In 2009, when former US President Barack Obama took the dais in Cairo to address the divide between the West and Islam, he also laid out the roadmap for a global platform for entrepreneurship across the world. Following his historic speech, the first Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) was hosted in Washington, D.C. in 2010. Ever since the Summit has become synonymous with a platform where entrepreneurship is nurtured and celebrated. The later editions of GES have been hosted by governments of Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Morocco, and Kenya before returning to the USA last year.
With Hyderabad rolling out the red carpet for the Summit this year, aspiring entrepreneurs – from the US, India, and the rest of the world – vied for a spot in the list of 1,200 entrepreneurs. Who wouldn’t, given that the stage attracts eyes on a global scale, and the chosen 400 Indian entrepreneurs get a chance to interact with industry leaders, pitch to potential investors, and above all, experience being represented at such a massive scale.
The Summit – which brings together business leaders and high-ranking US government officials – is a testament to the country’s continued commitment to fostering entrepreneurship. Leading the contingent was Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the American President, Donald Trump.
With the Summit focusing on women entrepreneurship, it was only apt that Ivanka was the central figure leading the talks. An entrepreneur herself, Ivanka was a key player in the Trump family business till she moved on to take the role of an advisor to her father at the Oval Office.
Talking about women entrepreneurs at the Summit, Ivanka said, “The primary obstacles for women entrepreneurs are starting, owning, and growing. Women entrepreneurs need capital, networks, mentors, and favourable laws and policies.”
As she addressed the Summit she facilitated three women entrepreneurs from across the world. Here is what you should know about them:
Dara Dotz is the Co-Founder and Principal Designer at Field Ready, which solves challenges with local manufacturing. They provide humanitarian supplies which are made in the field using 3D printing.
A pioneer in 3D printing in austere environments, Dora initiated the first 3D printing lab in Haiti while she was working with DloHaiti. She has previously worked with Made In Space, which develops 3D printers for space exploration.
All of 15 years ago, Reyhan Camalova started Rainergy, a company that harvests energy from rainwater. The aim of Rainergy is to light up one house at a time. The small team aims to do it through a rainwater energy generator built for low-income families living in rural areas. The idea is to harness rainwater in rain-heavy countries and use it to channel and produce energy.
The team claims, “Rainergy reduces the amount of CO2 emissions to 10g per KW/H [sic] during the production of the electricity. This is very little CO2 amount compared to the other current alternative energy solutions.”
A Bengaluru-based entrepreneur, Rajlaksmi started her entrepreneurial roles with TerraBlue XT after battling a severe spell of insecurity, chaos, and confusion in her life. She writes, “TerraBlue XT is special because it reminds me, and all of us who work here, that beyond every dark cloud there actually is a silver lining, a strand of hope.”
As someone who had worked for 18 years in the IT field – training, programming, and writing – Rajlakshmi took to the startup ecosystem after she realised that her son was suffering from epilepsy, and there was nothing to help her detect the seizure before it was too late.
Even though she lacked prior experience in engineering, this motivated mother set out to find a solution and came up with the idea of a smart glove that could predict epilepsy seizures before they happen. Called TJay after her son Tejas, the smart glove tracks heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and brainwave activity to give a signal as to when the next the next attack can be expected.
Lauding women entrepreneurs’ grit and determination to overcome roadblocks that surface due to gender barriers, Ivanka said, “Between 2014-2016, globally entrepreneurship activity by women increased by 10 percent.”
Pressing further on the matter, Ivanka expressed that the need to address the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs rests upon every stakeholder in society: government, leaders, educational institutes, the ecosystem, and high-ranking officials. Only a combined joint effort can bring about the change needed – not only for female entrepreneurs but also gender empowerment.