More than 200 women entrepreneurs from India and abroad participated in FIWE’s 6th International Conference of women entrepreneurs held recently in the capital from Mar 23rd-25th, 2022. The conference themed, “Mission Possible”, was organized in association with Ministry of MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) in collaboration with ISID (Institute for Studies in Industrial Development) and included participation from countries like Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Nigeria, Singapore and Sri Lanka.
Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs (FIWE), a National-level organization, founded in 1993, is one of India’s Premier Institution for Women thoroughly devoted towards Entrepreneurship Development in the country. With its branches in different states of India and 28 member associations spread throughout India, it has been mentoring and empowering women entrepreneurs since past three decades. It has a membership base of 15,000 individual members/professionals
MSME Joint Secretary Ateesh Kumar Singh inaugurated the Conference. Speaking at the occasion, Singh said, “One of the areas picked by the Conference is to dig into the current challenges being faced by the sector, another is inclusion. We would love to receive the outcome of the conference which would be of immense value in policy formulation, program implementation and future planning for the sector by the government.
“The pandemic has thrown new challenges for MSMEs, while the sector is already grappling with generic challenges. MSMEs need to chart new paths, new strategies and systems to put in place. The govt has been leading the recovery effort through a slew of programmes and schemes for the MSME sector”, he further added.
“Women entrepreneurs as well as employed women suffered economically more than their men counterparts due to the pandemic. A report by Bain and Company reveals that almost 73 per cent of women-run enterprises in India were negatively impacted by COVID-19; while the revenue of almost 20 per cent of women entrepreneurs dwindled to zero. However, they are more than willing to turn around the situation, the outcome of our conference just proves the same. They are confident of quick revival”, said Dr. Rajni Aggarwal, President, FIWE
“While we witnessed many women entrepreneurs shutting shops, there were also many new women entrepreneurs springing up during the pandemic, some who lost their jobs and others who left their jobs to turn entrepreneurs. Certain women led enterprises also witnessed an increase in revenue. As seen in EdelGive’s Landscape Study on Women Entrepreneurship that was spread across 13 states and had a sample size of 1,200 women, 19 per cent of the women surveyed cited an improvement in their fiscal gains”, said Poonam K Malhotra, Vice President, FIWE.
Equipped with the resilience of spirit and adaptability, active support across the ecosystem is all that Women need to succeed as entrepreneurs. Keeping the above in mind, the three day conference was specifically designed to include expert sessions on various important aspects like access to finance through innovative technologies, leveraging e-commerce and digital marketing for business growth and chat sessions with successful entrepreneurs, etc.
The Conference also included one-to-one business meetings, factory visits, exhibition and Priyadarshini Award ceremony. FIWE felicitated over 30 women entrepreneurs with the coveted Priyadarshini awards in three different categories. Women entrepreneurs were applauded for their exemplary achievements
“The Conference discussed how to expand access to finance through use of fintech and how to leverage technologies and start-ups. Also, how e-commerce and digital marketing can be game-changing tools for women entrepreneurs empowering them to conduct their businesses from their homes. The need for building capacity to harness the potential of digital marketing by women entrepreneurs was emphasized. In that context, UNESCAP South Asia Office was seen to be playing an important role. The India’s Government-e-marketplace (GEM) has helped 1.3 lakh women-led MSMEs sell their products directly to the Government. ISID will be taking the discussions forward in the context of its work on MSMEs and entrepreneurship”, said Prof Nagesh Kumar, Director, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID)