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Entrepreneurship Skills for Rural Women is a Game-changer

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Entrepreneurship Skills for Rural Women is a Game-changer
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  • Entrepreneurship Skills for Rural Women is a Game-changer

Beyond the romantic lens of rural women wearing colorful traditional clothes, traveling distances to carry pots of water to their homes, there is a new breed of ambitious women who dream to be the decision-makers generating incomes that feed their families and beyond their own. Entrepreneurship for rural women can be a game changer for them.

Hard facts first– 

  1. Women in rural India are often left behind by their male counterparts. The number of businesses by women is much less than men.
  2. India has 432 million working-age women and 13.5 –15.7 million women-owned businesses that provide direct employment to 22–27 million people.

They are rarely able to find jobs or start businesses that pay well and provide stable employment. However, there is a growing movement of women entrepreneurs who want to change this reality. These women view entrepreneurship as a way to build value and create opportunities for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Rural women entrepreneurship

Women entrepreneurs have huge potential to play a crucial role in an emerging economy like India taking advantage of globalization and a technology-driven ecosystem. Leaving behind the perils of the ongoing pandemic, women’s entrepreneurship, in today’s digital age, is a very important tool for development in rural areas.

The good thing is that now women entrepreneurs in even the remotest parts of India can connect with one another as well as experts, investors, and mentors anywhere in the world. There are organizations with communities of women entrepreneurs across India that allow women to share their ideas, collaborate on projects and connect with each other. This is an excellent opportunity for rural women who might not otherwise have access to these resources—or even know how they could get them.

These programs address the fundamental gaps women face in starting a business by providing industry-relevant knowledge and experiential learning. They aim to address the underrepresentation of women in tech by providing you with skills that will help you succeed as an entrepreneur, including– 

  • Understanding how technology works– right from basic computer literacy to advanced coding skills;
  • Developing your own digital product prototype like an app;
  • Launching your own startup.

Benefits of long-term investment in rural women entrepreneurship

According to McKinsey Global, India can potentially add USD 700 billion to the global GDP by increasing women’s participation in the labor force. There are many overt and covert benefits attached with to increasing number of rural women entrepreneurs– 

  • Income generation and thus leaving behind poverty
  • The best form of women empowerment is economic in nature
  • Prevents unsustainable migration
  • Employment generation for others
  • Bolstering the economic development of the country

A blended learning approach of online courses & live sessions

A blended learning approach of online courses and live virtual or in-person sessions work favorably for rural women entrepreneurs. An approach like this helps participants learn about entrepreneurship through interactive activities, case studies and group discussions. It also offers mentorship services from successful entrepreneurs who can offer advice on how best to navigate their personal journey as an entrepreneur or a business owner.

The goal is to provide rural women entrepreneurs with the skills they need to start their own businesses, while also providing them with access to training that is not available in their communities. This will allow them to have more control over their own futures, as well as allow them more independence from traditional sources of employment.

More investments need to be made towards providing the best skill opportunities for them. Think digital skills, soft skills, networking, understanding the business and idea gaps– basically everything that are the pillars of successful business models.

Interaction with other women entrepreneurs

If you want to encourage rural women entrepreneurs make sure that they interact with other female entrepreneurs and perceive them as role models.

Women in rural areas often feel isolated from their communities. Currently, they are in relatively smaller ones working outside of the home, so they don’t have access to extended support networks like men do. Women need others who can offer encouragement and advice when times get tough or when there is no one else around who understands what their business needs are.

Affordability & Access: Concerns for Rural Women Entrepreneurs

Skilling, upskilling and reskilling– all necessary tools for staying relevant and gaining traction in the business world relies on having adequate training programs. Blended learning models are affordable, flexible and accessible for rural women who cannot afford or find time for traditional training programs. They provide access to high-quality content through online learning modules and face-to-face workshops. 

Mentoring– Opportunities for rural women to get guidance

There are lots of opportunities for rural women to get education, guidance and resources to start their own businesses. Mentors can help them with the following– 

  • Business skills– How do you find clients? What does your business look like? How much money do you need to make and how do you spend it?
  • Personal life– How do you manage family responsibilities while running your business (i.e., how long will this take)? What is important in life outside of work that needs attention or improvement before starting a new project?
  • Personal finances– Do I have enough money saved up so that I am not too dependent on others’ help when times get tough; what steps would be helpful if I wanted to improve my financial situation over time; who should know about these changes if they ever occur (such as family members).

Final Thoughts

More and more women-led businesses will provide a substantial impetus to our economy.  It will enable women from rural India to access the resources and knowledge they need in order to start their own businesses, access funding for their enterprises, and empower themselves through entrepreneurship. The collective dream of “Jobs by women” would soon become a reality if consistent and smart efforts are made towards them– every day without losing sight of the dream.

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