Empowering women to become entrepreneurs

Project description

Title: Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs and Start-ups by Women
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, BMZ​​​​​​​
Country: India
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2018 to 2023

Female entrepreneur in her shop in Maharashtra, India; copyright GIZ/Day Dreamers


Women are still disadvantaged in India's economy: the female labour force participation rate of women is currently only 19 per cent. Less than 20 per cent of all Indian companies are run by women. Gender-specific challenges, such as traditional social norms, lack of access to resources and networks, limited mobility, or lack of role models make it difficult for Indian women entrepreneurs to start or develop their own businesses.

Entrepreneurship offers an important opportunity when it comes to increasing women's participation in the economy, creating jobs and harnessing India's growth potential.


The framework conditions for women-led companies in India have been improved.

Participants in the support programme in Telangana, India; copyright GIZ/WE Hub


In order to achieve this objective, the project worked in three areas:

  • Direct support measures for women-led enterprises: Together with regional partners – Dhriiti in the North-East, Empower Foundation in Uttar Pradesh, Mann Deshi Foundation in Maharashtra, Startup Oasis in Rajasthan and WE Hub in Telangana – several months of training took place in smaller towns. The courses were aimed at women who either wished to start a new company (incubation programme) or wished to develop their existing company further (acceleration programme).
  • Improving the ecosystem for companies run by women: The project has developed a training of trainers course (WINcubate) in order to support existing incubators to adapt their programmes to the needs of women-led businesses. In addition, the project supported the development of formalised networks of women entrepreneurs in four different Indian States and advised various ministries on policy development.
  • Mindset change through film and media campaign: In order to contribute to a change in traditional norms and gender stereotypes and to make successful women entrepreneurs visible as role models, the project used innovative communication products: Short films, a podcast, radio, television and press features, video portraits and a graphic novel.

Last update: December 2022