Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 has just come to a close after creating a strong and positive buzz about being an entrepreneur, the challenges of being a women entrepreneur and how globally there is a need to empower job creators. Hosted by the Governments of India and USA collaboratively, the summit had 1500 delegates from 140 countries with 200 speakers. In the concluding address to the press, Mr. K. T. Rama Rao, Government of Telangana, Minister for IT E&C, MAUD, Industries & Commerce, Mines & Geology, Public Enterprises and NRI Affairs, summarized the spirit of entrepreneurship and announced measures to support women entrepreneurs, while improving ease of doing business and improving quality on a global scale. This included setting up of We-Hub on the lines of T-Hub, creation of T-Fund of Rs.15 crores and a procurement policy that ensures at least 1/4th of produce is procured from women entrepreneurs out of 20% from the MSMEs.
Mr. Rao also reiterated that next wave of jobs will not come from top 100 industries from the global lists but from the startups and innovative enterprises and emphasized on the need to spread the growth beyond the 4 metros of India. He requested Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, to create a roadmap following the deliberations at the summit so that the promises can be converted into tangible outcomes.
Workforce development, skilling, re-skilling, employability
The theme ‘Women first, prosperity for all’ echoed in many sessions and it was emphasized by Honorable Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi and Ms. Ivanka Trump, Advisor, President of USA, particularly in the context of skilling women and supporting them adequately to become job creators. Ms. Cherie Blair, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, CBE, QC, Founder stated that there would be an increase by 28 trillion dollars if women were given equal access to economic opportunities that men have; however conversely, the WEF data shows we have gone backwards! She insisted on the need to go beyond producing evidence that empowering women makes a difference and actually make sure we do something to implement these things by breaking barriers through skills, technology and education. The need is grave in India with a mere 27% women workforce and 67% women graduates who don’t contribute to the economy. Ms. Chanda Kochhar, MD -CEO, ICICI Bank spoke about the livelihood enablement initiatives from ICICI Foundation and several women-friendly policies at the back to ensure that women don’t lose out career growth at various stages of their lives.
Championing women entrepreneurs, Ms. Ivanka Trump said that explosion of women entrepreneurs is traditional workplaces haven’t often worked for women and highlighted the fact that all innovation come from the private sector and the government’s role is to fuel that and eliminate barriers for scaling and create an environment in which you can really accomplish your dreams and goals. She also strongly voiced the need for supporting re-skilling of existing workforce, engaging apprentices and alignment of what’s being taught in the classroom with the jobs available in the economy. The fact that technology is a great driver of entrepreneurship, reducing barriers, creating flexibility, particularly in the case of women, was one of the common threads that tied up many discussions on creating a women-friendly entrepreneurship ecosystem in India.
Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
The commitment of government in supporting skill development and entrepreneurship with the encouragement to use digital technologies is evident from missions like Startup India, Skill India and Digital India. And, GES2017 was strategically positioned as a mega event that can excite and incite youth, particularly women towards alternative careers and entrepreneurship options. The four innovative industries 1. Healthcare and Life Sciences 2. Digital Economy and Financial Technology 3. Energy and Infrastructure 4. Media and Entertainment hold tremendous potential for employment and entrepreneurship for women.
- In the domain of Healthcare and Life Sciences there is a need for training the workforce in emerging job roles since there have been many technology as the main driver for research and innovation, specifically for girls who can take up STEM subjects and explore new avenues
- Fintech has influenced our lives in many ways. While it is the reason for job loss in the banking industry; it is also a concern for how we can re-look at the legacy banking systems that still are a source of employment for many.
- The scope is immense in Energy and infrastructure sector for creating innovative enterprises in Green technologies and Ecofriendly structures. However, in the field of infrastructure most jobs are getting created for the low-skilled workforce.
- Media and Entertainment is hot and happening with host of opportunities for youth with skills in VFX, graphics, digital content, films and TV channels.
Ms. Ivanka’s statement about how innovation happens in the private sector and why government should enable the ecosystem aptly describes the need for a concrete plan of action to followup with GES2017 in the area of workforce development, skilling and boosting women’s participation in the India economy.
Today, India is at the threshold of potential transformation of the economy, if the demographic dividend is harnessed in the right way, Indian youth, particularly women, can not only remain job seekers but they can become job creators.
(This article is based on our indirect participation in the event through Facebook Live sessions.)