Over the last two decades, the term “entrepreneurship” has been widely known worldwide, from the general public to business stakeholders. An interesting and critical reality is that women entrepreneurs outnumber males worldwide. Rural women entrepreneurship is primarily described as starting a new business that supports the development of new products, services, trending calls, and the adoption of new technologies in a rural setting. Nearly 575 million people work in agriculture-related services worldwide, with 52 percent of non-water land harvested versus 11 percent in the biosphere. India’s service industry is growing at a 9.2 percent annual rate (2015), with the lowest contribution to service employment at 28 percent (2014) and aiding roughly 66 percent of Indian GDP.
Some of the key challenges faced by rural women entrepreneurs include the following:
- Convincing the family is one of the most difficult challenges StartUps and entrepreneurs confront.
- Social challenges are significant considerations in the thoughts of women entrepreneurs.
- Educational programs primarily motivate graduates in technology and fill shortages in the job market through online entrepreneurship.
- Financial challenges affect all business owners, not just women entrepreneurs. It affects both the private and public sectors in India.
- There have been several policy changes in the government and non-government sectors throughout history.
Support To Native People: Rural residents always encourage and support entrepreneurs to expand their businesses to improve the socioeconomic position of both rural and urban residents.
Low StartUp Costs: Rural business owners usually plan with a smaller budget than urban business owners.
Competitive Advantages: Most rural people are active in agro-related activities. Although they earn less and have less recognition in society, they migrated as unskilled and semiskilled laborers.
Government policies and subsidies: The Indian government’s sustainable policies assist rural women entrepreneurs by giving low-interest loans and grants.
Availability of raw materials: Raw materials are critical components of every manufacturing process. Because of market risk and supply chain management, the availability of resources on time is an advantage due to zero transportation costs.
Production Cost: The cost of production for rural businesses is low as raw materials are available at a cheap cost.
Optimal Farm Produce Use: Optimal use of farm produce is only achievable through rural entrepreneurship.
Job Creation: Rural entrepreneurs provide 100% of all jobs for rural youth. If rural entrepreneurs are successful in this endeavor, the migration of people from rural to urban areas will decrease significantly.
Promotion Cost: Rural entrepreneurs have no costs because competition is substantially lower.
Potential Customer: Rural villagers are economically strong and densely inhabited in the twenty-first century. They can transform this large population into potential customers. That is why, to maximize their potential, all MNCs are centered in rural communities.
Building Goodwill: Rural entrepreneurs have a lot of opportunities to make friends. Most rural entrepreneurs have ethical convictions, and they do not work solely for profit.
The government may take the following steps to empower rural women entrepreneurs in setting up a business:
Banks and financial organizations that lend to entrepreneurs must establish dedicated cells to provide simple financing to rural entrepreneurs.
Training is necessary for the overall development of an enterprise that assists rural entrepreneurs by teaching them the necessary skills to run a business. At present, the economically weaker entrepreneurs are getting necessary training by the Government of India for skill development to help generate income and employment opportunities in rural areas.
Governing bodies should ensure priority the supply of raw materials to rural entrepreneurs. In addition, they should grant subsidies when required to make rural entrepreneurs’ products affordable and cost-competitive.
Authorities should establish marketing cooperatives to encourage rural entrepreneurs, which will assist in obtaining diverse inputs at reasonable prices and selling their products easily. Thus, extensive training, good education, investments from financial institutions, and marketing cooperatives contribute considerably to the growth of rural women entrepreneurs in India.
Technology is a game-changer for women entrepreneurs, particularly in rural areas. It can have a greater influence on the lives of women who own various types of micro, small, and medium companies in rural and semi-urban areas. With quick access to essential information, market, mentoring, financing, and consumers, technology can assist them in overcoming many obstacles. Authorities should significantly promote mobile phone usage in rural regions to bring women closer to the stakeholders in their business ecosystems.
Google Search, especially Voice Search, can provide rural women with vital information. Moreover, these women do not need to be highly educated to use Google Voice Search. Instead, they can learn how to capitalize on their homemade items, products, and sources of income with basic smartphone training. In addition, smartphones and the internet also equip them with the essential platforms to educate themselves on how to be micro-entrepreneurs, with knowledge of market prices and other information at their fingertips.
With the advancement of technology, it is possible to lessen the need to relocate to cities to expand one’s business. Women entrepreneurs in remote areas can operate from home and spread their enterprises through WhatsApp, Facebook, phone calls, and text messages. They can sell their products through e-commerce portals. They might collaborate with e-commerce firms to offer their products online. Organizations such as Amazon have started assisting rural craftsmen and businesses. Rural women can display and sell their indigenous products worldwide through these platforms.
Many hurdles to women’s empowerment result from social and cultural standards. Therefore, it is critical to understand how they affect the enterprise and offer women greater and longer-term economic prospects. An investment in cooking classes for males, for example, can result in a redistribution of unpaid care duties at the home level, freeing up time for women to engage in business. But, again, collaboration with local partners can assist in addressing these difficulties within the context of a specific community and cultural environment.
Investing in businesses related to an organization’s primary business boosts women’s empowerment, particularly in traditionally male-dominated marketplaces or value chains. For example, this could be a women-run greenhouse that produces saplings sold to leading firms or an input shop where farmers can purchase seeds, ag-inputs, etc. Typically, these firms encourage women’s collaborative action, which can be a critical step toward greater empowerment. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are now worldwide priorities. However, the challenge is enormous, as are the benefits to poverty alleviation and the global economy.
10. Involve men too
It is illogical to work exclusively with women and avoid capacity-building projects that involve men performing better. Due to a long-standing gender imbalance, male entrepreneurs often attend training programs due to their extensive contacts and better access to resources. Still, mixed-gender training allows women to obtain those resources from their peers.
Such training can also alter male participants’ attitudes, making them more open to embracing women as prospective business partners. In many cases, reaching out to the participants’ families or husbands is also beneficial. It allows explaining the real benefits of supporting entrepreneurs’ objectives and, as a result, makes it simpler for women to obtain family resources for their companies.
According to the most recent economic figures, a rural entrepreneur woman is critical for any emerging country. Rural women entrepreneurship is one of the most effective strategies that any NGO or GO may utilize to transition from developing to advanced levels. Non-urban women who grew up in socioeconomic conditions are the solutions to any country’s poverty recovery—more quality support from the government, such as schema definition standards. In addition, Quality Assurance (QA), financial agencies, NGOs, media, and prizes will benefit youth in the corporate environment.