Women are a big part of India’s growth story, and they are transforming the way the economy is growing. This was the conclusion of the SheThePeople Roundtable on #MakeInIndia. “Women have stopped building neighbourhood businesses and they are scaling up,” says Mansi Zaveri of KidsStopPress.com.
Devita Saraf of VU Technologies reflected on how businesses are transforming despite what’s still a rough logistical structure in the country. “Infrastructure is central to the growth story for anyone to build their enterprise,” she insists. VU Technologies is a luxury television brand that Saraf launched in India about ten years ago taking on the Korean and Japanese might in the tv businesses. She has since straddled the manufacturing, trade and the digital wave. “From 300 locations in India, we have surged to 3000 across the country, thanks to the digital world.” The panelists echoed her experience and said India’s #MakeInIndia story cannot be looked in isolation when digital can be a great backbone.
“Make In India to be means improving digital access, their entrepreneurship revolution and also taking this to tier II, III towns and rural India,” asserted Deepali Naair who recently quit Mahindra Holidays to return to the startup world.
The Make in India week, in the Prime Minister’s own words, “celebrates the achievements of the manufacturing sector and offers insights into the investment opportunities in India.” It will offer opportunities to connect Indian and global industry leaders and central and state governments.
Government delegations from 49 countries and business delegations from 68 countries are slated to take part in the event. Captains of industry from India and abroad attended the “in India” inaugural session in Mumbai. Seventeen state exhibitions and several country pavilions have been built at the 20,000 sq m centre. The country pavilions include exhibitions from Sweden, Germany and South Korea.
Over the last five years, things have transformed in the Indian entrepreneurial landscape giving opportunities to women to jump in with their ideas and power ahead with a business. Central to this is the rise of digital technology that enables a handicraft maker to put up their products on Facebook and sell. Many are using tools like What’sApp to showcase pictures to potential clients. This is just a start and there on some go on to build full scale ecommerce businesses. Pri Shewakramani is a cofounder of The Beach Company, that’s selling beach wear across India via ecommerce. From being an export house to the rest of the world, this business saw an Indian opportunity. The domestic market has been hungry of high quality goods and she explains that given the consumer appetite it goes to show Indians can be proud of the Made In India brand.
Another interesting insight at the SheThePeople roundtable came from Raka Chakrawarti of Gourmet Delight. “Why can’t we consider farming, or connected agriculture businesses as an off shoot of Make In India?” Given that India is such a massive agricultural nation, and often we import pulses a focus on agriculture with the Make In India lens can truly transform the thinking of the country and encourage more people to look inwards for marketable and sustainable opportunities in agriculture.
With the power of digital technology, flexible opportunities, a disruptive revolution is changing the way Indians do business. Women can truly empower themselves through this process. Many are already running enterprises and hundreds are joining every week. For Make In India to be successful, women should be considered and promoted as key drivers. In the words of the man who coined the Make In India phrase, DIPP Secretary Amitabh Kant, “Women can take India’s growth numbers from 8-9 per cent up to 11 per cent, if we unleash their economic power.”
SheThePeople RoundTable is presented by Franklin Templeton India and supported by ITC Grand Central Parel, Mumbai