India maintains 52nd rank in Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs

By Rekha Balakrishnan
December 04, 2019, Updated on : Wed Dec 04 2019 09:00:40 GMT+0000
India maintains 52nd rank in Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs
The Mastercard Index recognises the impact of government programmes in overcoming challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in setting up businesses.
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Mastercard recently released its third edition of the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE), an index focussing on female entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalise on opportunities granted by various supporting conditions in their local environments. India ranked 52nd (unchanged from the previous two years) among the 58 countries studied, significantly behind the United States (1st) and China (6th).


While India’s position in the index highlights the need for an enhanced enabling environment for Indian women entrepreneurs, it also recognises the several silver linings for the country. For instance, the government has recently launched a 59‐minute loan platform that enables easy access to credit for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).


women entrepreneurs


Several such steps have helped the country register improvement in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index, rising from 60.6 (rank 44) to 67.2 (rank 39), as well as an increase in the ‘Women Financial Inclusion (F/M)’ index, growing from 58.2 (rank 51) to 69.0 (rank 43), which are part of the World Bank ‘Doing Business Database, 2018’.


This year’s rankings reflect the finding that women make better business inroads and have higher labour force participation rates in open and vibrant markets such as New Zealand (ranked 2nd), Singapore (8th), and Australia (13th), where the support for SMEs and ease-of-doing business are high. The report urges other countries to nurture similar conditions.


This global index is based on publicly available data of international organisations including the International Labor Organization, Unesco, and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. It tracks the progress and achievement of women entrepreneurs and business owners in 58 societies (representing nearly 80 percent of the world’s female labor force) across three components: women’s advancement outcomes, knowledge assets and financial access, and supporting entrepreneurial factors.


Commenting on India’s position in the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE), Vikas Varma, Chief Operating Officer-South Asia, Mastercard, said,


“Mastercard believes that women entrepreneurship and participation in the workforce is critical for inclusive growth of any society. In India, Mastercard has been working along with government organisations, industry bodies, and NGOs to provide tools and networks that help women entrepreneurs become a part of the digital economy. Over the years, these programmes have brought a positive change to the lives of thousands of women entrepreneurs. Mastercard is certain that the global insights and learnings from MIWE will make the company’s ongoing programmes more meaningful for women entrepreneurs in India.”


The index suggests that the progress of women entrepreneurs has been held back by one or more obstacles in nearly all the 58 economies covered. These obstacles are largely caused by perceptions of gender bias, which contribute to poor social and cultural acceptance, and lack of self-belief and access to financial funding or venture capital. Below are the details on India’s performance in the three components used for developing the index.

Women’s advancement outcomes

India scores 28.7 with respect to women’s advancement outcomes, which indicates the degree of bias against women as workforce participants and political and business leaders, as well as the financial strength and entrepreneurial inclination of women.

Knowledge assets and financial assets

India scores 70.5 in terms of knowledge assets and financial access for women entrepreneurs, which indicates a less than optimal degree of access to basic financial services and advanced knowledge assets for women.

Women entrepreneurial activity rate

India’s score on this parameter has witnessed a decline to 58.6. This is due to an increase in men’s entrepreneurial activity rate leading to a widening gender gap. Despite this, India stands out for its high proportion of innovative entrepreneurs, with nearly half reporting they have innovative services or products.


In the Asia-Pacific region, Mastercard is cultivating entrepreneurs through programs like Start Path and Fintech Express. The MNC has supported a range of startups including Razorpay, Zeta, ToneTag, Fluid AI, Happay, Signzy, ftcash, and Syntizen.


The company has also provided financial literacy training to nearly 200,000 women across India, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam, and offers grants to women to grow their businesses through the Mastercard Impact Fund.


Further, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth has helped bring to life more than 750 financial inclusion programmes across 80-plus countries to tackle income inequality. In India, the Center has been working with Maharashtra-based NGOs such as Mann Deshi and Industree foundation to support women entrepreneurs with access to digital tools, network, and knowledge to grow their business.


With the grant, Mann Deshi Foundation and Bank has created the first rural women Chamber of Commerce with three chapters to serve 10,000 business owners through knowledge transfer of business acumen skills, peer mentoring, access to financing and markets, and identification of supply chain linkages. The partnership with Industree Foundation has facilitated the adoption of digital payments among 100,000 women artisans across India.


(Edited by Athirupa Geetha Manichandar)


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