Entrepreneurship in India has seen a massive boost in the last couple of decades. But even as mindsets have seemingly begun to evolve and more people have started accepting the idea, women representation has remained a chink in the armour for the country’s growing start-up ecosystem.
Last year, women entrepreneurs constituted 14 per cent of the total entrepreneurial workforce in India, according to a report by NASSCOM. Even though the numbers have improved from 11 per cent a year earlier, the growth has not entirely been ecstatic.
At the ‘women in technology’ roundtable at Unite India 2019 held in Kochi last week, the discussions ebbed and flowed from something as basic as hiring men to the need to make parents aware of how women, too, can become entrepreneurs and succeed.
According to some of the entrepreneurs present at the roundtable, men are still skeptical working under women.
“We face trust issues from males,” said Moitreyee Goswami, chief executive officer at Zucate. Zucate is a Pune-based education technology platform.
Damini Pahwa, CEO at gaming studio Appsoleut Coders, agreed and said she, too, had faced similar issues at the initial stages.
“We did find that people had problems taking instructions from women,” said Geetika Sharma, chief technical officer at Vizara Technologies. Delhi-based Vizara provides knowledge-based virtual reality and augmented reality solutions for various sectors.
Sharma said she had an all-boys team working at Vizara currently. “I think you have to make them realize that you do know more than them,” she said.
Among the biggest challenges that women face as entrepreneurs is working with financial institutions.
Goswami faced issues with opening a bank account for Zucate even after becoming a registered company. “Our male friends tell us they get calls from banks (to open an account),” she said.
A common theme among most present at the roundtable was that awareness needs to be raised to bring more women into technology.
In gaming, parents are often skeptical about a career in game designing and development, according to Appsoleut’s Pahwa. “They don’t see growth; they don’t see it as a viable thing to invest in.”