In recent years, the arena for female entrepreneurship in India has witnessed a sea change. The onset of the startup culture, digital revolution, and globalization has spurred a significant transformation in the number of women entrepreneurs.
The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs reveals that only 7 in 100 Indian entrepreneurs are women. However, these trailblazers are not only matching strides with their male counterparts, but often outshining them in terms of innovative ideas and execution tactics.
A report titled “Landscape Study on Women Entrepreneurship” forecasts that the number of businesses steered by female entrepreneurs in India will skyrocket by 90% in the next five years. A survey by Bain and Company and Google also predicts that by 2030, Indian women entrepreneurs could potentially create 150–170 million new jobs. Yet, a mere 1.5% of startup funding in India is directed towards enterprises with female founders, as per a senior Google executive.
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To address this funding gap and support the flourishing of women entrepreneurs, several venture capital firms with a focus on women have sprung up. This article highlights five such firms actively encouraging female entrepreneurship in India.
1. Achieving Women Equity (AWE) Funds, spearheaded by Seema Chaturvedi, is a gender-smart fund that supports enterprises that foster gender equity and prioritize climate action. This investment platform concentrates on agritech, healthtech, and climatetech, with minor allocations for fintech and edtech.
2. Kalaari Capital is making strides in providing a level playing field for female founders and CEOs through its CXXO initiative. This initiative rests on the three main tenets of capital, community, and coaching.
3. Saha Fund endeavors to boost women in business and fosters services and products aimed at women. Their portfolio embraces companies with a majority female workforce or those creating products or services specifically for women.
4. She Capital, a diversity-focused venture fund, is shaking up India’s startup ecosystem by offering financial support to women entrepreneurs and fostering a unified community of female founders through its “Together” initiative.
5. StrongHer Ventures, established by Ankita Vashistha, invests in future market-leading women-led or women-focused companies.
Alongside these VC funds, Qualcomm’s Women Entrepreneurship India Network (QWEIN), established in 2020, aims to mentor women in technology, enabling them to maximize their business potential.