Britannia Marie Gold, the third largest biscuit brand in India, has completed three seasons of its annual women’s entrepreneurship initiative. my startup Ten winners are each year awarded Rs 10 lakh each to boost their business ventures (see our coverage of the 2020 edition). here).
Your story was part of the external jury for the nominated entries of the 2022 competition, together with Rashmi Bansal (Author of 10 Best Sellers on Entrepreneurship and Visiting Professor at Ashoka University), Sairee Chahal, Founders of SHEROES and Mahila Money, Renu Shah | (Founder of Shakti – The Empathy Project, an incubation program for women social entrepreneurs) and Aakanksha Bhargava (CEO and President of PM Relocations).
Other judges included Aarti Mohan, Ruchika Bhuwalka, Latha Chandramuli and Piya Bahadur. The jury also included members of Britannia’s leadership team.
This year’s 1.3 million entries came from across India. Most of the entries came from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
In Season 3, the Britannia Marie Gold My Startup campaign expanded to help women use the internet to grow their businesses. All participants were provided free access to a number of Google’s digital and business skills resources in six languages – Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali and English.
“77 percent of women who want to start their own business see technology as an enabler in that journey, according to a survey by Britannia and Momspresso,” explains Amit Doshi, CMO Britannia Industries, in an interview with Your story.
“In 2020, a partnership with NSDC helped the entrepreneurship campaign equip 10,000 women with basic communication skills, financial literacy through access to information and communication technology (ICT), and micro-entrepreneurial skills for social and economic self-sufficiency,” he adds.
This year’s 10 winners come from Orissa, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Bihar. The age of the founders is between 21 and 46 years.
Among the winners Nidhi Gandecha (digital services for rural India), Major Sapna Sharma (retired) (aqua farming on wasteland), Kalavati J (dairy farming), Yazhinidevi (skill development) and Tanmayee R Kalebar (StoriesByChildren.com).
Other winners are Kalpna Thakur (dairy farm with good quality cattle), Arti Kumari (ophthalmological care by mobile vans), Prachi Rohan Bidave (food and bakery brand), Vaishali Gawde (Marathi language learning app for kids and non-Maharashtrians) and Madhu Nachammal SL (Beauty and skin care products from banana plantations).
Amit Doshi, Chief Marketing Officer, Britannia
competitions and awards
“Entrepreneurship competitions strengthen the confidence of the participants and bring them prestige and respect. Even more so with women, who are sometimes not taken so seriously by the family,” observes the best-selling author Rashmi Bansal.
“Entrepreneurship competitions can be great platforms that recognize entrepreneurs and companies that are solving some of the big, real problems in today’s world,” notes Sairee Chahal, Founders of SHEROES and Mahila Money.
They promote visibility, conversations and opportunities and serve as great motivation for founders and their teams. “Nevertheless, I think we can build more platforms to detect them micro entrepreneurs, who also play their role in increasing GDP and providing solutions and opportunities to their communities,” she adds.
“These competitions act as a catalyst and encourage women to take their first steps towards entrepreneurship. Currently only 14 percent of entrepreneurs in India are women and competitions like this can go a long way in building the ecosystem,” affirmed Renu Shah | by STEP.
“I think any kind of recognition is always wonderful, and it validates you in terms of the work you’ve done. But not winning awards and recognition doesn’t mean you’re not doing a good job. It also depends on the direction and type of work,” he explains Aakanksha Bhargava of PM moves.
Startup competitions offer participants the opportunity to exchange ideas with industry experts and be mentored by them. “So it’s part of a entrepreneurial competition gives you the perfect mix of visibility, opportunity and the leeway to evaluate your challenges,” she adds.
“The idea behind Britannia Marie Gold My Startup is to support female entrepreneurs in a sustainable and systematic way. We play the role of one Catalyst,” This explains.
Most of the winners from the previous two seasons have reportedly set up their businesses and started watching good results. “We hope for a similar development this year with more self-confidence and training from our participants,” says Amit.
