empoWer is India’s exclusive accelerator program for women entrepreneurs to support them in scaling their tech startups. In the first cohort,15 women entrepreneurs were selected from an application pool of 191, for a 6-week program comprising of mentoring, workshops, case studies of successful women led startups, industry connect, peer network, investor connect and over INR 60 Lakhs in cash & professional services as takeaways. The program was sponsored and supported by Department of Science and Technology, GIZ, Vodafone, Google and Nishith Desai Associates.

In lieu of their upcoming second edition launch, they recently hosted a  panel discussion on one of the most prevailing topic ‘Women Leaders: Innovating, Inspiring and Building Nations’ bringing women leaders together to discuss overcoming and outshining professional hurdles faced by women.

The panel was chaired by Hon. (Ms.) Bardish Chagger, Canada’s Minister for Small Business and Tourism and included Shinjini Kumar -CEO PayTM Bank, Kashmira Mewawala – Head Business Development and Chief Ethics Counselor Tata Capital, Monica Jasuja- Head of Digital Payments at MasterCard, Rashmi Bansal – Author, Smita Bhagat – Head-Branch Banking and e-Commerce HDFC Bank, Shweta Shalini – Spokesperson of BJP Maharashtra, Chandni Jafri – CEO of Mumbai Angel, Prerana Langa – CEO Yes Foundation, Lakshmi Potluri – Angel Investor,  Ritu Soni-Srivastava – Co-Founder ObiNo and was moderated by Harshada Sawant, Senior Associate Editor CNBC TV18.

The iconic Bombay Stock Exchange Building hosted the panel and a gathering of over 80+ women entrepreneurs and professionals comprising distinct and eminent women leaders.

Talking about challenges of venture capital for women, Bardish Chagger quoted that “Business Development in Canada has recently launched $500 million funds for women entrepreneurs to overcome such challenges”. Monica Jasuja went into talking about gender diversity in the field of technology and how there is a stereotype that women are not good with numbers, with Ritu adding storied on how she has seen women professional/ entrepreneur being somewhat reluctant when it comes to playing around with numbers.  Kashmira Mewawala shared a piece of advice from her personal experience of 20 years leading corporates  to raise their hand to face challenges and come out of self doubt for others also to believe in them.  Some other points discussed were gender bias in family right from the childhood and how parents should avoid practising some habits which leads to discrimination between ‘he & she’. Discrimination is as real as what you make of it in your head quoted Chandni Jafri to inspire audience to come out of self doubt.

The audience added their personal experiences and learnings on the subject to inspire peers and uplift energies. The evening ended on an encouraging note, post a lot of knowledge sharing, networking, and preparation for #empoWeringmore.

Glimpse of some of the Tweets that went out:

The full panel discussion could be listened in on here.

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