wherein we are currently getting support on mentorship and industry networking.
Annu Talreja, CEO, Founder at Oxfordcaps
The start-up community is the future of India and will be the platform through which millions of youth of this country will be successfully employed. The government has already taken great initiatives like ‘Start-up India’ to support the start-up ecosystem of the country. The government will play a crucial role in building a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and start-ups in the country that will further drive sustainable economic growth.
Dr. Patricia Connolly, CEO at SMC Squared
I received no special support, yet I know I am growing in business environments that welcomes new enterprises and entrepreneurship. This is true in the state of Texas, USA and also in Bangalore, India. I appreciate these business environments, ease of stablishing our legal entities and ability to grow in an environment that supports innovation, initiative and grit.
What would I suggest? I’d love a mentor in India that could help me with growth and scale. We have strong partners at BCIT and have great leaders on board. A mentor would be great next step, whether government or privately attained. Also, I’ve seen incubation center models that offer support and services to young business owners. These are great concepts and I’d encourage more of this thinking.
Meha Bhargava, Founder at Styl.Inc
As per the recent Economic Survey 2019-20, just 43% of the 27,084 recognised startups in India has one or more women directors.
In my opinion Govt. should focus more on promoting women entrepreneurship.
The taxation of start-ups has been handled by the Govt. with utmost care. Even though there are a lot of loan schemes provided by the government by which any woman with an idea can become an entrepreneur from small to large scale the need for Special cell to address grievances, deferment of tax on ESOPs and increase in the turnover limit for tax exemption are a few steps which will further strengthen the start-up ecosystem in general in India.
Kavya Dommeti, CEO, iB Hubs
iB Hubs is committed to inculcate the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among the youth of the country.
Realising what we set out to do is only possible when different stakeholders in the country join hands together. Several government bodies and officials have been very supportive towards the vision and we are closely working with them. iB Hubs has partnered with several state governments already to transform the country into an entrepreneurship hub and an innovation powerhouse.
Harjinder Kaur Talwar, National President at FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) and CEO at Comvision India Pvt Ltd
There’s a lot government can do to empower women in this country. Government is the biggest buyer of the goods and looking at this is era of women, looking at government’s focus to promote entrepreneurship, looking at that employment generation can’t be as high as they want, looking at that women contributes to 49% of the population, all is expected from the government and I want to highlight here that women just want opportunities, they don’t want reservations. If government provides them with opportunities, they will do exceptionally well. For eg., MSME government this year has given 3% reservation for procurement from the women entrepreneurs. If they can achieve this 3% also, it will be a big boost for women entrepreneurs. Nobody can stop a woman if she wants to become an entrepreneur, all she needs in the initial stages is probably a mentor. I am ready to mentor any woman who is willing to become an entrepreneur and then she is strong enough to mark her own journey.
Ms. Deeksha Rai Chawla, CEO at Housee Of Cleeo
While we haven’t reached the stage where we would require the government’s help as we are running a self-funded business, we have gone through some fair share of schemes that the government is providing to encourage women entrepreneurship. These not only offer loans or credit but some of them also involve conducting trainings and counselling. Some of them offer assistance to start from scratch, some upgrading and modernisation of existing projects and other expansion of business. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Scheme, Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD) Scheme, Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme are a few among such schemes introduced.
Kavea R Chavali, Anchor & Co founder at KALANECA- House of Handloom
I am in the handloom space and honestly I am expecting a better support from the government . While I do like is their Make In India campaign for the outsiders I really wished they could lend more support for the brands that are already MADE IN INDIA . Setting up business and running it still comes with too much of paper work and documentation that the ease of doing business feels like a myth.I suggest more active participation by the governments at the state level to start with and create Handloom cells because this is our national pride. Get the govt to connect with Founders like us and others to create more visibility and opportunities because right now we all are working in silos.
Dr. Sruthi Gondi, founder at Founder and Dermatologist at Science Of Skin
I received the Telangana Healthcare award 2 years in a row and that has been extremely rewarding for me. Rewards and recognition motivate you to work harder and perform better.
Vedaxari Joshi, Founder at All 'bout Communication
Honestly, ABC is a bootstrap firm and we haven’t sought any Government support financially. I do feel that the Government, in last 5 years has done a lot of policy based changes like implementing GST which have made it tougher for small businesses to survive. I would like to suggest them to be lenient with start-ups. Living in Mumbai, which is also the financial backbone of the nation, I feel the Government should take some prompt action towards fixing the city’s roads. It has been an extremely challenging task to commute in this city.
