WeAct, Women Entrepreneurs Access Connect Transform is a network working with Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) to provide structured hand-holding support to Skills to Succeed micro women entrepreneurs, so they can make their business more profitable and sustainable. Reshmi AR caught up with Dr. Sunil Shukla, Director General, WeAct. In an exclusive interview with Sakshi Post, he spoke at length about the importance of empowering women entrepreneurs.
1. Do you think women entrepreneurs have it tough to achieve a breakthrough?
Women have always faced challenges at various stages of life. In spite of all these challenges, they have the courage to face them. Women becoming entrepreneurs is in itself a breakthrough. But still they do face a lot of challenges in and after the process of entrepreneurship. As women play multiple roles in their life, the commitment and responsibility towards these various roles pose as a challenge to them in their journey, yet they face them with grace and rise to glory.
2. What do you think are crucial to empower women entrepreneurs?
The drive within the entrepreneur is the most crucial for empowerment. One’s self confidence and passion to achieve their goals along with clarity as to what has to be done makes an entrepreneur successful. Precise planning and execution of the idea is crucial. As the saying, “knowledge is power”, gaining knowledge and educating oneself with the latest trends and methods will give the entrepreneur and edge to compete and expand their business.
3. How can women entrepreneurs sustain their business. What kind of support do you think they require?
To make their business sustainable entrepreneur must diversify their markets, build networks, communicate to their customers and increase customer retention and building brand image. The entrepreneur will achieve the sustainability and support through financial, technological, educational and training.
4. What kind of support do you provide to make micro business sustainable and profitable?
To sustainably develop your business Increased customer retention, forming strategic partnership, consider franchising your brand, explore new markets, diversify your product line and services. Regularly scrutinize your strategies and policies and make progress. Finding more customers, gathering more leads and markets, increasing the size of orders etc can increase profits.
5. Does Educating and training small scale emerging women entrepreneurs at an early age help?
Yes, educating them at an early age is beneficial as it enlightens them to different sources of finance and the procedure to procure these finances. Educating them will make them capable of identifying new opportunities and give them new ideas to better their establishments. Educating will make the entrepreneur confident about her decisions and will give her the advantage to research and plan efficiently.
6. How can women overcome barriers to scale up their small businesses?
Women can overcome their business barriers by educating themselves about various financial sources, government schemes, means of fund raising etc. regularly upgrading by attending workshops seminars conferences and access to various different knowledge sources will help them tackle their barriers better.
7. Elaborate on talent and skills which will give wings to women entrepreneurs
Women can learn and develop their skills by attending workshops and seminars about how to keep yourself motivated and having a healthy work life balance. Learning about various latest financial investments and sources helpful for the development of business.
8. How can we create more trade opportunities for women?
Removing gender inequality, providing more educational opportunities for women and providing a platform for them to explore more opportunities. Looking into trade policies that promote gender equality girls education and automation of trade procedures and women’s economic empowerment.
9. How did the pandemic affect small scale businesses?
The pandemic has affected small scale business at a large scale. The pandemic has questioned the survival of these business, owners find it difficult to run the business with limited resources and are forced to rapid changes in the economic landscape. With revenue being irregular and increasing losses and business running expenses increase has made the survival of these business hard.
10. How does WeACt work and how does it benefit women entrepreneurs?
We Act provides training to women in various sectors, educates them about various financial sources and schemes to fund their business. It provides guidance and advisory to entrepreneurs giving them customised trouble shooting solutions.
11. How can women entrepreneurs benefit from learning about latest market trends in the local market
For any business the primary target are the local markets and its customers. So having a thorough knowledge about these markets will help them penetrate into existing and new markets leading an increase in market capitalization.