Businesswomen in Ghy come in aid for budding women entrepreneurs
• Women entrepreneurs to receive guidance on business management
• Northeast Women Entrepreneurs Forum (NWEF) has been set up by four entrepreneurs of Guwahati
• They will hold monthly meetings and discuss various business aspects
• NWEF founders have received an encouraging response from city’s women-folk
• Resource persons will also be roped in for discussions
Women entrepreneurs in Guwahati will now receive expert guidance on various aspects of starting their own business ventures.
In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the city, a group of successful female entrepreneurs have set up a platform with a view to help and promote the budding businesswomen for setting up their own business entities.
Called the Northeast Women Entrepreneurs Forum (NWEF), the initiative is the brainchild of four businesswomen from Guwahati led by the head of the Centre for Industrial Extension Dr Sriparna Baruah, MD Caproo Solutions and former chairperson FICCI FLO Joyshree Das Verma, MD Inner I Foundation Private Limited Vasavi Acharya Borah and proprietor Amazon Logistics Guwahati and Naharlagun, Sanjukta Dutta.
The forum was formed after the Assam Women Entrepreneurs’ Conclave was organised at Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) in Guwahati in January. The organisers revealed that the primary aim of the seminar was for women who intend to pursue different entrepreneurial ventures to meet and exchange ideas. They added that the seminar’s objective was also to form a database of women entrepreneurs.
The conclave also explored entrepreneurial initiatives undertaken by women from across the state, said one of the participants.
“The NWEF was then set up as a follow up of that conclave and we have now planned a monthly meeting of women entrepreneurs of Guwahati,” informed Borah, one of the founders of the forum.
She added that every month, they would hold discussions on a specific topic such as loan opportunities for financing a business, types of loans available and ways to upscale an already existing business among others.
The founders shared that they had received encouraging responses from many women who have shown their interest in taking part in the initiative.
“There is a lot of interest and curiosity among women regarding business opportunities and start ups and we only want to provide them with concrete knowledge and show the right direction,” said one of the founders of NWEF.
In the next few months, the founders have firmed up a plan to rope in various resource persons such as chartered accounts and finance experts to provide deeper knowledge of the respective fields for upcoming entrepreneurs.
“The forum will also provide an opportunity to entrepreneurs for networking which is crucial to building a successful business,” said Borah.
Apart from the traditional ventures which are usually pursued by women, the NWEF will also encourage women entrepreneurs to explore various other ventures.
“They can look into the business opportunities besides the ones which already exist in the market,” said an official.
Further, the forum will also help entrepreneurs who were doing their business in isolation to integrate with others and participate in seminars.
The founders said that gradually the NWEF will be further extended and they will open its branches in different parts of the northeast.
For the first meeting of the forum, the organisers have registered 40 entrepreneurs from Guwahati.
Challenges galore for female entrepreneurs
Elaborating on some of the impediments faced by female entrepreneurs, Borah said that the foremost challenge for them is actually taking the first step for a business venture.
Experts say that certain ventures are easier for women which conform to the society’s norms. For instance, if someone wants to start a handloom and handicraft business from their house or if someone wants to work in a beauty parlour where timings are flexible, it becomes easier for them to launch such a business.
“But if you ask a woman to start up an industry, it becomes difficult since she will have to devote a lot of time to it and it might also involve travelling,” said Vasavi.
Additionally, experienced entrepreneurs say that many times women do not pursue their dreams of entrepreneurship seriously since they are usually not the primary bread-earners of the family. So, their business gets reduced to merely a side pursuit.
“It is high time that women should take up their entrepreneurial ventures seriously and think of ways to strengthen and grow them. Their families must also not put restrictions on them and be supportive of their business pursuits,” said Borah.
Experts feel that another challenge faced by female entrepreneurs is managing their finances, especially in the beginning of starting up a venture.