Rashmi Shetty, Co-founder at Storytellers 101 Communications
The Government does have good schemes for entrepreneurs and one must have a good legal and finance team to utilise the same. As always, more tax benefits would enable entrepreneurs especially women entrepreneurs and this can be looked into.
Malika Sadani, Founder & CEO at The Moms Co
We would love for the government to be more women-centric in their approach, helping us balance the needs of a fast-growth startup with the needs of women. For example, the government has brought forward an incredible policy around maternity leave ensuring women get the right time needed at home, even when the company is small and growing. However, the government should think through holistically about how companies that are very small and very dependent on each team member would do when a critical resource is absent for 6 months. In the absence of this 360 thinking, I've had some conversations where startup founders are finding it tough to take a call to onboard women employees because they can't afford for someone to not be around for 6 months. This is exactly the opposite of what the policy intended!
Devangi Dalal, Audiologist and Speech Therapist, Co-Founder at JOSH Foundation and first Indian to win the Humanitarian Award from American Academy of Audiology
I am a citizen of this country and I am very much aware of the pros and cons of being one. Wherever I go I try to see that I feel proud about my country. Since I am working in this area, I have managed to get an international conference to be held in India this year. I want the government to support, create and evolve in this area so that more people can be benefited in the country.
Having said that, I think we have a long way to go when it comes to the development of hearing-impaired children. The government needs to more actively involved to increase awareness about hearing-impairment and there have to be few policy changes towards these people. Government authorities can play an important role in the early detection of children with speech and hearing-impairment and they can also help by creating protocols so that every child is screened, and proper timely help is provided. Early detection makes a lot of difference in the treatment of these children. Hearing impairment and speech issues, if not detected and addressed at an early stage, can cause social withdrawal and a deep lack of self-confidence due to difficulty in communication with other people.
Charmi Sheth, Senior interior Designer at Livspace
While I personally have not needed to engage with government stakeholders for support, there are two callouts I have for the government, basis the observations I have made about women in business. The first is a need to bring more women to join the formal workforce by providing them with the opportunity to participate in the economy and set up their own businesses. It is important that such opportunities aren’t relegated to urban areas but also extended to women in Tier- 2, Tier - 3 towns and villages- enabling their participation in the formal economy. Apart from this, emphasis must also be placed on supplementing education with access to loans, grants and other tools to help provide women with the resources needed to set up their businesses and engage in entrepreneurship.
Kusum Bhandari, Director at Bhookh Haathi
We are registered under MSME and DIPP. Till now we have not sought any support from the government. Our vision to reduce tobacco consumption in India at least by 50% by 2050 aligns with government’s mission of “Swastha Bharat”, we would like government to provide more encouragement to entrepreneurs who are working towards a larger social cause in form of tax exemptions and other financial schemes so that both entrepreneurs, as well as consumers, can benefit from it. This step will encourage more and more entrepreneurs to come up with more such solutions enabling them to work towards a common mission and target other such widespread vices in the society that affect the health and well-being of people.
Kanika Trekriwal, Founder & CEO at JetSetGo Aviation
Our government’s initiatives and commitment towards economic growth in Aviation and start-up sector has been nothing but only inviting and encouraging. After all, we did receive the National Entrepreneurship Award in 2016. Central controls truly are beginning to observe the indispensable benefits of supporting entrepreneurs and thought leaders, and I believe that in a couple of years, we are definitely going to be one of the biggest economic global powers through policies that relax stringent and unnecessary government red tape while tightening economic funds towards aviation. A recent development that comes as a welcome change to the nation’s aviation sector is the Regional Connectivity Scheme by the Airports Authority of India and Start-up India to name a few.
Moushumi Pal , the founder at Woodpecker Media
The government has already taken a lot of steps in order to push for women entrepreneurship. From sustainable business models to subsidised financial help, a lot is being done.
However, there is an impertinent need to foster women entrepreneurship right at the grass-root level in the form of education programs and policies. They must be introduced to the idea of entrepreneurship right from a young age where they can think of themselves as future founders of Indian conglomerates.
Regila Marinus, Cofounder at Vidhya Vidhai Foundation
There are schemes for women entrepreneurs, the government supports through capacity building and funding of the women.
My suggestion to encourage women entrepreneurship in the country is to include it in school curriculum and have more conversations on this in public forum.
Meghna Kishor, Co-founding Greendigo
We have not yet availed of any aid from the government however, we are registered as an MSME entity. We are also registered with Niti Aayog for their Women Entrepreneurship Platform.
Ms. Pooja Nagdev, Cosmetologist & Aromatherapist, Founder, Inatur
So far so good. My company is a member of CII and Chemixil and they keep organizing trade shows abroad that have helped us participate in some good exhibitions and get into the overseas market. Government support should be transparent and available to all. We all keep hearing about the incentives in the paper but in reality, it’s very different.
Ms. Bhawana Bhatnagar, Interior Stylist, Founder of Casa Exotique
The government launches many schemes to empower women entrepreneurs, but simply launching schemes is not enough. There is a need to check whether those schemes are being implemented at the ground level, and to what extent.
Diksha Chhabra, founder of Diksha Chhabra FItness Counsultations
So far I have enjoyed the relaxation on Taxes. Though I have been felicitated by many Govt led projects for my entrepreneurial journey. to name a few, Startup India, Khelo India, Make in India and NSWEE respectively.
Aditi Olemann, Co-founder, Myelin Foundry, - The government can help female founders by creating training programmes and incubation for women-led companies. They can also create more awareness by having platforms where successful women entrepreneurs can talk about their journey and inspire the next generation of young minds.
Kavita Mehta, Founder & CEO at Caymus
Startup India has been a great support in accessing benefits that have saved the company money and time on core services and necessary compliances. I would really love to see the investment process become more streamlined, especially as it relates to taking in foreign investments.
Sangita Desai, Co-Founder, Raw Nature
I have not approached the government for any support as yet. But I am considering it now seriously to see what benefits are offered. There is existing support already to the women entrepreneurs. However, I believe that there could be much more that can be done. For example, currently, the women need to be a majority stakeholder to avail of any benefit, and that in many cases deprives her of any benefit, i.e. if in case she does not have 51% ownership. Also, being a woman entrepreneur, there should be some benefit with respect to funding on equity basis from government bodies.
Ghazal Aalgh, Co-founder at Mamaearth
While in India, women have been conditioned as homemakers and lack the basic financial and emotional support from their own family members, the government has taken some initiatives to encourage women to start up their own businesses. Some of the scheme includes Mudra Yojna, Annapurna scheme and Mahila Udyum Nidhi Scheme.
Mona Dahiya, Co-Founder and Director at Homefoodi
I think the Government has done a praiseworthy work in igniting the women entrepreneurial spirit in the country. “Nari Shakti” and “Bharat Ki Lakshmi” campaigns and Start-up India initiatives and schemes by the Government are most certainly helping build confidence in women to turn into entrepreneurs. Women empowerment is a central feature of Start-up India and there is no better time than today for women to become entrepreneurs and reap the benefits of the available schemes. We are really thankful that Ms Vimla Batham (President of the Uttar Pradesh State Commission for Women) has been a strong pillar of support in this journey.
Tina Garg, CEO at Pink Lemonade
Pink Lemonade and my efforts have been recognized by way of some awards that the government bodies have conferred on us. Bodies like the MSME have helped us in our finance policies and we have won a few prestigious projects. But apart from that there is a lot that the government can do — by way of opportunities, easier financing, sponsored delegations to overseas markets etc. Many a times we don't know of such programs.
Nupur Khandelwal, Co-founder at Navia Life Care
Government has launched various schemes for women like Stree Shakti Package For Women Entrepreneurs, Bhartiya Mahila Bank Business Loan, Orient Mahila Vikas Yojana Scheme etc. for assisting women in financial capital which can be a major roadblock on their entrepreneurial journey. Not only this they have introduced many programs for boosting women entrepreneurs in central, State and nongovernmental levels. Most of the entrepreneurs are utilizing and benefited and few entrepreneurs are waiting for availing the benefits. There is no specific suggestion but there should be continuous attempt to inspire, encourage, motivate and co-operate women entrepreneurs. The government should introduce extensive entrepreneurial development program for women.