The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns hit all businesses in varying measures. But, they seem to have had the worst impact on women-owned businesses, according to data from YourStory Research.
From managing homes, ensuring the well-being of their children, and simultaneously performing at work to grow their businesses, women entrepreneurs have had a tough time in the last one year.
“When the pandemic first hit, nobody thought it would last for over a year. While running a business, along with running the house, can be done for a short time frame, an extended period of a year or more has adversely affected women entrepreneurs, CXOs, and executives,” Madhura Dasgupta, Founder of AspireForHer, told HerStory.
In fact, many women have also had to make the tough choice of prioritising their family over their work, with a significant number of female workers exiting from the workforce.
Besides the proverbial struggle of work-life balance YourStory Research data also indicates that funding for women-led startups fell almost 24 percent to $280 million in the first six months of 2020, compared to $369 million in the first half of 2019.
In a WhatsApp-powered roundtable title ‘The Fundraising Conundrum,’ three women leaders from the Indian startup ecosystem — Blume Ventures’ Radhika Agarwal, Stellaris Venture Partners’ Aditi Gupta, and She Capital’s Anisha Singh — share their insights on the funding environment, how it is skewed against women entrepreneurs, and the steps that could be taken to bridge this gap.
Editor’s Pick: How meat startup Nandu’s touched profitability despite COVID-19
In 2008, Narendra K Pasuparthy left the US and returned to India to join Bengaluru-based Nanda Group, his family’s Rs 500-crore poultry business founded in 1963. Eight years later, in 2016, he decided to launch Nandu’s to bring fresh, 100-percent traceable meat to the consumer. Today, Nandu’s is a fully integrated and profitable omnichannel chicken brand with 52+ stores across Bengaluru. Read more.
Until early last year, Gururaj Rao, Arvind Murali, Avinash R, and Santosh Narasipura were managing 100 acres of greenhouses, supplying vegetables to 130 restaurants in Bengaluru, and were happy with the steady growth of their farm-to-fork business. However, the pandemic brought it to a near standstill.
As saving the business became their priority, they started delivering fruits and vegetables to people in 60 society complexes in Bengaluru. This success of selling directly to customers at a tough time led the founders to create a brand called Deep Rooted, a D2C farm-to-fork business that retails packaged and curated fruits and vegetables. Read more.
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- After its iconic ‘Download CRED baby, download CRED’ commercials last year, the Kunal Shah-led fintech startup has once again struck gold with a new IPL ad featuring Rahul Dravid. The cricketer is seen traffic raging — something we’ve all wanted to do in Bengaluru — and declaring that he’s the “gunda” of Indiranagar.
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“I think it’s harder to raise money, especially as a women entrepreneur, in general. But now, in a pandemic, everything has been remote and over Zoom. This has made it even harder to raise money for everyone, but it’s impacted women entrepreneurs even more. So, I’d say that is the double penalty.”