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New Delhi, March 8, 2022 – Women-owned very small businesses (WVSEs) in India, with an estimated credit demand worth INR 836 billion ($11.4 billion), need the strong support of financial institutions (FIs), as per the latest report from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), ‘Opportunities and Challenges of Women-Owned Very Small Enterprises in India’, enabled by Intellecap. This support will facilitate their growth and drive socio-economic inclusion by eliminating existing challenges.Launched on the occasion of International Women’s Day, the report says WVSEs face numerous challenges, including inadequate access to capital, technology and information, and infrastructure gaps. There are about 15 million women-owned MSMEs in India, and contrary to popular perception, over 70 percent of them are manufacturing enterprises, many of them home-based.In addition to challenges mentioned, the segment of women entrepreneurs who often overcome biases from within the family and the business community, witness fractional treatment when it comes to lending. The report says FIs have traditionally catered to men-owned enterprises. The approach then limits the understanding of the operating contexts of women-owned businesses and their socio-cultural constraints. Given that most women entrepreneurs are self-financed, the lockdowns imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted their business and reduced their income.“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing inequalities faced by India’s women entrepreneurs. This report explores how to unlock a $11.4 billion financing gap for WVSEs and charts a roadmap for financial institutions to better serve this segment in a post-COVID world,” said Wendy Werner, India Country Head at IFC. “IFC and its partners remain committed to creating an enabling entrepreneurial ecosystem so women-owned businesses can reach their full potential and contribute to India’s economic growth story,” she added.This report identifies sectors that WVSEs operate in and highlights the characteristics of these enterprises. It also provides a granular perspective of WVSE business operations in each of the sectors including the nature of businesses they engage with and the intermediaries who provide support to them. On this basis, the report suggests ways for FIs to design new products and new processes to address the needs of WVSEs.Amar Gokhale, Associate Vice President, Livelihoods & Gender at Intellecap said, “The underlying objective of this report, especially on International Women’s Day, is to showcase that this segment ofWVSEs can be not just a potential business opportunity for FIs, but that serving it can also create a positive impact on the social and economic status of women entrepreneurs.”About IFC:IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.About Intellecap:Intellecap, a part of the Aavishkaar Group, is a pioneer in building enabling ecosystems and channeling capital to create and nurture a sustainable & equitable society. Founded in 2002, Intellecap works across critical sectors like Agriculture, Livelihoods, Climate Change, Clean Energy, Financial Services, Gender & Inclusion, Healthcare, Water and Sanitation, and has delivered over 600 global engagements across 40+ countries and syndicated investments of over $500 Million USD in Capital. Our common action platform, Sankalp Forum, one of the largest global inclusive development platforms, brings together the ecosystem to shape the way markets work for delivering the SDGs by 2030. For more information, visit www.intellecap.comStay connectedwww.ifc.org/southasiawww.twitter.com/IFC_SouthAsiawww.youtube.com/IFCvideocastswww.instagram.com\ifc_orgwww.facebook.com/IFCsouthasiawww.linkedin.com/company/ifc-Asia Pacific
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