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CONCLAVE DISCUSSES ROLE OF WOMEN IN STARTUP DOMAIN

India warrants an ecosystem that guarantees far stronger participation of aspiring women entrepreneurs by removing the hurdles on their path to business ventures, concluded ‘Women Startup Summit’ hosted by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in Kochi recently. The event was held to discuss efforts to lessen female under-representation in businesses related to science and technology.

India warrants an ecosystem that guarantees far stronger participation of aspiring women entrepreneurs by removing the hurdles on their path to business ventures, concluded ‘Women Startup Summit’ hosted by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in Kochi recently.

The event was held to discuss efforts to lessen female under-representation in businesses related to science and technology. Gender sensitivity is essential to ensure inclusivity in heading or working with startups, according to speakers at the summit. M Sivasankar IAS, Secretary, Department of Electronics & IT listed three major factors that are hindering the prospects of women entering entrepreneurship in a big way in Kerala. One is ‘social barriers’, where, say, concerns about safety of girl students in hostels restrict their study hours on the campus. Second is the increasing need for women with reasonable professional experience (of five to 10 years) heading ‘brown startups’. Thirdly, there is a near-absence of women coordinators in KSUM’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centres.

Dr. Mridul Eapen, Member, Kerala State Planning Board, noted that most educated women in a high-literacy state like Kerala are yet to be conscious about their potential in business ventures. “The proposals and points emerging in a meet like this will have their resonance in the policy decisions of the Board,” she added at the inaugural address of the day-long event organised in association with the Indian Women Network under the Confederation of Indian Industries.

The meet brought together successful women leaders, startup founders and policymakers besides aspiring entrepreneurs. Dr. Saji Gopinath, CEO, KSUM said that the meet would be an occasion for women to help grab the entrepreneurship opportunities they typically miss out owing to the lapses in the system. Given that women in Kerala have proven their eminence in higher education, KSUM is duty-bound to promote their professional profile by facilitating opportunities, he added.

Virginia Tan, Founding Partner, Teja Ventures, while addressing the audience over live video, spoke of the ‘She Loves Tech’ she initiated in 2015 and the steady progress the movement made across continents over the past four years to become the world’s largest female technology startup competition.

The meet comes against the backdrop of Kerala having 13 per cent women participation in the technology startup ecosystem and the State Government’s proactive steps for increasing the participation of women in the sector.  technopolis, the official campus magazine of IT Parks Kerala was the magazine partner.

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