Kerala is intensifying its efforts to promote entrepreneurship with a parallel focus on gender equality, Health Minister Veena George said on Saturday.

“The government’s vision and policy make it compulsory to implement steps that encourage women to take up entrepreneurship and innovation in larger numbers. We have been organising programmes to up-skill and re-skill talent,” she said inaugurating a two-day conclave organised by the Kerala Startup Mission to promote female participation in founding companies.

“KSUM has been working to remove obstacles to gender neutrality in entrepreneurship. This event envisages the creation of a solid ecosystem for females,” the Minister said in a video appearance at the Women Startup Summit 4.0.

The two-day summit had sessions on importance of carrying forward administrative ideas to make them fruitful. The t summit included 30 live sessions addressed by 80-plus speakers and more than 500 delegates.

The event featured an expo of more than 100 products, while simultaneously conducting master-classes, workshops, pitch fest, SheLovesTech and Investor Café.

Actress-dancer Remya Nambeesan, addressing the inaugural ceremony, said conventional gender biases cannot stop women from becoming entrepreneurs in a changed world, marked by renewed fighting spirit amid institutional support.

All the same, the state’s film industry “has only 20 per cent female presence” even as the artistes “celebrate womanhood and our abilities”. “Each person has her unique performing capacity. We must not only recognise this fact, but respect it as well,” she said, capping her speech with a popular Hindi song.

KSUM CEO Anoop Ambika said entrepreneurship in the State merits newer ideas that cater to the needs of its geriatric people, who account for a chunk of the population.

“Also, we are setting up community innovation centres in the state’s rural areas to scout for talent. Further, the government is to work with NRIs in a big way to create new enterprises in the state,” he said.

The first day of the summit held the pivotal She Loves Tech India ’22 event. The day also hosted a pitching session on a productisation grant for women start-ups. The money will flow into start-ups in which women hold more than half the ownership stake. The winners are set to get Rs 12 lakh. They will also be eligible for soft loans of Rs 15 lakh (6 per cent interest) and seed funds.

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