From Margins to Mainstream: State and Private Initiatives Shaping Women’s Collectives in the Digital Economy

Sharon Buteau, Vidyuth Sreenivasan, Mridulya Narasimhan, John Victor Arun Kumar

June 2023

As the world moves towards an increasingly interconnected and technology-driven future, Indian businesses have not only embraced this paradigm shift but are actively reaping its immense benefits. However, this disruptive growth in e-commerce and social commerce has not borne equal benefits for all businesses. Despite their important role in India’s economic growth story, many small businesses, particularly those that are women-led, find themselves facing significant challenges in embracing e-commerce and digitisation.

This research study was undertaken by LEAD at Krea University as part of its initiative Udyogini, which seeks to build evidence and knowledge for enabling women’s entrepreneurship and answers the following key questions:

  • What are the challenges faced by women-led businesses in leveraging digital commerce for business?
  • What are the efforts taken so far by private and public sector organisations to support women-led businesses and women’s collectives?
  • What role can collectives, e-commerce platforms and public institutions play in ensuring that women-led businesses can enjoy a level-playing field in digital commerce?

The study highlights the need for increased support and resources to empower women entrepreneurs and bridge the digital divide. The publication also underscores the need for platform-level and system-level changes to improve market access for women collectives and enable them to benefit from these platforms.


Learning Note

Thematic Area

Small, Growing Businesses and Employment