Pandemic played havoc with the lives of working women. 47% of women lost jobs due to covid, while men lost just 7% said Kavitha Kalvakuntla, MLC.
Out of 47% women who lost jobs, not many are likely to come back. Employability of women is less than 10%. Pandemic has directly affected women’s employment. So you need to extend a helping hand to women to come back to work. Please hire more women, she gave a clarion call. She told the industry leaders on the dias in particular and employers in general to hire more women. Start employing more women from today onwards, she told them.
Kavitha was Chief Guest at the inauguration of Second Edition of Business Women Expo-2022, India’s largest women-owned businesses expo BWE-2022, featuring a novel and disruptive businesses and their products.
It is jointly hosted by Hitex and COWE (Confederation of Women Enterprises) India. TiE Hyderabad is its knowledge partner. The other supporting bodies include the Development Commissionerate of the Ministry of MSME, DICCI, HYSEA, FTCCI and others.
Over 150 women entrepreneurs from across India are showcasing their products.
According to World Bank, only 21% of women in India are working, while the world average is 47% and the USA is 86%. If we reach this number of 86%, then there is a direct benefit to our GDP. They will be contributing 4.2% to our GDP besides that every year it can add 19 billion US dollars to our nation’s economy, said Kavitha.
I will work hand in hand with organisations like COWE, who made me today part of their family. We need to focus on three things to develop women’s entrepreneurship. The first one is policy advocacy. Exclusive Industrial parks for women lead businesses are fine. But what we need is 10% in every industrial corridor must be exclusively reserved for women, Kavitha told.
The second thing we need to focus on is creating awareness among the women about various schemes the governments offer to develop women entrepreneurship. Not many women are aware of it. It is found that a meager 17% of women are aware of the various schemes introduced by governments, she told. Women bodies in particular and other industrial associations must create awareness about these, Kavitha said.
The third most important thing is women need access to financial institutions. Every women entrepreneur needs to be attached to one financial institution for their capital requirement. The World Bank says 70% women entrepreneurs never got any financial support from any financial institutions. Most of the women’s enterprises are bootstrapped. They start businesses with their own money. It must be changed, Kavitha said.
I am happy to engage with COWE on some of these matters. It is very important to impart a culture of entrepreneurship from the college days in the youth. I am happy to note that COWE’s youth wing is called Young COWE.
Welcoming the gathering Vandana Maheshwari, National President COWE said the theme of International Women’s Day is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. If we do not understand the crux of equality, observing these days is meaningless.
COWE is registered as a hand-holding agency on the Stand-up India portal and currently doing the 2nd Edition of Webinar Series of 20 Webinars on various topical subjects of importance to women entrepreneurship, she added.
Mr Srikanth T.G, Business Head, HITEX said the value additions introduced in the second edition of Business Women Expo are B2B meets, Investor Connect, Job Drive, investor interface, participation of 150 exhibitors from across India.
Bharani Aroll, President of HYSEA said, the IT Industry in the state is contributing 15% to the state’s GDP.
Ms Rashida Adenwala—Vice President, TiE, Hyderabad said on the second day of the Business Women Expo, an Investor Connect program will be organized. Over 70 entrepreneurs showed keen interest and submitted their entries to participate in the Investors Connect Program. We have shortlisted some and curated 20, who will pitch their idea in front of the Jury Panel of Investors and if they like the idea, they will invest in the company, she added.
K Bhaskar Reddy, President of FTCCI who is also the Managing Director, Creamline Dairy Products Ltd. said FTCCI (The Federation of Telangana Chambers of Commerce and Industry) is in the forefront in imparting knowledge to promote women’s entrepreneurship. FTCCI is organising awareness programs in Khammam, Warangal and Nizamabad about rural women entrepreneurship.
