On the special occasion of this year’s International Women’s Day, T-Hub hosted “The Womenpreneurs”, a unique event that brought together influential ecosystem stakeholders to honour and celebrate the incredible contributions of women entrepreneurs to India’s vibrant startup ecosystem.
The theme of “The Womenpreneurs” focused on the spirit of “innovate, inspire and ignite” to understand the risky and challenging entrepreneurial journey undertaken by women founders while growing their business. The high-profile phygital event brought together top-level women entrepreneurs, influential leaders and government representatives to make a strong case for advancing women’s economic empowerment and equality in India’s entrepreneurial landscape. It drew 20+ eminent speakers to discourse on topics such as generating transformational employment creation, funding tactics and boosting women entrepreneurship in the post-pandemic situation, among others. The impressive lineup of panelists underscored the importance of promoting female empowerment on a global scale to ensure women are not locked out of our economies.
The event saw participation from 250+ attendees and strong representation from ecosystem enablers, such as WE-Hub, Telangana State Innovation Cell (TSIC) and others. Notable among the panelists were Dr. S. Glory Swarupa, Director General, National Institute of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (NIMSME), Anu Acharya, CEO, Mapmygenome, Cerasela Tanasescu, Director, La Trobe University and Dr. Shanta Thoutam, Chief innovation officer (CIO), Telangana State Innovation Cell (TSIC).
“It’s apt that we are celebrating women entrepreneurs on International Women’s Day, as starting a business is the first and most significant step a woman can take towards economic empowerment,” said Anu Acharya. “Opportunities abound for women founders who want to break into the competitive STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) industry and help accelerate progress toward gender parity.”
By hosting a first-of-its kind event at this scale, T-Hub reaffirmed its commitment to empower women entrepreneurs, both within and outside the Telangana ecosystem.
“The overall number of women enterprises and jobs these enterprises create in the country are very less currently, and I believe that all the ecosystem stakeholders should come and work together to find ways and means that will help create an impact where, potentially, we can create 40 million women enterprises in India in the coming years and possibly create about 150 to 170 million jobs from those enterprises,” said MSR, CEO, T-Hub, in his welcome address to the maiden “The Womenpreneurs” event, held at T-Hub’s premises on March 7, 2022. “This definitely requires a profound transformation that will help empower our personal, economic and social status. Today’s collaboration is one such opportunity for us to reflect on how to come up with ideas on how we can accelerate this whole transformation piece.”
Dr. S. Glory Swarupa emphasised the need for women entrepreneurs to achieve their full economic potential and gain access to adequate financial support. “One of the biggest difficulties for women is access to finance,” she said. “Studies have shown women entrepreneurs can create millions of jobs by contributing to the economy. As a national institution taking responsibility for women’s participation in MSME, we have a three-year vision on how women can overcome barriers to economic empowerment. We have shared a proposal with the MSME ministry on the difficulties women entrepreneurs face, along with proposed solutions in this regard.”
The event was broken up into a fireside chat and multiple panel discussions.
A fireside chat on ‘Women Trailblazing Entrepreneurship’ was moderated by Deepthi R, CEO, WE-Hub. The panelists included Tanuja Abburi, founder, Beyond Pinks, Kritika Narula, Lead, Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy, Startup India, Government of India, Rashida Adenwala, Co-founder & Partner, R & A Associates, Jugnu Jain, CEO, Sapien Biosciences, Sreedevi Devireddy, VP – Startup Ecosystem, XELP and Sabina Kamal, founder & COO Paytm m’Loyal (Mobiquest).
Rashmi Pimpale, CEO, Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH), Government of Telangana, led the panel discussion on ‘Women Entrepreneurs as the Next Frontier for Employment’.
The panelists included Madhura Dasgupta Sinha, founder & CEO, Aspire For Her, Samir Sathe, Executive Vice President, Wadhwani Foundation, Poornima Shenoy and Supriya Panchangam, the co-authors of Accelerating Her Business.
Panel Discussion on ‘Women Entrepreneurs as the Next Frontier for Employment’
One of the highlights of the event was the book launch of Accelerating Her Business that underscores the need for conducting effective women-oriented accelerator programs.
“The Womenpreneurs” also invited accomplished women entrepreneurs like Priya Anant, co-founder, Life Circle, Kalpana Ramesh, founder, Rainwater Harvest Project and Krupala Nune, COO, LifeOfGirl, to share their inspirational stories of building successful enterprises.
The event felicitated 50 women entrepreneurs and change-makers in recognition of their stellar contribution to shaping the future of entrepreneurship both within India and on the global map. Among women entrepreneurs who were felicitated at the event include Anindita Banik, CEO, SmartWinnr, Sarada Kalavapudi, founder, Hivedin, Aparna Bhogu, co-founder, Monitra, Hema Nandiraju, co-founder, HESA Global and Nirajita Mitra, Senior Director, Oracle India, among others.
At the conclusion of the event, Startup India Awards 2022 was announced by Aakanksha Chandra, Associate, Startup India, Government of India. The Awards recognise women innovators across 17 sectors, 50 sub-sectors and 7 special categories.
The event wrapped up on an optimistic note, with key stakeholders in concurrence that if women entrepreneurs want to make a difference to their communities, they need to pave the way for creating a more inclusive culture for women in the world of business.
Dr. Shanta Thoutam summed it up: “The challenges faced by women entrepreneurs are being overcome through incubation centres like T-Hub and WE HUB. I urge women to have faith in their decisions while running their own businesses.”
A more detailed blog about the event will be published soon. Do watch this space for more. Check more glimpses from the event here.