My joy, knows no bounds! For me and for FIWE, it is a culmination of a journey-started way back in 1993, when FIWE was established at Hyderabad (India) by converting the Womenís Wing of the erstwhile National Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (NAYE) into an Autonomous National Level Women Entrepreneurs Organization. The main objective of FIWE is development of women entrepreneurship in the country. We have a large membership base of 15000 individual members/professionals sand 28 member associations spread across the country. We are also affiliated with International Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (IFWE), which has a membership base of 21 countries and more countries are being added soon.
FIWE provides business counseling to aspirant women start-ups. We also provide hand holding and networking opportunities to start-ups and also to women interested in growing their business further. FIWE regularly organizes EDP and also the skill development program in various cities/towns across the country. Over 5000 women have benefited in last 3 years.
I would like FIWE to become a stronger organization which can work on all important issues related to women entrepreneurs. Interaction with policy makers need being increased on regular basis particularly because I am, personally, of the opinion that policies of the Government need to be more gender sensitive. Letís take recent TKA Nair MSME Task Force Report .You would be surprised to know that there is almost no mention of women entrepreneurs in the whole report. I hope that Government of India would take note of the same and take necessary steps to address major concerns and issues of women entrepreneurs.
The knowledge economy has certainly created large number of never before opportunities for women particularly in service sector. Today one can see a women entrepreneur in almost every field be it ICT, Retail, Service Sector, Health Care, Insurance, Tourism, Education and even International Trade. I keep meeting so many management and technosavy women professionals who are eager to take dip in world of business.
There are many challenges faced by women entrepreneurs be they start-ups or struggling to grow their existing business. Take for example; large numbers of women are not able to take advantage of Government schemes because they are not registered under MSME Act. Registration of a unit under MSME Act is not as easy as it needs to be. We are taking up this issue shortly with MSME Ministry and hope to make it easier at-least for women enterprises. Easy availability of credit and at preferential interest rate for women entrepreneurs remains our long standing demand. We also find that at large women are not aware of women focused financial and non-financial schemes. Government should support FIWE to organize more of awareness seminars.
Coinciding with International Womenís Day, FIWE organized Women Entrepreneurs Day on March 8th,2011.FIWE regularly organizes EDP's and henceforth plans to organize knowledge workshops/seminars on topics such as Bar-coding, Packaging, E-Commerce, Developing a Business Plan, Exporting to Emerging Markets such as Brazil, ASEAN, USA, China and others. We also plan to organize Buyer-Seller Meets and Exhibitions. FIWE is also organizing two International conferences, one in Delhi and another in Colombo with each event likely to see participation of over 1000 women entrepreneurs from across the world.
FIWE instituted PRIYADARSHANI AWARDS for successful women entrepreneurs from pan India and also from SAARC countries. Over 300 women have been honored with this prestigious award and let me tell you many of the winner s today is considered outstanding achievers in their countries. Ms Jennet from Srilanka, Ms Martha Thiller of Indonesia and Shahnaz Hussain of India are well known entrepreneurs and role models for new generations in their respective countries. We would soon be announcing the dates for seeking nominees for PRIYADARSHNI AWARDS for 2011.
FIWE celebrated International Women Day March 8th,2011 as WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS DAY. The Honíble Chief Minister of Delhi Smt. Sheila Dixit was the Chief Guest. Over 60 women entrepreneurs participated in interactive sessions. Report in brief, attached. SIDBI along with SBI was the sponsors. FIWE also successfully completed first phase of Central Government sponsored programme (Special) SGSY under which over 2500 BPL youth has been trained in different trade & Industry related skills. The project is going on in 10 districts of 3 states namely MP, Rajasthan & Orissa.
FIWE is organizing an international women entrepreneurs event titled ASIAN WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS SUMMIT in New Delhi on November 17-19th, 2011 at India International Centre(IIC) lodhi Colony, New Delhi. Over 600 plus women entrepreneurs are expected to participate with 300 plus from different parts of the world.
With an excellent record and milestones, we endeavor to continue our quest for excellence with continuous efforts and improvements in all the diverse fields for Women Empowerment and eradication of Poverty & Illiteracy and make our Indian a better place to be...
I extend my best wishes to you all!
Dr. (Mrs.) Rajnee Aggarwal
May 3rd, 2011