Women In Majority at Upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Summit

The Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, to be attended by 1,500 participants from 150 countries, will be co-hosted by India and the US with the theme of “Women First, Prosperity for All” to encourage women entrepreneurs and foster economic growth globally. The Summit has been organised annually since 2010 by the US government and this time NITI Aayog has been partnered with to host it in India in Hyderabad during November 28-30, 2017. Previous editions have been held in Washington DC, Istanbul, Dubai, Marrakech, Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur and Silicon Valley.

What makes this year’s summit very significant, is that at least 52.5% of entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem supporters at GES are women and 31.5% are below 30 years. “This is the first time that women have been the majority of participants at a GES. Women from 127 countries are participating. 10 plus countries will be represented by an all-female delegation, including Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Israel,” said Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. He went on to say that the focus of the summit will be on four areas including energy and infrastructure, digital economy, health and life science and media and entertainment. The theme of the Summit will be ‘Women First, Prosperity for All‘. Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump will head the United States delegation to the Summit.

Alan Rosling, a former Director of Tata Sons, was recently quoted as saying ‘Entrepreneurship in India is imperfect because only 6 per cent of them are women and so we have a major failure there’. He went on to say that women face a problem because venture capitalists don’t provide funding to women. This was corroborated by a recent study conducted by University of San Diego, where they found that 90% of venture capitalists are men, who prefer to invest in companies run by other males, which creates multiple barriers for women and effectively keeps them out of the ranks of entrepreneurship.

Women entrepreneurs

In India, women in entrepreneurial positions are still far and few. Some prominent ones are Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (Biocon), Shahnaz Hussain (Shahnaz Herbals), Rashmi Sinha (Slideshare), Shradha Sharma (YourStory), Sabina Chopra (Yatra.com), Suchi Mukherjee (Limeroad), Radhika Ghai Aggarwal (ShopClues), among others. Women in India face many hurdles in their journey towards entrepreneurship- societal pressures, lack of funding, inadequate mentoring, lack of government support, inherent patriarchy which causes differential treatment- the journey for women entrepreneurs is not an easy one in India. A recent report by the World Bank says that India can grow in double-digits if more women participate in the product line of the Indian economy.

We’re very happy that a record number of women are participating in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, and hope that this is the beginning of social change, and of more women entering the economy in their own right. India can benefit in multitude if the women are equal participants in nation building, and entrepreneurship is key in this.