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Funding in women-led firms still meagre

India is currently ranked at 70 out of 77 nations on the Female Entrepreneurship Index.

, ET Bureau|
Aug 09, 2019, 08.48 AM IST
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"There’s not enough access to skilling, and with women dropping out of the workplace between life phases, the gender divide is only increasing,” said Chaitra Vedullapalli.
Only 2% of venture funding goes to women-led enterprises and the gender disparity in this space is only growing, said Chaitra Vedullapalli, the founder of Women in Cloud (WIC), a community-led initiative to support and promote women technology entrepreneurs.

This is despite the 21st century promising to be all about technology transforming industries, with digital transformation and cloud being the key factors that will have an impact, she said.

“WIC creates access to partnership opportunities, programs that accelerate business growth in the cloud and strategic alliances that advance the success of women in tech,” Vedullapalli said. WIC’s broader mission is to create $1 billion in economic access to female tech entrepreneurs, while helping them build million-dollar businesses in recurring enterprise contracts.

“We want to give women tech entrepreneurs access to the digital economy and want to empower 1,000 women to build a $1 million business,” she said.

In the US, tech firms including Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Amazon have partnered with WIC, which was launched there about one year ago. It will formally launch its India forum in a few months. The plan is to make this forum active in eight countries over a period of time.

WIC is also establishing a cloud accelerator that can help women entrepreneurs win enterprise contracts through connections with larger firms or hyper-scalers like Microsoft. The other key agenda is to bring about policy change and greater gender parity in the tech industry.

“There’s not enough access to skilling, and with women dropping out of the workplace between life phases, the gender divide is only increasing,” said Vedullapalli. “We are working with the United Nations to achieve gender equity by 2030.”

Citing a McKinsey study, she said this gender divide is an economic issue and could have a $4.3 trillion impact on the GDP if equalized just in the US.

India is currently ranked at 70 out of 77 nations on the Female Entrepreneurship Index.

According to the National Sample Survey Organization, women run about 14% of business organisations in India.

One way to increase the number is to find ways to enable women tech entrepreneurs build highgrowth business solutions and win recurring corporate contracts, making it easier to access funding and talent needed to grow further.

The global economy needs diverse solutions and it needs more women entrepreneurs, but these women also need a strong community to support and mentor them, she said.
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