Gender roles and gender biases are strong in India at many levels and there is overall less participation of women in the formal workforce, whether educated or not.
Even fewer women are found in senior executive roles, said Hardika Shah, founder and CEO of Kinara Capital, in an interview for DealStreetAsia’s inaugural report – Female Founders in India 2021 – on the gender funding gap in India.
“Less than 14% of all businesses in India are women-owned, so the gender gap is real. It hasn’t happened just once that a potential investor has only addressed my chief operating officer, looking right past me. Another potential investor insisted that I don’t hire a female CFO since I am already a woman – something that wouldn’t even occur to someone to tell male founders even if they end up with no women on their management team or their board,” Shah said.
“Initially, my decision to bring more women into management roles was questioned, so the only thing left to do was to keep building on my vision and keep seeking partners who are mission-aligned with us,” she added.
Founded in 2011, Kinara Capital provides fast and flexible loans in the Rs2-25 lakh range without taking property collateral from small business entrepreneurs. In April, the company had raised $50 million in its Series E funding round led by Nuveen’s Global Impact Fund and Triple Jump’s ASN Microkredietfonds Fund.