How Can Ivanka Trump Be A True 'Mitra' To Indian Women Entrepreneurs
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Hyderabad’s Hitech City was beautifully lit with multi-coloured lights. Stray dogs and city beggars were safely lodged in Telangana government’s custody. The civic authorities had never worked so hard to keep the city spick and span. The local police had worked equally hard to ensure that the state capital is safe enough to welcome India’s special guest.
All these preparations were made to welcome US President Donald Trump’s daughter and Presidential advisor Ivanka Trump.
She was here to inaugurate the 8th Edition of Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) and interact with entrepreneurs. The event's theme was celebrate the spirit of women entrepreneurship and was attended by more than 1,500 startup founders, a majority of them being females from various parts of the world like South America, Asia and Middle East.
This is the first time that India hosted the GES. In her inaugural address, Ms Trump said the event is a symbol of the strengthened friendship and the growing economic and security partnership between the US and India.
In fact, she went on to quote her father President Trump, who earlier this year said, “India has a true friend in the White House.”
But is the US really a friend of India?
In the same speech, the Presidential Advisor mentioned a few lines about Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WeFi).The fund, which was the founded by the US in the last G20 conference, aims to facilitate access to capital, networks, and mentorship for women in developing countries.
With the WeFi, Trump anticipates to leverage about $1billion in public and private financing and address legal and regulatory barriers that limit opportunities for women.
Trump also believes that if India bridges the gender gap in the labour force segment even by half, the economy has a potential to grow by $150 billion.
However, the Ivanka-led fund is yet to allocate a said amount towards the cause.
Five Sectors the US partnership can be Fruitful for India
Entrepreneur India has carved out a few segments that US government can look into after interacting with more than 50 entrepreneurs, who were at the summit looking for investors and potential collaboration to scale up their businesses.
With the advent of artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and machine learning, the Indian financial sector is in the midst of a digital revolution. However, the sector is infamous for catering to the urban and semi-urban India.
US technology-driven businesses can collaborate with Indian fintechs and operation technology companies that can help the sector improve its reach and provide customised as well as affordable services and products to 70 per cent of India's population residing in the rural regions.
Additionally, with the new technology and open banking hitting Indian shores, the country will also require help in the cybersecurity space.
#Women Health and Hygiene
This is one of the most taboo segments in India and hence, discussion related to women’s health and hygiene are just limited to research reports.
While on the other side, some local companies are breaking the barrier and trying to help India women, especially the rural ladies, with contraception and menstrual products that are affordable and environment-friendly. But a lot of work needs to be done.
Internationally firms working in this segment can collaborate with India companies for investments or collaborate to improve their reach and affordability.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a mission to clean India along with open-defecation free India by 2019, is another segment where the US can collaborate.
According to Quality Council of India’s survey, which covered 4626 villages across the country, nearly 62.5% of the households had access to a toilet. But the numbers are not very impressive. And hence, sanitation is one of the areas that needs attention.
Apart from toilets, the India government and companies will need support for waste and wastewater management to achieve the PM Modi’s goals.
Just like the BFSI sector, content creation industry in India, including television and films, is in the cusp of digital revolution. Apart from what and where consumers watch, stakeholders have started paying attention to the size of the screen — mobile, theaters, television and laptops.
However, the sector is unorganized and hence the scope of the industry is limited. There is a need to consolidate the sector and help it improve its reach, not just physically through consumption mediums like theatres or mobile phones, but also in terms of enhancing the post-production methods with advanced technology, especially in the areas such as VFX or dubbing in regional or international languages.
Between May 2014 and March 2017, India has increased solar energy generation capacity by about four times or by 9600 MW to 12,289 MW and the government is committed to increasing the capacity to 100 GW by 2022. PM Modi, in the past, has claimed that he is trying to secure $100billion foreign direct investment.
Apart from the investment, US companies can also pitch for a joint venture or bilateral collaboration with Indian counterparts to help the nation achieve its dream.