“I want to start my own business. But I’m an Indian woman and there are too many constraints on me!”
“Can I start my own business?”
“How much time, effort and money will I have to invest?”
Sell Merchandise on Amazon eCommerce
Plan Social Events
Provide Tutoring to Students
A 2020 Forbes article revealed that 3 out of 4 (75%) Indian women neither work as paid employees, nor do they seek paid employment. And this is a real pity, because when more women participate in the national labor force, it helps create a more robust economy that benefits every man, woman and child in India.
But all is not doom and gloom.
India also has millions of women entrepreneurs. As of 2019, India had 13.5-15.7 million women-owned enterprises, representing 20% of all enterprises, and providing employment to 22-27 million Indians.
But there’s still scope for growth. By creating more women-owned enterprises, India can generate 150-170 million jobs – which is over 25% of new jobs required for the entire working-age Indian population by 2030.
So what kind of business can Indian women do?
If we’re being imaginative – ANY KIND!
But it’s more important to be practical. So in this short-and-sweet article, we present 3 low-cost business ideas for aspiring Indian women entrepreneurs. Almost any Indian woman can start a business in these areas. As long as she works hard, is committed to her enterprise, builds her competence, and can make a small financial investment – there’s no reason why any Indian woman cannot be an entrepreneur!
#1: Sell Merchandise on Amazon eCommerce
In India, Amazon is frequently known as “apni dukan” (our shop), indicating how much of a presence this eCommerce giant has already built up in the country. Millions of Indians shop on Amazon for everything from clothes and books, to electronics, home essentials, appliances, and more. Consequently, Amazon represents a huge opportunity for Indian women who want to get into the entrepreneurship game.
It’s fairly easy to start selling on Amazon India. But before she does, it’s important that the seller educate herself about the selling opportunities, prices/costs, shipping rules, etc. She must also have enough time and space to dedicate to her business, as well as access to a reliable supply chain infrastructure (buy from X, sell to Y, ship through Z, etc.)
If you are an Indian woman and are thinking about selling merchandise on Amazon, follow this process:
First, register on Amazon’s seller site here with personal details, GST/PAN information and an active bank account.
Next, list your products on Amazon India.
To store and deliver, you have 3 options:
Fulfilment by Amazon: Amazon takes care of storage, packing, delivery and customer support
Amazon shipping: Seller stores products, Amazon ships them
Self-shipping: Seller handles both storage and shipping through a 3rd-party courier service
Select the option that works best for you.
All funds from completed sales are deposited in the seller’s bank account every 7 days, ensuring a healthy cash flow. Plus, Amazon provides numerous tools to help sellers grow and expand their business. A financial investment is required to set up the Amazon shop, but once it gets going, it can be a great source of income, not to mention financial independence for Indian women.
#2: Plan Social Events
India is a highly social country. Every year, Indians enjoy dozens of festivals, special occasions and public holidays. Many of these occasions are marked by special events, whether it’s a party or pooja, hawan or sangeet.
Almost all these events require a fair amount of detailed planning, scheduling and organizing. Indian women with organization skills and a flair for social jugglery are very well-suited for planning social events.
It’s fairly easy to get started with such a business. A few key contacts, an ability to communicate with potential clients, and good time-management and money-management skills are enough to set up an event planning business. It’s also important to build good working relationships with vendors: florists, caterers/restaurants, party decorations suppliers, priests, hall owners/trustees, etc.
Furthermore, to keep the business going, the business owner must also invest time and money in:
Printing business cards and flyers
Planning, scheduling and time management software (computer or Smartphone)
Income and taxation tools OR CA and income tax advisor
Another business idea for women entrepreneurs: food/catering.
In India, every social event revolves around food. For the millions of Indian women home-makers who are expert cooks, a food business presents a golden opportunity to monetize their skills. If Shashi Deshpande from English Vinglish can become financially independent running a laddoo business, any Indian woman can!
A word of caution – in the post-COVID world, social events are rare, and allow limited attendance. The scenario has affected event planners to some extent. But events do still happen and event planners remain in demand, so this remains an excellent business option for Indian women.
#3: Provide Tutoring to Students
Tutoring is in every sense a zero-cost business. Indian women who are educated, who enjoy teaching, and who cannot work outside the home are perfectly suited for this business. Millions of Indian students need help with their academics to supplement their learning at school or college. Educated Indian women can utilize their education, knowledge and teaching skills to help these students, while earning a good income. Frequently, students come to the tutor’s home and bring their own study materials, so all the tutor has to invest in the enterprise is their time.
Another option is to provide tutoring online. Dozens of Indian websites offer tutoring to students on subjects as varied as Maths, Science and English to Computer Science, Programming, Economics, and more. This creates numerous opportunities for educated Indian women, if they have a computing device with reliable access to the Internet.
Aspiring women tutors can also work with a tutoring agency or center. Although this is more of a job rather than an entrepreneurial enterprise, it’s still a good source of income and a route to financial independence.
A final word
Entrepreneurship opens up new doors to independence, financial freedom and self-sufficiency. This is as true of men as it is of women. Many Indian women have to contend with numerous social and familial constraints. But they can become independent entrepreneurs even within these constraints. This short, action-packed article is an attempt to help them on this journey.
Are you an Indian woman? Do you aspire to become a successful entrepreneur? Tell us what you think of these ideas, or share your own!