India’s largest initiative for women entrepreneurs, Digital Women Awards is back to celebrate talent, innovation, and creation. This year marks the 8th edition of the Digital Women Awards, the theme is Storm The Norm and celebrates the creativity of female entrepreneurs utilising the internet to launch their businesses.
On Day 5 of the Digital Women Awards, Roma Datta Chobey, the Senior Director of Digital First Business at Google kicked off the keynote address by sharing her journey with the audience.
Digital Women Awards 2022 Keynote Address Highlights
Importance Of Community
Chobey said that while she was pursuing her undergraduate degree, she knew that she wanted to be an entrepreneur. Due to her passion for education and her love for children, she dreamt of opening a school. “While I had a big vision, I had absolutely no idea about how to go about doing it,” said Chobey.
However, she gave up the dream after she realised it would be difficult to fund the school without sponsors and a community of people backing her vision.
“The journey has been beautiful. I have found my peace and calling in the corporate world. I work with digital first businesses,” said Chobey.
She added that her journey from hoping to start a school to becoming a banker to working at Google was “satisfying”. However, she mentioned that if she had this community of like-minded people to connect with, she is sure she would’ve been able to launch the school.
Chobey pointed out that the gender divide still persists internationally, despite years of work and fighting for change. She added that the gender divide exists across several areas, from education to participation in the workforce.
“The pandemic has only widened the gender gap and made it worse for all women and girls… There are more barriers for women to start businesses, run businesses, scale businesses,” mentioned Chobey.
She added, “Our experiences are unique and different and far more challenging”.
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Chobey has interacted with many female founders and has found that there was one common factor. She said, “They [female entrepreneurs] have to travel a lot more, take a longer route from start-up to scale-up as compared to their male counterparts.”
“When it comes to an entrepreneur mindset, gender, education, circumstances, and culture make no difference. What truly matters is that are we able to nurture that mindset,” said Chobey.
She then emphasised the importance of having a supportive community of like-minded individuals for women entrepreneurs.
Access To Information
Access to information is where all creativity and innovation starts and the internet is a great source of information. In 2015, only 1 out of 10 women had access to the internet. While the numbers have improved and around 4 women out of every 10 women have access to the internet, there is still a long way to go.
“When women have access to information, when they understand the power of information, they want to use it to build, to create, to innovate digitally, to create economic opportunities for themselves and their family,” said Chobey.
Start-ups in India are thriving and the nation ranks third globally in the number of start-ups. However, only around 50 percent of these companies have one or more women founders.
“As these start-ups start playing a bigger role in our economy… it becomes that much more important to have the right representation of women who are solving these problems,” said Chobey.