Women are risk takers – Powerful thoughts from the Karnataka Women Summit

Nivruti Rai

A stellar gathering of women entrepreneurs added a diverse viewpoint into the conversation at the Second Day of India’s first comprehensive entrepreneurship platform Elevate 100. Curated and conceptualised by SheThePeople.TV, KBITS and championed by IT Minister Priyank Kharge, the idea was to put the spotlight on women in innovation.

The perception that women do not take risks and aren’t mathematical needs to change – Nivruti

‘Women Entrepreneur Summit’ explored ways to manage the tricky waters of privilege while pushing for adoption of technology in the communities who stand most to benefit from it.

Delivering the key note, Ms. Shanti Mohan of Lets Venture said: “It is heartening to note that 20% of the startups founded by women are funded. There are no more glass ceilings, women just need to break the glass walls that we have built around ourselves. We need to stop being apologetic about our successes and learn to be comfortable wielding power. And most importantly, we need to pay it forward and empower other women”.


A panel comprising Uma Reddy from Hitech Magnetics & Electronics, Radhika from Incitecam, Ranjana from Raybaby,  Rashi Menda of Zapyle and Vidhya T Vinay of Streamingo discussed Internet of Things (IoT) and how women are using it to create the next technological revolution. “IoT will be a $12-billion space by 2030. If the data obtained by all the smart devices around us is utilised optimally, this will be huge. We need to dream big to make this space ours,” said Radhika. Uma Reddy emphasised that women have a natural advantage since every great idea is powered by passion, perseverance, compassion and problem-solving skills to go the distance.

The ‘Women Entrepreneur Summit’ was followed by a discussion titled ‘Scale & Surge: Secrets to Growing Your Startup’ by Rashmi Daga of Fresh Menu, Rupa Rani from COWE and Devaki Yoganand of WEKAS.


Nivruti Rai, General manager- Intel India & VP of the Platform Engineering group, IntelCorp, enthralled the audience in a fireside chat with Shaili Chopra. “Organisations need to create environments of psychological safety. The perception that women do not take risks and aren’t mathematical needs to change. Build and leverage your network and create wonders for the world,” She said. “Intel has earmarked $14 million for women-owned/ women-related businesses this year and hope to increase it to $20million by 2020,”she added to the cheers of the crowd.

women have a natural advantage since every great idea is powered by passion, perseverance, compassion – Uma Reddy

“India is leading the digital revolution, with 95% of the population having a digital identity. Intel is focusing on technologies such as Autonomous driving & 5G to drive technology and keep up with rest of the world.” She added.

Shantala Bhat of Gamatics & Sheelika Ravishankar of Team Indus shared their views about building a balanced tech industry. “Women have a stronger ability to deal with ambiguities and risk.  They should fight social conditioning to fight and rise.” said Sheelika Ravishankar.

Shaili Chopra of Shethepeople.TV anchored a discussion with Ratna Prabha, Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of Karnataka. Besides sharing her vast experience, she requested the media to support SMEs and women entrepreneurs.

“You (women) are tomorrow’s leaders, entrepreneurs, visionaries, artists and influencers. Change-agents with a rebel yell, though in gentle voices. Although it’s far from perfect, it’s never been a better time to be a woman in this country,” Ratna Prabha said.

In a highly interactive session, she said: “While there are various initiatives set up for women, when funds are allotted, women entrepreneurs are not prioritised and hence there is a need to recognise and support them”.

She also spoke about how society needs to evolve and the need for Manliness to be redefined and mind sets changed. She mentioned the Mahila Uddhyama Vahini initiative and the Special Women’s parks coming up in Hubli, Dharwad, Mysore, Bellary and Gulbarga that will take the cause of women forward.

Priyank Kharge, Minister of the State for IT, BT & Toursim lent his support and highlighted access to 10 crores of government funding for women entrepreneurs through the Start Up Cell. In an encouraging comment, he also mentioned that the Government is trying to evolve a policy where a part of the Government’s procurement of products and services can be given to start ups.