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Women Entrepreneurs: What does the Future Hold on May 16, 2012 at Bangalore

(L-R) Ms. Priya Chetty Rajagopal, Chairperson, IACC Women’s Business Council & VP Stanton Chase International;  Vasanthi Srinivasan, Associate Professor IIM-B, and Chairperson for the Centre of Corporate Excellence and Citizenship; Revathi Kasturi, Founder and CEO of Laqsh Job Skills Academy; Shukla Bose, CEO of Parikrma Humanity Foundation; Uma Reddy, Managing Director of Hi-Tech Magnetics & Electronics Pvt Ltd and Vikas Bhonsle, Director and GM, Mid-Market, Dell India

Women constitute around half of the total world population. So is it in India.They are therefore, regarded as the better half of the society. The Indian women are no more treated as a quiet, supportive, shadowy half of society. They are also enjoying the fruit of globalization marking an influence on the domestic and international sphere, and increasing success as economic beings.  They have carved a niche for themselves in the largely male dominated world. In a recent survey it is revealed that the female entrepreneurs from India are generating more wealth than the women in any part of the world

Entrepreneurship has gained greater significance at global level under changing economic scenario. Global economy in general and Indian economy in particular is poised for accelerated growth driven by entrepreneurship. In India, the role of women entrepreneurs is more in the unorganised sector whereas the number of enterprises initiated and being run by women in the formal sector is small.  Enterprises started by women are no longer confined to conventional fields but are venturing into the field of computers, engineering and electronics.  

The IACC Women’s Business Council held a panel discussion in Bangalore on May 16th which bore testimony to the fact that women have arrived on the scene.

Uma Reddy, the Managing Director of Hi-Tech Magnetics & Electronics Pvt Ltd, said that when she started her company, people could not imagine a woman managing a company. People are still very hesitant to place big orders when they see a woman entrepreneur. They give  a small order and check the capability first. This challenge needs to be overcome.

Uma Reddy brushed aside the misconception that being an entrepreneur entails flexibility in timings and more free time in hand. The Panelists clearly outlined that the challenges for men and  women entrepreneurs are almost the same and it is more about juggling your professional as well as family life.

Revathi Kasturi, Founder and CEO of Laqsh Job Skills Academysaid that more young people are taking the plunge today. “ There is no right time, whenever you feel you are ready, you can start your own venture. The scenario in the country has changed in the past decade and there are people who are successful even in the non-traditional industries.

“ I got into social entrepreneurship as it was my calling. I had saved some money up and started out from my kitchen table. In the 26 years of my corporate stint, I critiqued on how many people needed to be there to help others and finally took the plunge” stated Shukla Bose, who is a social entrepreneur and the CEO of Parikrma Humanity Foundation. In 2003, she began Parikrma with 165 children on the roof top of a slum. She emphasized that a social entrepreneur should be able to marry compassion to passion.

Vasanthi Srinivasan, Associate Professor IIM-B, and Chairperson for the Centre of Corporate Excellence and Citizenshipspoke about how India has a long way to go with regard to women entrepreneurs. “ While men already wear tags of breadwinners, aspiring women entrepreneurs are often told “ Why don’t you join your father’s business?” Or, “ You will be married soon, wait and see what your husband feels,” said Vasanthi.

“Women Entrepreneurs account for just 12% of the format sector in the country”, pointed out Uma.

Although the percentage isn’t indicative of rapid strides in women pioneered entrepreneurship ventures, the social environment is conducive for nascent ideas.

“ Today’s youngsters are able to recognise and do what they really want to do” indicated Revathi Kasturi. “ I will no longer tell a youngster to first join a large corporation before getting on with entrepreneurial dreams.”

Vikas Bhonsle, Director and GM, Mid-Market, Dell Indiasaid that several mid-segment businesses are either led or pioneered by women. “ This is an outcome of passion,” pointed out Priya Chetty Rajagopal, Chairperson, IACC Women’s Business Council & VP Stanton Chase International.

 

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