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The trip was a follow-up to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES 2017) held in Hyderabad last November, which emphasized female entrepreneurship and sought to correct the disparity in funding for female-founded ventures. On the very first day, the delegation met with the officials from the State Department in Washington D.C. where new programs for empowering women entrepreneurs in developing countries were introduced. The visit was very interactive and involved a lot of question and answers from the delegates. One of the delegates, Ms. Sakshi Talwar, Co-Founder of Rugs and Beyond ( an E-commerce venture that sells "One of a Kind", handmade rugs to customers worldwide while empowering local weavers and craftsmen in rural India) was introduced to several initiatives to further support artisans in rural India. Sakshi enthusiastically shed some details about a new program that Rugs and Beyond ( https://www.rugsandbeyond.com ) is launching which is called, 1Rug1Chwherein for every rug sold, the company would partially support a weavers child education.
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This interaction with the state officials was followed by a meeting with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) wherein the delegation was acquainted with initiatives that OPIC has to offer for women entrepreneurs. The evening was concluded by a boisterous reception held by the Embassy of India in Washington DC and Ambassador Mr. Navtej Sarna. There were a host of other entrepreneurs and officials from the Indian Diaspora including Michael Kapoor, Venture Capitalist, Ms. Dolly Oberoi, Founder of C2 Technologies and Mr. Dilip Sundaram, Head of Mahindra in USA. "The GES was a crucial event. It gave a strong impetus to what NITI Aayog was planning and had in the pipeline," said India's Ambassador to the US Navtej Singh Sarna.
"Women have held a very important social, political and economic role in India. And today when you modernise that role and you give it the kind of shape of entrepreneurship and give it the facilitation, I think you're gonna see frankly, a far more focused work than men can do," Sarna said.
The following day, the delegation visited the United States Chamber of Commerce where the roundtable meeting was led by Ms. Nisha Biswal who is the President of U.S.-India Business Council right wherein different strategic alliances between the Indian and US women entrepreneurs were discussed. The final meeting in Washington D.C. was concluded by meeting with World bank at their headquarters. World Bank introduced their newly launched program called the We-Fi ( Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative).
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In Boston, the delegates visited several universities, including MIT and Harvard, and also toured a robotics center at Carnegie Mellon University.
In California, Bay Area, the delegation was invited to Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park followed by a fireside chat with Iconic Venture Capitalist, Mr. Vinod Khosla where several bay area entrepreneurs and investors were present and interacted with the delegation of women entrepreneurs. Indian American entrepreneur Malvika Bawri, who organized the delegation's visit to the Bay Area was instrumental in setting up an early morning breakfast meeting with mentors and other entrepreneurs from the Bay Area.
Overall, the trip was a successful event and Mr. Dilip Chenoy, director general of FICCI, told India-West that FICCI had organized a series of roadshows leading up to the GES, and wanted to continue to momentum on promoting female entrepreneurship. "GES was the key trigger," he said.
(Rugs and Beyond)
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