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Women owned businesses are better attuned to handle the fallout from the great pandemic, according to a Bain & Co. report. And 90 per cent of those surveyed expect to survive this crisis. Image Credit: PTI

Mumbai: 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 per cent had already made business shifts - including new products or services - and another 24 per cent planned to change by December. About 90 per cent 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 per cent of all enterprises, with most of them largely single-person operations, making survival crucial.

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Not been easy

Women-owned businesses saw a sharp decline in revenue: 73 per cent reported being negatively impacted by the pandemic, and almost 20 per cent were nearly wiped out, according to the survey.

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 per cent of the businesses reported including new products and services, while 46 per cent 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. "A few characteristics of women-owned enterprises in India, such as being service-oriented, smaller and less capital-intensive, enabled faster adaptation."