: In India, entrepreneurship brings along a lot of challenges for women. Unfortunately, the recent Union Budget of 2022 addressed very little in this regard for women entrepreneurs. However, the government is trying to prioritise women entrepreneurs. This can be observed as the government has set a stage for women entrepreneurs to speak about it.

Union Budget

Entrepreneurship is a challenge for men and women. Female entrepreneurs often struggle more than their male counterparts despite their expertise and efforts. This makes it difficult for them to succeed.

The first level of struggle is the family's lack of moral and financial support. Many female entrepreneurs have mentioned that no one in the family is comfortable with the idea of a woman starting a business. The support should come from the family along with that of the government.

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Union Budget 2022 and women entrepreneurs

Unfortunately, when it comes to extending support to women entrepreneurs in India, the recent Union Budget provides little support. The government has lacked focus on women's entrepreneurship; and how to set a stage for women entrepreneurs. The FM recognised the importance of 'Nari Shakti', and three schemes were launched to provide integrated development for women and children. The schemes will help in general development but not in entrepreneurship directly.

However, the budget exempted startups from capital gain taxes, thus encouraging more investment in startups. This will also pave the way for more unicorns.

State governments like Karnataka have some initiatives in the state budget for women entrepreneurs. For example, in the Karnataka state budget, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced a direct loan of up to Rs 10 lakh for women entrepreneurs and training for 300 women graduates from the SC/ST community.

The expectations of women entrepreneurs 

A female entrepreneur who has faced all the hardships and moved up the ladder wants the government to take significant initiatives to help women entrepreneurs. Below are some of the changes or initiatives expected from the government or in upcoming Union Budgets:

  • Easy loans for women - It is seen that many banks do not give loans to women without male family members acting as a guarantor. In an interview, Rhea Karuturi, co-founder and CTO of Hoovu Fresh, said, "Such norms need to change with the government's help."
  • Stipend from the government - As mentioned earlier, women are restricted from starting a business because of financial constraints, and the government should support them. Manjunath, founder of NIRAMAI Health Analytix, wishes, "If the government can give women entrepreneurs a stipend, it is more like a small salary, and some kind of scholarships, more women will come into the business."
  • Women-centric industrial policy - No current policy from the centre or state government encourages women to start a business. Yeshasvini Ramaswamy, CEO of Great Place to Work, said, "What we urgently need are not mere tick-in-the-box initiatives, but a strong and viable women-centric industrial policy for our State as the current policy does not have much prominence for Women Entrepreneurship Development."
  • Encouragement from a young age - Entrepreneurship should be encouraged from a young age when the students are in school. Hence, the school curriculum should have a course that motivates everyone to pursue entrepreneurship.
  • Tax benefits - Women entrepreneurs also expect the government to provide tax relaxation and offer funds dedicated to women entrepreneurs.

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The path is not easy for women, and hence the support only from the government will not be enough. The entire ecosystem that includes the family, financial institutions, especially the banks, and trade bodies should jointly make efforts towards supporting women entrepreneurs.