Women entrepreneurs don’t get enough support: Ameera Shah


Ameera Shah, promoter and managing director of diagnostics firm Metropolis Healthcare, spoke to deputy editor T. Surendar at Fortune India’s Most Powerful Women event in Mumbai, earlier this year. Here are edited excerpts:

Do you think that women leaders are rising-up fast enough on the corporate ladder?

I think there has definitely been an improvement and progress if I look at the last 10 to 15 years. But I am going to separate women professionals in the corporate set-up and women entrepreneurs. While there has been significant progress with women leaders in corporate India, especially in certain segments like IT, banking and media. Unfortunately the women entrepreneurship segment has severely lagged.

While you are seeing more funding happening at this point of time at the start-up level, it is very difficult to find women who have managed to scale businesses above Rs 5 crore of revenue. That’s the reason you will find that at these events you will find same women are commemorated every year because you are not able find women who have been able to scale business like some of have. A lot of that is because of lack of confidence, lack of support, lack of money, lack of opportunity and generally the fact that the country still believes that women still have a role in the society which is not really in the workplace and in the business place.

What do you think is stopping entrepreneurship amongst women?

It is a long list of things but I would say there are some internal and external reasons. The internal reasons are really more linked to women themselves, and them not having the belief and risk-taking ability to really able to go out there and build something of their own in an entrepreneurial way. On the outside these journeys are lonely but are supported by family, supported by investors who believe in you, by markets that encourage you. Unfortunately for women you don't get that support and that confidence from the external world. Because every time you are about go out there to do something there is somebody, your husband, your father, your cousin, your brother, your aunt, your mother, who will tell you to take it slow. For men it’s a very different kind of encouragement. If a man tries to do something there are 20 people who will tell them to go ahead and try. For a woman it is very different.

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