D Chandra Sekhar, Additional Development Commissioner, MSME (Micro, Small And Medium Enterprises)-Development Institute said that they have sponsored 54 women entrepreneurs to participate in Business Women Expo. Out of these 34 women are from Telangana and the rest 20 are from Gujarat and other states. We have spent Rs 20 lakhs on the same. Women business owners can also travel abroad to promote their enterprises. For this, we have identified 700 exhibitions. They can apply for the same before March 15. We will give them Rs 1.5 lakh towards the flight ticket and Rs 3 lakh toward the participation. 40% of MSME programs are meant for women he said.
Few notable exhibitors in the expo are Cocotang which offers 121 varieties of tender coconut-based mocktails, pulp shakes and vegan coffees; Holy Waste turning temple waste into useful products; Wud Box which produces bamboo toothbrushes etc; “Vistaraku Leaf Tableware”, which is trying to revive the tradition of eating on leaves; patent applied Millet Bowl, a millet-based Proteinshaik that you can drink and eat and many other.
Some of the innovative and disruptive businesses include.
Dr Neelima’s Cocotang manufactures tender coconut-based drinks. They serve 121 varieties of tender coconut-based mocktails, pulp shakes and vegan coffees which are preservative-and chemical-free.
“Vistaraku Leaf Tableware”, a Hyderabadi couple’s venture which is trying to revive the tradition of eating on leaves.
“Sailaja, a successful entrepreneur in male-dominated hand sanitiser and housekeeping chemical industry.
Though Ms Sailaja, founder underwent many struggles in the initial stages, is now doing well and helping other micro women entrepreneurs. She bagged orders from DRDL, GMR and many others going well.
Holy Waste is a novel social enterprise, run jointly by Maya Vivek and Minal. What the company does is collect temple waste flowers and make them into soaps, incense sticks and natural compost. “We make the divine waste holy again”, says Maya Vivek.
Wud Box is a disruptive venture promoted by Charu Dhyani. It provides bamboo-based kits for hotels (bamboo toothbrushes etc) and natural biodegradable kits to mothers (Coconut Fiber Dish Scrub etc) in the hospitals.
Keerti Chekoti, an NRI returned from Nairobi to India and founded Chek Organics. They produce organic farm products like superfood NONI, Cereals, Legumes, Nuts, Spices, millets, fruits and vegetables. Its flagship product, CHECK ORGANIC NONI JUICE, is made of wonder fruit called NONI, which claims to have 150+ nutraceuticals and other medicinal properties.
Millet Bowl is a disruptive company. It offers a patent filed product Multi Millet Protein Shake. It is ready to drink and eat millet-based products which come with a shelf life of 12 months.
Cottage Wellness, a venture of mother and son run with one single driving factor, let food be thy medicine…meaning, let us lead a healthy life by consuming organic/ naturally grown foods.
Ancient Living, an eco-conscious, alternate lifestyle company bringing forefront the good old childhood games such Gilli Danda, Lagori, Cup and Ball Wooden Toy, Pachisi, Puli Meka Board Game and Covid 19 essentials and others.
The Business Women Expo 2022 is a B2B and B2C exhibition. MSME is supporting 54 stalls through the Procurement and Marketing Support (PMS) Scheme informed Ms Vandana Maheshwari—National President of COWE.
TiE Women is a platform within TiE Global to provide resources to empower women. The initiative has impacted over 200 women and two of them went on and participated in Shark Tank and are also funded to the extent of INR 56 crore, she told.
Business Idea Competition finals will be held during the Business Women Expo. We have received over 100 entries. The finals will be held on 11th March and winners will be given away prizes, informed Ms Jyotsna Cheruvu–President of COWE Hyderabad Chapter.
Madhu Tyagi, Vice President of COWE informed that B2B Meetings will be held in 4 industry verticals like Hospitality, Health Care, Retail and Manufacturing. Through these meetings, businesswomen will be connected to potential customers.
A job drive will be conducted by Qentelli and Progress. The expo has a food entrepreneur pavilion, which is a platform for food entrepreneurs and food innovators. The foodpreneur pavilion has 30 stalls. The expo also has a platform for new business ideas. Along with the expo, a Women’s Run will be held.