Kochi: Kerala is stepping up efforts to encourage entrepreneurship with a parallel focus on gender equality, Health Minister Veena George said on Saturday. “The government’s vision and policies mandate the implementation of policies that encourage women to engage in entrepreneurship and innovation in greater numbers. We are increasingly organizing upskilling and reskilling programs for talent to boost their confidence,” she said, opening a two-day conclave of the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in its efforts to further promote women’s participation in the startup companies.
“KSUM has long worked to remove all barriers to gender neutrality in entrepreneurship. This event envisions the creation of a robust ecosystem for women,” the minister stressed in a video appearance at the ‘Women Startup Summit 4.0,2022’, which kicked off on Friday with seven key sessions leading up to the formal inauguration in Edappally on Saturday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, actress and dancer Remya Nambeesan said that traditional gender stereotypes can no longer deter women from becoming entrepreneurs in a changing world marked by renewed fighting spirit and institutional support.
After all, the country’s film industry has “only a 20 percent female presence,” while artists “celebrate femininity and our abilities.” “Every person has their own unique ability. We must not only acknowledge this fact, but also respect it,” she said, ending her talk with a popular Hindi song.
The two-day summit had sessions that promised to advance administrative ideas and make them fruitful, she said at WSS 4.0, which hosted a total of 30 live sessions delivered by over 80 speakers in the presence of more than 500 delegates. The day’s schedule included a series of sessions with speakers including founders and managing partners, mostly women, from a range of successful companies.
The summit at the Marriott Hotel, a day after its inaugural sessions at KSUM’s Technology Innovation Zone in Kalamassery out of town, featured an exhibition of more than 100 products while also conducting masterclasses, workshops, Pitch Fest, SheLovesTech and Investor Café.
Anoop Ambika, CEO of KSUM, said at the opening ceremony that when older men and women make up 60 percent of the population in Kerala, entrepreneurship in the state deserves newer ideas that meet the needs of its geriatric population.
“We will also establish community innovation centers in rural parts of the state to seek out village and small-town talent for nurturing. In addition, the government is to engage more extensively with NRIs to create new companies in the state,” he explained, welcoming the inaugural session of the WSS, through which KSUM offered a look at leaders in “real action” from around the globe.
The morning sessions of the day included a panel discussion on ‘Building Future India Through Startups’ following a dialogue on ‘Women Pulling the Indian Startup System’. The afternoon sessions covered “Leaders of Tomorrow”, “Overview about KSUM”, “Sustainable Future in Business” and “Role of Media in Women Empowerment”.
A central She Loves Tech India ’22 was held on the first day of the summit. A pitching session on the topic of production support for female startups also took place on the day. The money will go to the Indian startups, in which women own more than half of the shares. Winners will receive Rs 12 lakh. They are also eligible for Rs 15 lakh soft loans (6 per cent interest) and seed capital.
She Loves Tech India was approached by the co-founder of the largest accelerator platform, Leanne Robers. Four panel discussions and three fireside chats took place on the opening day of the summit.
A panel discussion on “Exploring the Plethora of Opportunities and Support to Promote and Encourage Women Startups and Entrepreneurship” took place at the summit on Friday. The afternoon sessions consisted of three workshops and a pitch in the Investor Café, before a panel discussion on Smart Steps. Networking followed.