Kochi: India warrants an ecosystem that guarantees far stronger participation of aspiring women entrepreneurs by removing hurdles in their path to business ventures, speakers said at a national event here on Thursday.
Gender sensitivity is essential to ensure inclusivity in heading or working with startups, according to speakers at the "Women Startup Summit" being hosted by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM).
Kerala IT Secretary M Sivasankar listed three major factors that were hindering prospects of women entering entrepreneurship in a big way in the state.
One is 'social barriers', where, say, 'safety' of girl students in hostels restricts their study hours in the campus.
Second is the increasing need for women with reasonable professional experience (of five to ten years) heading 'brown startups.'
Thirdly, there is near-absence of women coordinators in KSUM's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centres.
Kerala State Planning Board member Mridul Eapen noted that most educated women in a high-literacy state like Kerala were yet to be conscious of their potential in business ventures.
"The proposals and points emerging in a meet like this will have their resonance in the policy making decisions of the board," she said in her inaugural address at the day-long event organised in association with Indian Women Network under the Confederation of Indian Industries.
"The summit is definitely a strong step towards woman empowerment," she said.
"Women should make use of their immense potential," she exhorted at the start of the meet that also brought together successful women leaders, startup founders and policymakers besides aspiring entrepreneurs.
Earlier, welcoming the gathering at Integrated Startup Complex in Kalamassery, KSUM Chief Executive Officer Saji Gopinath said the meet would be an occasion for women to help retrieve the entrepreneurship chances they typically miss out owing to the lapses in the system.
The meet comes in the backdrop of Kerala having 13 per cent women participation in the technology startup ecosystem and the state government's proactive steps for increasing the participation of women in the sector.
KSUM is Kerala government's nodal agency for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.