India stands at 98 out of 132 countries in the Global Entrepreneurship Index rankings, 2016. Women entrepreneurs constitute about 13.72% of the number of the entrepreneurs in the country. According to a McKinsey report, bridging the gender gap would have a huge economic impact and could add Rs 46 lakh crore ($700 billion) to India’s GDP in 2025. To delve deeper into the issue of women entrepreneurship, the Department of Commerce and Women’s Development Cell, Bharati College organised a two day National seminar on the “Role of Women Entrepreneurs in Socio-Economic Development of India” on April 26 & 27, 2019.
The chief guest was Dr. Seema Rao, the first woman commando of India. She inspired the listeners with her remarkable achievements and daringly unique journey. Her books on Combat Training are widely used as manuals in India by the Army and the Police and even internationally.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Archana Garodia, the founder member of FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) and a successful entrepreneur set the tone of the conference by emphasizing the great need to empower women by leading them into entrepreneurship. Her unique contribution is in working towards policy changes that will bring more women into the work force. Her immediate aim is to convince governments to extend the school timings so that women can give guilt free time at work. This, she said, was what some Scandinavian countries did and increased their GDP tremendously.
The Chief Speaker at the Valediction, Ms Vasvi Bharat Ram quoted Hilary Clinton in saying that “women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world. Hence empowering women by promoting entrepreneurship is a sure shot catalyst to rapid economic growth and development of any nation”. She pointed out that studies suggest that countries which have proportionately higher percentage of entrepreneurs in their population have developed much faster as compared to countries, which have lesser percentage of them. As the Vice Chairperson of The Shri Ram Schools, Vasvi has helped set up The Shri Ram Millenium Schools and The Shri Ram Early Years Play schools in Delhi and NCR. More than 90% of the staff are women and their inputs allows her to have more gender inclusive policies and a more supportive and nurturing environment.
At the conference, over 40 papers were presented across themes such as the history of women entrepreneurship; policy initiatives and ecosystem of women entrepreneurship; economic empowerment and social mainstreaming of women via self -employment and business innovation by women. The conference ended with a Nukkad Natak on Aajivika.