World is a better place when men and women are equal: Dr Sangeeta Reddy, Past President of FICCI

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Hyderabad, August 10, 2023….“Aadhyasri – National Conference on Women Entrepreneurship” held on Thursday at Hotel ITC Kakatiya.

The day-long conference was organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in association with The Government of Telangana and WE-Hub.

The theme of the conference was Beat the Odds – challenges to opportunities. About 150 women entrepreneurs, budding entrepreneurs, and business management students participated.

Addressing the hall full of audience, Dr Sangeeta Reddy, Past President of FICCI, Chair-G-20 Empowerment and Joint MD of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd said it is good to note that health insurance is being addressed well. It has its roots in Andhra Pradesh, As early as the year 2000, my father initiated it with one rupee a day in a village. While appreciating the same another area of equal concern is under-insurance, where people are not sufficiently or adequately covered. Staying healthy is equally important so we need less insurance, she said.

The speaker further talked about women and their capabilities. She said the world is better when men and women are equal. If women participate in the economy identically to men could increase annual global GDP by up to an extra $28 trillion by 2025.

Only 23% of executives around the world are women. The issue of gender imbalance though rising must improve. Women are capable of doing more, Dr Sangeeta Reddy added.

She spoke about two initiatives Mentorship and TechEquity, the two platforms developed by G-20 EMPOWER of which she is the Chair. G-20 Empower serves as a platform to learn from insights and best practices across industries and businesses, she said

She added that the measures proposed by G-20 Empower were Mentorship and TechEquity. The mentorship platform was designed to bring together mentors and mentees on a common platform for the good of all.

Tech Equity, she said, caters to women across disciplines and in different walks of life. It introduces digital, financial literacy, technical skill development, and core skill enhancement, to gain knowledge and skills necessary in a digitized world. Our aim is to see 10 million women sign-up in the next year to these platforms. She urged all to utilize the opportunity thrown open.

Mahima Datla Chairperson–FICCI Telangana State Council and Managing Director of Biological E Ltd, giving her welcome remarks said ‘the conference was being organised to celebrate the spirit and invaluable contribution of women entrepreneurs. And said that gender parity in economic participation can add a staggering $ 28 trillion to the global GDO by the year 2025.

She remarked that in 2020, startups helmed by women secured a commendable $ 2.8 billion in Venture Capital funding, which is a testament to their resilience, innovation, and prowess. From tech to healthcare, from fashion to finance, women are not just participating–they are leading innovating, and revolutionizing their sectors.

The conference would shed light on the journey of entrepreneurship–celebrating success stories, discussing challenges, and unveiling the secret sauce behind the success. The key discussion, she added would revolve around challenges and opportunities faced by Indian WomenPreneurs,

Women entrepreneurs are not just business leaders, they are change-makers, role models, and visionaries. She gave examples of a few women role models.

On the flip side, challenges still persist, access to capital, vital mentorship, and inclusive networks are still barriers to overcome, she said. Gender biases, societal stereotypes, and limited representation impede many women entrepreneurs from realizing their full potential, she concluded.

Prof. Bejon Kumar Misra, an International Consumer Policy expert said the smile and trust of consumers is important for any business to flourish. The women entrepreneurs in the hall must bear this in their entrepreneurial journey. He suggested to We Hub have a 24×7 helpline, to address any issues of women entrepreneurs

Ms. Manju Sharma, General Manager of State Bank of India spoke about various initiatives of the bank supporting women entrepreneurs and startups. She spoke about a dedicated branch for start-ups, the first in the city that came up in Gachibowli near T-Hub. It is the fifth in India, which provides end-to-end support services to startups. She also highlighted another initiative of the bank, ‘Contactless Lending’ to ensure uniformity, transparency, and a reduced turnaround time in the loan approval process. We are leveraging technology to offer the best services possible, she added.

The day-long event was marked by four-panel discussions on the wider subjects of greater importance to women entrepreneurs. These include Challenges and Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs in India; Women Health and Empowerment. Another session was on the theme. The last panel discussion was about the TechEquity Platform, Bridging the Gender Digital Divide. It is said over 90% of jobs today have a digital component and digital skills.