As the year 2017 was coming to an end, in November PM Narendra Modi’s full speech at GES 2017comes to mind. Here the PM had proclaimed “women empowerment is vital for India’s future”. In Indian mythology, women are an incarnation of Shakti – the Goddess of power, we believe women empowerment is vital to our development, said our PM.
This was good lead in to 2018, which created great inroads for women entrepreneurs.
At the onset, in January 2018, PM Modi hailed women achievers in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address. When he said that “today, there are many sectors where women play a pioneering role and establish milestones.” So, the year really kicked off at a high point for women entrepreneurs.
The year saw a number of conferences happening. The top 5 conferences for Women Entrepreneurs in 2018 held around the world were – Million Dollar Women Summit-April 4th to 5th, , eWomenNetwork Entrepreneur Conference and Expo-July 12th to 14th, Women in Technology Summit-June 10th to 12th, , Inc. Women’s Summit-September 18th, Forbes Women Summit- June 18th to 19th and so on.
Important summits of 2018 for women entrepreneurs in India included – The Startup Summit 2018 held in April; Women Entrepreneurship Summi, in August, International Women Entrepreneurs Summit 2018 from September 3rd to 5Th with the theme: “Equality begins with Economic Emowerment”, and Techsparks was held in October where the benchmark platform where start-ups, emerging business leaders, corporate executives, policy makers, investors, innovators and media houses come together to discuss, debate and develop ideas and technology that build the shape of entrepreneurship narrative in India.
The Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program, carried out in the spring of 2018, engaged young Indian women with aspirations to establish and run their own technology-based enterprises.
Before the year was through, in November, eight Indian-American women honoured in US, who were trailblazers for Indian-American women in many fields and who made major contributions in diverse areas of politics, business, civil rights activism, astrophysics art and culture. The prestige was bestowed on them at the inaugural American Bazaar Women Entrepreneurs and Leaders Gala.
Asia was not far behind. Female Entrepreneurs day 2018 was held in China, which aimed to help women entrepreneurs to network, increase their knowledge and influence others. This was to help increase budding entrepreneurs’ and business women’s networks, knowledge and influence.
Not trailing behind, in India the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) instituted the National Entrepreneurship Awards 2018 (NEA), aiming to catalyse a cultural shift in youth towards self-employment and entrepreneurship. To recognise first-generation entrepreneurs and organisations or individuals supporting the entrepreneurs in their journey. Then there were events like – Covestro, which imed to inspire over 3,000 girl students in India with #STEM4GirlsFestival2018. The journey of #STEM4GirlsFestival2018 started with an aim to educate and encourage more than 3000 girls across 6 different cities of India.
The other side of the story…
It seemed that the world’s fastest-growing startup ecosystem is no place for female entrepreneurs. Only two Indian cities have made it to a recent ranking of the 50 most favourable global places for them. India’s Silicon Valley, Bengaluru, ranked 40th, while Delhi came in at 49 in the ranking by technology major Dell and consultancy firm IHS Markit.
What do new women entrepreneurs now have in store?
Industry experts readily believe that the whole of India is now vibrant as far as offering a blend of talent and opportunity is concerned. It seems, technology is infectious for it is now imminently part of entrepreneurial models. The newbies have better avenues to explore technology-driven models to solve societal issues; and contribute to newer/positive smart trends; more than entrepreneurs a decade ago had (and could do). Hence, the takeaway for young entrepreneurs would be the availability (and acceptance) of just the right kind of technology across domains. It all depends on how well you leverage these.
2019 will see general elections, and that is beginning to stir up a lot of action. Frankly, in all good faith, it looks like women will be entering an eventful phase, when they can hope to see their businesses looking up. And, those waiting to take the step, now is the time to opt out of your 9 to 5 job, and make your start-up dream a reality!
Here’s wishing all of you, a great business-building period ahead….and wish you a fantastic 2019!