Promoting female entrepreneurship through equal access to finance and collateral for larger loans would raise India’s growth levels, says the author.
Deepanshu Mohan, Associate Professor and Director at the Centre for New Economics Studies, Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
The biggest hurdle for women entrepreneurs remains the access (or the lack of it) to finance.
Sahana Bibi, a 45-year-old woman, resides in a busy narrow lane across one of the sub-urban parts of Kolkata. She wakes up at around 4 am every morning to buy fresh flowers from Kolaghat and Ranaghat for her flower shop in Kolkata’s Mullick Ghat Bazaar: One of India’s busiest and largest flower markets.
Sahana has been working in the Mullick Ghat flower market area for over 35 years, ever since she was a child helping her parents procure and sell flowers for temple offerings then.
Working an average of 18 hours a day, Sahana sometimes stays over at her shop overnight to sell off her existing stock of flowers (before they go bad).
Most of her usual business clientele buys flowers for either decoration purposes or temple offerings. She takes most of her business orders from an old, basic Nokia 105 model phone.
With no formal education, Sahana Bibi is an entrepreneur with great business clarity, explaining in detail the diversity of flower baskets sold in Mullick Ghat and some of the challenges faced by her (and other women) selling flowers in an extremely competitive market space.
Published in: The Quint
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