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Keiretsu’s WISE move to turn Chennai’s women into investors, mentors

N Ramakrishnan Chennai | Updated on January 15, 2018

Judith Iglehart, President – International Chapter Development and Operations, Keiretsu Forum

Will help women as investors in and mentors of start-ups, and women entrepreneurs

The Chennai chapter of Keiretsu Forum, a global network of angel investors, has launched WISE (Women Investing in and Supporting Entrepreneurs), an initiative that is meant to help women as investors in and mentors of start-ups, and women entrepreneurs.

Kicking off the initiative recently, Judith Iglehart, President – International Chapter Development and Operations, Keiretsu Forum, told BusinessLine that women as investors were quite different from men. “I think women do more homework about the investment. Studies show this. Men will take about an hour to study a business plan and say this looks good or this doesn’t look good. Women traditionally spend more time reading about the company, learning about the company,” she said.

Digging deeper

And, she said, academic research showed that more the time spent on reviewing a company and studying it, lower will be the risk of investment. Women, she said, went a lot deeper into what they did, instead of making a snap judgement. It is all fine to say that you are betting on the jockey (the entrepreneur), but women investors were a little more thorough in doing their due diligence, she added.

According to Rajan Srikanth, Co-President, Keiretsu Forum, Chennai and Singapore, the WISE initiative has two objectives. One, to support entrepreneurship by women working on ideas and businesses that are scalable. The second is to give women angel investors a greater exposure to concepts of angel investing and practice, telling them how to evaluate start-ups and investments, and offer hands-on experience in adding value by mentoring start-ups.

Women mentors tend to pick up different cues compared with their male counterparts, quite often relying on information on an entrepreneur or a venture they had picked up from their wide network of friends and acquaintances. They also tend to engage differently with the entrepreneurs they mentor. Women entrepreneurs struggle more than men because they have to balance family life with their professional commitments.

Now, with more women professionals coming out to start ventures on their own or being ready to mentor start-ups, Keiretsu Forum believes that it is the right time to start the WISE initiative.

Published on November 02, 2016

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