New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI/PRNewswire): SheSparks 2023, a year-long commitment to empower, enable, and encourage women in the workforce, kicked off with a mega event on Friday at New Delhi’s India Habitat Centre.
The event brought together several successful and remarkable women such as Kalaari Capital Managing Director Vani Kola, UN Women India’s Deputy Country Representative Kanta Singh, Niti Aayog Senior Advisor Anna Roy, and several other incredible women who are inspiring and enabling others to join the workforce, grow, and thrive.
Prominent male allies such as India’s G20 Sherpa and former NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and Atal Innovation Mission Director, Dr Chintan Vaishnav were also present at the event and spoke about the importance of women’s participation to fulfil India’s dream of becoming a USD 5-trillion economy.
At SheSparks 2023, Vani also released The State of Women Entrepreneurship Report 2023, which revealed some harsh realities. Only 15 per cent Indian unicorns have women co-founders, less than 1 per cent of active angel investors in India are women, just 1 per cent funding has been received by women-led startups, and 60 per cent women faced some form of bias in the last one year.
During a fireside chat at the event, Vani highlighted that there is a stark difference between men and women when it comes to fundraising and financial conversations. Women tend to be more tentative, muted, and timid when they approach investors for capital as opposed to their male counterparts, she said. The VC is hopeful about what the future holds as there now exists a vibrant community of women and their voices to turbocharge progress.
In a fireside chat with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma, Dr Chintan Vaishnav spoke about ‘Building a robust framework for upskilling women’. He talked about the need for mentoring programmes for women that are aspirational and diverse in experiences.
“If we can work together to make that happen, it would be great,” he said, adding that the unique strength women have is compassion. “And compassion matters a lot in solving problems. For instance, climate change issues cannot be resolved without women because that requires a lot of compassion.”
Amitabh Kant, who routinely champions women’s causes, spoke about the influential role of women in India’s economic growth story.
“Women will play the most transformational role in India’s growth story, especially those from Tier II and Tier III cities. Many from rural areas are set to do pathbreaking work because they’ll be more hungry for disruption than men,” he said. If India has to grow at a high rate of 9 per cent to 10 per cent per annum year after year for three decades or more, it can’t happen without women, Kant stressed.
“One of India’s G20 priorities is women-led development – and that means women should not be merely beneficiaries, but growth drivers and leaders in development and progress,” Amitabh Kant highlighted.
Kanta Singh shared her thoughts on women entrepreneurship and how the role goes beyond building businesses and comes with a responsibility of providing mentorship and support to young girls who will be building the future.
“I believe this is the best time to be born a woman. We, at the UN Women, while working with NITI Aayog and other partners on the cause of women’s entrepreneurship, are witness to so much energy around.”
“The future of work will be determined by what and who we invest in today. So, as entrepreneurs and most importantly as humans, we have a responsibility towards young women,” Kanta said.
According to Anna Roy, information discovery is a key hurdle to empowering women entrepreneurs, and she said the NITI Aayog is working to solve it with its Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP). “The WEP will further boost women entrepreneurs in India with different initiatives, the role of ecosystem partners, credit support, (help resolve) challenges for women promoters and more,” she said.
A key highlight of the event was the SheSparks awards – a call to action, bringing together women who are being and creating the spark of change across 15+ categories. (Full list below)
In addition to the event in New Delhi, SheSparks 2023 is YourStory’s year-long commitment to change that it intends to renew every year.
At the event, YourStory unveiled its shared manifesto for owning and driving the change everyone needs to see for more women to become economically and socially independent.
YourStory also aims to work towards sharing policy recommendations with various government bodies and ministries. It is also preparing to launch a curated women’s entrepreneurship and skilling programme to help create 1 million job-creators through YourStory University. Based on practical, outcome-based learning and available in multiple languages, this programme will help all women dreaming and daring to tread the road to entrepreneurship.
Last but definitely not the least, here is the full list of SheSparks 2023 award winners:
1. Equity: Vani Kola, Managing Director, Kalaari Capital
2. Public Policy: Shweta Rajpal Kohli, Chief Public Policy Officer, Sequoia Capital India & Southeast Asia – Public Policy
3. Corporate: Sangeeta Bavi, Executive Director Digital Natives, Microsoft
4. Brand Building: Shivani Malik, Director and Head of Marketing, Da Milano
5. Impact Creators for Women: Anamika Pandey, Co-founder, Naario
6. Art and Culture: Anumita Jain, Founder, A Clay Story
7. Business: Chaitra Chidanand, Co-founder, SALT
8. Creator: Neha Nagar, Content creator
9. Investing: Anisha Singh, Founder, SheCapital
10. Sustainability: Vibha Tripathi, Founder, Boon, and Saumya, Co-founder and CPO, Kheyti
11. He for SheSparks: Parikipandla Narahari, IAS, Government of Madhya Pradesh
12. India: Aastha Grover, Head, Startup India
13. Bharat: Smita Ram, Co-founder and CEO, Rang De, and Trishala Punjabi, Founder and CEO, BharatMD
14. Community: Lathika Pai, Founding Member, Sonder Connect
15. Manufacturing: Samriddhi Pandey, Founder and CEO, Defy Aerospace, and Sowmya Balendiran, Co-founder and COO, Sea6 Energy
16. Startups: Smita Deorah, Co-founder and Co-CEO, LEAD School
17. Social Impact: Prerna Mukharya, Founder, Outline India
18. Politics: Kanksshi Agarwal, Founder and CEO, NETRI Foundation
19. Politics: Esha Singh Alagh, Director, I-PAC
20. Sports: Vaidehi Vaidya, Founder and MD, Women in Sports India
21. High-impact Governance: Shruti Singh, Joint Secretary, DPIIT
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