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Most underprivileged women would like to start a business but lack skills and financial knowledge

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  • More than 77% of women plan to start a small business to support their families financially.
  • But most of them are bogged down with childcare and household responsibilities, such as per IWWAGE report
  • According to the report, the women have no clarity or information about what kind of business they can start; and have no access to seed capital.

Two-thirds of women from disadvantaged backgrounds have a burning need to support their families – and plan to start a small-scale business.

According to a survey conducted among Anganwadi hubs in Delhi by an NGO initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE), 84% of families support while 72% said they should be allowed to travel outside their home using making training programmes.

However, more than two-thirds of women eager to start a business find themselves stuck with childcare and household chores.

“This study shows that women are eager to do business, provided they are given some space, understanding and encouragement in the form of skills training, economic management and others,” said Neelanjana Guptaproject manager at IWWAGE.

Lack of financial support and skills

According to the report, the women have no clarity or information about what kind of business they can start; and have no access to seed capital. They are well versed in digital as 7 out of 10 know how to use cell phones and have effective communication skills. No less than 76% of them have a smartphone and 78% have access to an internet connection.

Also, 73% of women have their own bank account, while 42% of them use it to take advantage of government schemes and benefits. However, they have no knowledge about bank loans, interest rates or how to deposit or withdraw money from their accounts – which becomes a hurdle for future entrepreneurs.

“Poor support networks, absence of mentors and lack of access to information and communication technology are critical challenges facing female entrepreneursthe report says.

Most of them also don’t have the know-how to start a business. Still, many of them want to acquire skills to engage in activities that will help improve their economic status.

“It indicates that despite the lack of family support and other gender-based constraints, women in India are looking for ways to support themselves and their families while seeking social independence,” Gupta said.

Half of the survey respondents expressed an interest in getting into sewing and sewing to earn an income, followed by making pickles/papads; and embroidery.

“These preferences were similar across the board for entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs surveyed, with 81% of respondents also showing a strong interest in learning skills that were not heard or known,” the report said.

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