Women’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystems – 6 Mar

The two-hour webinar under the C20 Working Group on Gender Equality & Disability took place on March 6th, 2023 from 18:30-20:30 IST. 
Over 120 participants took part in the event, from at least 7 countries. We began with a stirring call to action and reminder of the opportunity and responsibility India’s C20 presidency represents for all of us, given as part of the C20 Gender Equality & Disability Indian Coordinator, Dr. Bhavani Rao’s welcome address.
Two significant keynote presentations were given that served to capture the most important and pressing needs of the hour related to inclusive entrepreneurship, economic development, and gender equality— as well as strategic policy recommendations and potential contributions of CSOs to the overall process. 
The first of these key notes were delivered by H.E. Violeta Bulc, former Deputy PM of Slovenia, EU Commissioner, and current G100 Global Woman Leader and Founder of the Ecocivilisation movement. 
H.E. Violeta Bulc
The second keynote was delivered by the president and CEO of the world-famous Grameen Foundation, Ms. Zubaida Bai.
Following these talks, a dedicated Panel Discussion took place on the theme of Inclusive women’s entrepreneurship and self-employment. Seven panelists were invited to share their insights on key thematic areas related to achieving inclusive women’s entrepreneurship and self-employment for their communities, highlighting best practices that have overcome these challenges, and policy approaches that will lead to a more supportive and integrated ecosystem for inclusive entrepreneurship.
Ms. Zubaida Bai
The dignitaries who spoke during the panel were:
  • Sucharita Eashwar, Catalyst for Women Entrepreneurship
  • Pankaj Thakur, Head Held High Foundation
  • Archana Bhatnagar, Madhya Pradesh Association of Women Entrepreneurs (MAWE)
  • Sangeeta Purushothaman, Best Practice Foundation
  • Pranab Chanda, Save the Children
  • Amélie Parret, WILLA , Paris, France
 The key themes that emerged from this panel included:
  • The need to address infrastructure shortcomings that cater to women’s unique needs. This includes both urban and rural/last mile connectivity.
  • Reduce the digital divide among women and the low adoption of critical technologies, including more dedicated platforms for women-owned businesses.
  • Creating more welcoming and inclusive professional networks and improved market integration, where women leaders are required, including mentorship.
  • Dedicated funding opportunities and recognition for entrepreneurial success that are clearly bundled with direct market inclusion and enjoined with financial institutions.
  • Social-cultural norms MUST be addressed, especially the unconscious biases and inherited stereotypes that are critical of women’s equal abilities. Engaging men & boys is critical in this regard, especially in the household level.
The conclusion of the webinar was facilitated by the International Coordinator for the C20 Working Group on Gender Equality & Disability, Ms. Meg Jones. She reminded us of the G20 tagline, “The whole world is one family,” and repeated the C20 call to shine our individual lights.
The webinar concluded with a brief vote of thanks, a reminder to all to register as C20 partners on our website, and to submit written policy recommendations and Udaaharan best practices using the templates provided.