“This initiative has allowed Britannia to further strengthen its leadership position over the past three seasons. Britannia Marie Gold witnessed this strongly Double digit growth along with an increase in household penetration,” he explains.
With the current season, new homepreneurs have entered the entrepreneurial world. “We see every woman who has taken her first step towards them entrepreneurial journey as a winner in the making,” he enthuses.
The judges also identify a number of obstacles faced by women entrepreneurs and suggest ways in which these challenges can be overcome.
“Manage home and family remains the #1 challenge for women entrepreneurs. Low self-confidence and lack of family support are another problem,” notes Rashmi Bansal.
“Women need to feel more comfortable too handle money. Things are gradually changing for the better. The women we met on the Britannia platform certainly impressed me with their eagerness, knowledge of the business and desire to grow it,” she adds.
“In addition to the challenges that all entrepreneurs face, women also face a lack of support, skill opportunities, traditional mindsets and poor access to capital and care. Things are starting to change, but I would say there is still a long way to go,” notes Renu Shah.
Sairee Chahal cites limited access to skills, capital/credit, peer community networks, and mentoring as some challenges. “But the ecosystem is getting stronger and more focused on their needs,” she notes.
Aakanksha Bhargava indicates a deficiency trust in leadership and work-life balance as further challenges. Access to mentors and funding are also issues. “Another major concern is the lack of education and support for women,” she adds.
Amit cites the Sixth Economic Census in India, according to which only women constitute 13.76 percent of all entrepreneurs. That’s just 8.05 million of the country’s 58.5 million entrepreneurs.
“The risk is higher for women starting a business,” explains Amit. He cites inherent conscious and unconscious gender bias, lack of family support, social and family expectations around household responsibilities, inadequate access to finance and lack of networking opportunities and technical skills, among others.
According to the Britannia Marie Gold Women Entrepreneurship Survey 2021, Financial independence was an important reason for women to start their own business. Among the many challenges identified, 53 percent of women cite a lack of counseling, 50 percent lack adequate financial resources and 73 percent see a lack of time due to domestic responsibilities as a concern, explains Amit.
effects of the pandemic
The pandemic has had a negative impact on MSMEs, which are estimated to contribute almost a third of India’s GDP. “It’s also sparked a tidal wave of entrepreneurial activity across the country from women choosing to support their families,” notes Amit.
“The adoption and acceptance of digital assets is a dominant trend. This has fueled the use of contactless payment methods, opened up new markets and sparked a hiring frenzy among digitally-enabled startups,” he adds
The pandemic has fueled collaboration between government, start-ups, civil society and educational institutions. Examples of this are the C-CAMP COVID-19 Innovation Development Accelerator (C-CIDA) for startups in diagnostics, ventilators, therapeutics and cold chain technology.
“The pandemic has also led to an increased focus on socially committed companies which focused on problem areas sectors are facing due to the hardship caused by the pandemic,” explains Amit. These sectors include agriculture, healthcare and sanitation. He names localization, self-reliance and local employment as other trends.
tips and recommendations
The campaign team also shared some tips for aspiring entrepreneurs and recommendations for government and industry to keep the startup movement moving forward.
“Stay focused, be relevant, be ambitious and be persistent with your dreams. Hard work and teamwork will help you reach greater heights. A vision without a mission may not be an ideal way to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors,” advises Amit.
He calls for more government support to close the gender gap in entrepreneurship. “While government initiatives such as “Startup India, Stand Up India” helped to facilitate the growth of startups, companies and other influential parties must do their part to enable this change,” he adds, inviting other organizations to join the My Startup initiative.
Along the road
“We are optimistic about the future. Many experts have been vocal about the fact that women hold the key to unlocking the country’s full growth potential,” says Amit.
Amit cites a recent report by World Economic Forum This shows how the pandemic has stalled and worsened equality of opportunity for the female population.
“We firmly believe that when women advance, the whole family thrives. And as families progress, the country progresses. Empowering India’s women isn’t a choice, it’s an absolute necessity,” Amit agrees.