HYDERABAD: Woman power was in full flow at the GES's Plenary Session held on the theme of 'Be the Change: Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership'.
Moderated by John Chambers, Cisco, Chairman Emeritus, the panel consisted of three women, who have carved a niche for themselves, in their own way. India's Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Advisor to US President Ivanka Trump, the first black woman to lead an aviation company, Sibongile Sambo MD of SRS Aviation, were the three women, with Marcus Wallenberg, chairman of SEB, the leading Nordic corporate bank being the lone male participant.
"Indian women always had that natural instinct to excel and succeed. With Government supporting women entrepreneurship and startups on a big scale, now they are emerging as entrepreneurs," said Nirmala Sitharaman, setting a context for the discussion, in reply to John Chambers's inquisitive observation about how India is able to achieve about 40 per cent women participation in startups.
Taking further from Nirmala, "Women Entrepreneurs face several problems like lack of access to capital, mentoring, inequity in law in some countries. We need to work with private corporations and governments in all countries to create an enabling eco-system, to decrease barriers to new businesses," said Ivanka Trump.
In her advice to women entrepreneurs, Trump further stressed, "Entrepreneurs have to just do it. If you have an idea or solution, if you are passionate about it and think can change and better world, just do it! No time like the present."
While Marcus Wallenberg, chairman of SEB focused on how participation from women can lead to increase in nation's GDP and growth, it was Sibongile Sambo, the first black day to lead an aviation company who stole audience hearts.
"When I wanted to resign from my job in the corporate world and thrive as an entrepreneur and start an aviation company, little did it know that everything comes with a package and being an entrepreneur is not a smooth sailing. Aviation was heavily regulated and I did not have access to finance. When I ran out of all options, I didn't give up. I started this company with pension money of my mother. Finance is a problem for entrepreneurs. But when you have a plan, a dream, don't let it die. If you pursue, you will succeed," said Sibongile Sambo delivering an inspiring talk for entrepreneurs.