NASSCOM Foundation and Gen empower 200 women agripreneurs with digital skills in two districts of Maharashtra
Laying down a strong foundation to empower rural women entrepreneurs in the digital economy, NASSCOM Foundation and Gen, a global company, have successfully trained women entrepreneurs in Latur and Osmanabad districts in Maharashtra.
According to a statement from the foundation, this initiative to digitally upskill women has been successful with 200 women entrepreneurs in agriculture and agriculture-allied businesses. Nearly 99% of the entrepreneurs trained under this project are now able to use digital communication tools to boost their businesses and almost all of them have been successfully skilled in digital adoption.
Empowering women to do more with Tech
Trishala Ramesh Mane, an entrepreneur from Latur, had a positive experience with the foundation. “I was doing quite well in my businesses, but had very limited knowledge of a smartphone and did not know how to use it to expand my business. After the training, I could make and receive calls, read WhatsApp messages, and watch YouTube videos to enhance my business," she said.
Executed by NASSCOM's grassroots partner, Swayam Shiksham Prayog (SSP) has helped narrow the existing gender gap in access to digital technology. So far, this training has provided opportunities for women entrepreneurs to find market linkages and knowledge of various existing government schemes in available at their disposal. Besides empowering entrepreneurs with digital skills, it has helped them establish, maintain, and accelerate their businesses in agriculture, dairy farming, and other such industries.
Gender disparity in entrepreneurship
A report by Bain and Company reveals that COVID-19 has affected almost 73% of women-run enterprises in India, while the revenue of nearly 20% of female entrepreneurs dwindled to zero.
"Gender disparity in economic participation remains significantly high and deeply embedded in our social fabric," said Nidhi Bhasin, Chief Executive Officer, NASSCOM Foundation. "That said, we have seen first-hand how technology fosters inclusion by creating equity in opportunities. It is a catalyst that enables women to become economically active, particularly in this ever-evolving digital world," she added.
Recent research by MicroSave Consulting also highlights that as many as 82% of female-owned micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) reported a decrease in their income, compared to 72% of male-owned enterprises. They faced greater restrictions that made them unsustainable, including decreasing demand, lack of knowledge of digital technologies, rising costs of inputs, inability to access markets, and an increased burden of care work at home, among other factors.
“We are here to help women unlock new possibilities for the future through technology. In collaboration with NASSCOM Foundation, we are providing access to resources to help close the gender gap and give women the tools they need to thrive in today’s digital world," said Kim Allman, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Gen.
Digital transformation is an enduring journey. However, through initiatives like these, women entrepreneurs are being supported with digital knowledge, and educated on online channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube which are critical to scale businesses in the digital economy.
This story has been updated to reflect a different headline and correct typos.
Edited by Akanksha Sarma