Kerala govt to frame new policy for women entrepreneurs

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on February 12, 2021 Published on February 12, 2021

Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja (file pic)   -  THE HINDU

Kerala Govt, UN Women, Banks, NGOs to coordinate to promote women entrepreneurship

The Kerala government, UN Women, banking sector and NGOs on Friday announced their intention to work together to help thousands of women entrepreneurs in the State to scale up their micro businesses to the level of sustainable small and medium enterprises by facilitating access to credit, technology and market.

Participating in a plenary session on “Policy Dialogue – Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Social Business for Empowerment in South Asia” as part of the International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE 2021), Kerala's Minister for Women and Child Development KK Shailaja Teacher said her government would frame a policy to make Kerala a “model state” for promoting entrepreneurship among women. As part of the efforts, the state government would also set up an International Women Trade Centre at the Gender Park, she said.

Among those who participated in the session were UN Women Deputy Country Representative Multi Country office- India Bhutan, Maldives & Sri Lanka Nishtha Satyam, who chaired the meeting, State Bank of India’s Managing Director Challa Sreenivasulu Setty, SEWA Bharat President Renana Jhabvala, Co-founder and CEO of Villgro Philippines Priya Thachadi and Deepthi Dutt of Amazon Internet Services.

The three-day conference by The Gender Park in partnership with the UN Women is held at The Gender Park campus in Kozhikode.

The Minister further said her government would help women entrepreneurs sustain and expand their business surviving stiff competition from top brands whose prime intention was to make profit through every possible way -- branding, marketing and exploitation.

Satyam said UN Women would work with all the stakeholders for putting in place a proper eco-system that would help women launch their start-ups overcoming hurdles in taking loans, upscaling their skills, branding and marketing their products. She expressed the hope that the move would “pivot Kerala as a lighthouse of South Asia” in women entrepreneurship.

Setty said the banks and other lenders alone could not solve all the problems of women in business. The government, financial institutions and NGOs would have to put their heads and efforts together.

Deepthi Dutta said women should also look beyond the “triple P” of ‘papad, pickle and petticoat” making and raise the bar for themselves by embracing emerging technologies for their ventures, while the lenders should look at the potential of the business model instead of only assessing what could go wrong with women who were also saddled with innumerable family responsibilities.

Jhabvala identified lack of access to credit, market linkages, networking, mentoring, continuous handholding and relevant information as the bane of women running micro enterprises. Endorsing these views,

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Published on February 12, 2021
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