Businessworld Magazine organised Business World Accelerate Women event on Thursday, March 12th. As per the Gender Index from 2014, assembled by Washington based Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI), India ranks at 26th number out of 30 countries surveyed for conditions that foster ‘high potential’ women entrepreneurship.
The topic of the discussion was Our Piece of the Pie: Funding for Female-Led Ventures: A discussion of the funding climate for female-led ventures – trends, opportunities and forecasting for the future.
Sharing her point of view Pearl Uppal, Partner, 5 Ideas said, “As a venture capitalist I have never seen good numbers of women investors, there was only four per cent applications from out of 100. That has to change if we need to grow and women need to network more and more.”
Anita Belani, Investor, Lead Angels & Partner, HR at BMR Advisors shares her experience of handling women investors’ pitch. She said, “We find very few women come in for funding and they lack confidence while pitching to their clients. They think they are not in the correct domain and making a mistake. We need to believe in them and consider their opinion valuable.”
Belani further said, “If your idea is great, why aren’t you more cocky and confident about it? She suggested that elder care is a market women can explore and health is an area which many women are taking up as a business.
Sharing about her experience with the investment committee, Paula Mariwala, Executive Director, Seedfund said, “There are very few women in venture capital who come to pitch. Venture capital is largely a men’s club but women are as good as men and they can have another bay and manage funds. They can always multitask and manage it.”
She also highlighted that we don’t see a lot of women in finance and technology; hardware is a potential market for us. She said, “Women usually come up with very innovative ideas as businesses.’
Zinnnia Pasricha, Lead Investor, Udaan Angels said, “I am seeing more of business are coming to us which are founded by men. When we look at venture, thinking from a different angle, I wouldn’t have differentiated in looking at the person’s skill and capability. Women are still in the game because of their commitment to business and their passion.”
Sairee Chahal, CEO, Sheroes highlighted some of the key points. She said, “ The numbers of women in this business are in micro levels but we have seen there are more women building businesses than ever. More and more women are experimenting with new products and services. In terms of any start up, once the venture capital comes in you need to scale the business.”
She suggested backing women with capital will change the ratio by few percent points.
Everyone on the panes agreed that women are coming up with e-commerce ideas. More women are turning entrepreneurs and women consumers are controlling most of the expenses in any business. In conclusion, mentorship, skills, networking and solid co-founding team are the areas women need to focus on to succeed.