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market | IST

Big Deal: Meet the female entrepreneurs storming Dalal Street

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An important trend emerging in the current spate of initial public offerings (IPOs) is that many women entrepreneurs are coming up in the listed space, especially in the new age companies. Pallavi Jain, Managing Director at Krsnaa Diagnostics, Kshama Fernandes, Managing Director and CEO at Northern Arc Capital and Upasana Taku, Chairperson, Executive Director, Co-Founder & COO at MobiKwik discussed this further on Big Deal.

An important trend emerging in the current spate of initial public offerings (IPOs) is that many women entrepreneurs are coming up in the listed space, especially in the new-age companies. Pallavi Jain, Managing Director at Krsnaa Diagnostics, Kshama Fernandes, Managing Director and CEO at Northern Arc Capital and Upasana Taku, Chairperson, Executive Director, Co-Founder & COO at MobiKwik discussed this trend on Big Deal.
According to Fernandes, a part of the problem is that women entrepreneurs constitute approximately 20 percent of the total pool of enterprises.
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“The number has only marginally increased year on year (YoY). For the last 10 years or so, that number is growing by 10 percent. 90 percent of these women entrepreneurs are largely driven by microfinance funding, a very large proportion of these women entrepreneurs still finance their businesses in an informal manner which means they don’t avail formal finance. They are not in the space where one can track them,” she said.
India has about 50,000 recognized startups, only 6 percent are solely led by women entrepreneurs.
“While there are many more women entrepreneurs coming into the space today than perhaps they were ten years ago, we need to address these stark discrepancies that continue to exist. Here’s what we are saying, 6 out of 100 entrepreneurs in India are women. India ranked 70th among 77 countries on the female entrepreneurship index. I am glad, we have so many more women led companies coming to the market but there is a long way to go before we start thinking that we have done the deal and we have a lot more women out there,” she explained.
Taku believes that one will have to work a little harder in getting the things done the way one wants.
“I would love to have several more fintech or tech founders who are women. I do believe that men and women both bring diverse skills and different type of tenacity to the table when it comes to building long-term enduring business. So far I have not met with a single female investment banker on the other side and there is not only on the side of founders of CEOs leading the companies but also in the entire IPO process there is far more male domination. While the numbers are dismal, I read somewhere that next five years, women led companies in India are expected to grow at the rate of 90 percent. I do hope that all these listings that are women led will inspire many more people,” she said.
According to Jain, the road has just begun. “We need to work on it but yes happy to be a part of this. Though we are seeing the changes and looking at the very positive side, the journey has just begun,” she said.
“Many times through the IPO process, almost 95 percent of the time I was the only female in the entire room. But the positive change during the entire process is that the bankers, the legal counsellors – the entire process has been very smooth because the acceptability has come on the table, people have started taking it positively that yes, women-driven organizations also can give a different example,” she added.
For the entire discussion, watch the accompanying video.