Ladies, March is your month and Facebook has big plans to support your startup ambitions!
- A gold medallist in engineering and management, this entrepreneur co-founded a startup that is changing the way people in India, Nepal and Bangladesh speak English, through a highly engaging, interactive, mobile-based app. Within eight months of its launch, it became the No. 1 English learning and speaking app on the Google Play Store in India.
- This serial entrepreneur, who was a software developer in a leading multinational tech company, went on to found a web development startup, and also invested in the restaurant business, creating a SaaS-based eatery management platform that has on its menu customer relationship management, table orders, inventory, delivery, take-away, expense, branches etc. Today, this is among the top cloud-based point of sale solutions (POS) provider for restaurants.
- A Carnegie Mellon alumnus returned to India after a decade-long stint in Silicon Valley to co-found an innovative startup in the areas of computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI). Armed with experience in leading a mobile innovation portfolio at Intel Labs in California, the startup is now exploring how AI can be brought out of labs and deployed across industries and impact the lives of billions.
These entrepreneurs, respectively, are Pranshu Bhandari, Co-Founder of CultureAlley, Sakshi Bhasin Tulsian, Co-Founder of POSist and Ashwini Asokan, Co-Founder, Mad Street Den. Admit it: you assumed they were all men, simply because the stories, particularly in tech entrepreneurship, are largely focused on men. And if women do feature in such narratives, the focus is mostly on stereotypical aspects such as work-life balance or their daily battles a man’s world.
Certainly these issues need to be addressed, especially when women comprise just about 10 per cent of entrepreneurs in India’s startup ecosystem. Sadly, these conversations sometimes also undervalue or undermine their technical skills and the value they bring in from a technology perspective.
There are inspirational role models, of course. Valerie Wagoner co-founded Zipdial, the first startup in India to be acquired by Twitter; Zivame, India’s largest lingerie portal, was founded by Richa Kar. And there are rock stars like Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (Biocon), Anisha Singh (Mydala.com), Swati Bhargava (CashKaro), Radhika Aggarwal (Shopclues.com), Falguni Nayyar (Nykaa), Sairee Chahal (Sheroes), Suchi Mukerjee (LimeRoad), Upasana Taku (MobiKwick) Neeru Sharma (Infibeam), Manisha Raisinghani (LogiNext) and Meena Ganesh (Portea). Still, where are the women?
Let’s crunch some numbers first. According to the Sixth Economic Census by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), released in April 2016, women run about 14 per cent of business establishments in India. This translates into a mere 8.05 million out of the 58.5 million businesses in the country.
Looking specifically at the startup ecosystem, women entrepreneurs in India are found more in fashion and food tech sectors. But even here, 70 per cent of the entrepreneurs are men! Despite such dismal statistics, women entrepreneurs are slowing changing the narrative in the tech industry and building technology-enabled ventures spanning sectors – from e-commerce to education to financial services. To accelerate their journey, they need a good support system in the form of a network of mentors, fellow entrepreneurs, industry experts, and above all, technology support.
It is to engage with women with entrepreneurial ambitions in the startup ecosystem that Facebook is organising an exclusive event on 01 March 2017 in New Delhi.
Whom is this prestigious event for? Are you a woman with a great idea or a venture? Are you building an app-based product? Do you want to leverage Facebook tools to accelerate user growth, engagement, and drive greater business results? If so, you will get an opportunity to meet and interact with the Facebook India team to learn about their platform and programme for startups. The event will also see the launch of a new program, designed exclusively for women entrepreneurs.
Get insights from interactive sessions with influencers from the startup community and take away key learnings from the panel discussion, "How to change perceptions about women and technology - Is society evolving to the new reality?"
Wednesday | 01 March 2017 | 10 am | The Lalit, Barakhamba Avenue, Connaught Place, New Delhi
(YourStory is the digital outreach partner for the SheLeadsTech program from Facebook.)