(Bloomberg) — Most female entrepreneurs in Indian cities were quick to change their business model and predict their operations will survive after the coronavirus pandemic ravaged revenues, according to a new study.
Bain & Co., Google, and AWE Foundation surveyed almost 350 women entrepreneurs and small businesses and found that 54% had already made business shifts — including new products or services — and another 24% planned to change by December. About 90% said they believe they will survive the crisis.
Covid-19 had a disproportionate impact on women all over the world. In India, which has a vast gender gap across almost all social indicators, women are even more vulnerable. The South Asian nation has as many as 16 million women-owned businesses, fewer than 20% of all enterprises, with most of them largely single-person operations, making survival crucial.
Women-owned businesses saw a sharp decline in revenue: 73% reported being negatively impacted by the pandemic, and almost 20% were nearly wiped out, according to the survey.
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The changes made in business models include releasing new products or services, digital sales and delivery channels, as well as reorienting supply chains, sales and marketing. Some 60% of the businesses reported including new products and services, while 46% of entrepreneurs focused on retraining and learning new skills.
“Post the initial few months, there has been rapid responsiveness,” said Megha Chawla, a partner at Bain and the study’s lead author. “A few characteristics of women-owned enterprises in India, such as being service-oriented, smaller and less capital-intensive, enabled faster adaptation.”
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