WEConnect International Hosts Capacity Building Events for 100+ Women-Owned Enterprises in India
Dozens of multinational corporations connect with local women business owners.
New Delhi: WEConnect International held two in-person events—one in Mumbai on June 1, the other in Bangalore on June 3. Both included cyber security training, followed by two matchmaking sessions between women business owners and multinational corporate member buyers. Over 100 women entrepreneurs participated in these events, which are part of WEConnect International’s “Women’s Empowerment Through Economic Inclusion” project funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA).
The cyber security training provided a timely and critical opportunity for women business owners, as cyber security incidents have increased for small-and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a study by Cisco titled “Cybersecurity for SMBs: Asia Pacific Businesses Prepare for Digital Defense,” 74% of SMBs in India suffered a cyber incident in 2021, with at least half of those noting that the number one factor for being attacked was that their cybersecurity solutions were inadequate for detection and prevention. The training included realistic scenario planning and simulation specifically designed to identify cyber defense weaknesses.
“The United States remains committed to supporting women’s economic empowerment, and we are eager to expand our cooperation with India in promoting women’s entrepreneurship as a crucial element of that effort. The U.S. government recognizes that an investment in women and girls is an investment in our future prosperity.” said Virsa Y. Perkins, Political-Economic Chief, U.S. Consulate General – Chennai, India
Women business owner attendees represented multiple industries including IT, facilities management, professional services and manufacturing. They met with dozens of corporates including Allstate, Dell, IBM, JP Morgan, Marriott International, Microsoft and Trane Technologies to discuss business opportunities. The women entrepreneurs also networked with each other, expanding their networks, sharing experiences and learning from one another.
“It takes courage and confidence for a woman to start a business—but it takes an entire ecosystem to grow and sustain the business,” said Saritha Venumbaka, Chief Operations Officer, WEConnect International. “That is what these events are designed to do: provide modern-day education for enhancing business opportunities and scaffolding for building connections between women business owners and WEConnect International multinational member buyers who are eager to diversify their value chains.”
The three-year Women’s Empowerment Through Economic Inclusion project focuses on generating long-term opportunities for women-owned businesses to connect and conduct business with large buyers, including local and multinational corporations, government agencies and non-profit and non-governmental organizations. To date, more than 400 women entrepreneurs have participated in capacity-building training sessions and networking with dozens of corporations, many of whom have committed to sourcing from women-owned businesses.