India SME Forum Hosted ‘Women Exporters Program 2023’

India SME Forum Hosted ‘Women Exporters Program 2023’

The Women Entrepreneurs Forum, a division of India SME Forum (ISF), India’s largest non-governmental, non-profit organization for small and medium enterprises, hosted the ‘Women Exporters Program Cohort 1 Convocation.’ The graduation-cum-convocation ceremony recognized 500 women entrepreneurs out of 2450 applications who successfully completed their Women Exporters Program 2023. 

The event was graced by Shri S. C. L. Das, Secretary, Ministry of MSME, Government of India, who spoke about their upcoming initiative “Mahila Udhyami” which aims to give a unique identity to women entrepreneurs, the extension of ZED certification and ZED exporter certification for women entrepreneurs free of cost. He was extremely appreciative of the initiative and its outcome as well as impact and extended the Ministry’s support for scaling up the initiative.

As part of the event, a panel discussion titled, "Paving the Path into Global Value Chain,” featured accomplished women entrepreneurs who shared their inspiring stories and valuable insights on how to scale businesses by digitising and leveraging online marketplaces . Moderated by Mr. Vinod Kumar, President, India SME Forum, the panel delved into their early experiences, hurdles they faced, and the financial and technical challenges they encountered. He underscored the importance of digital presence of business, given the present market demands and customer preferences, and highlighted the benefits of e-commerce exports.

Ms. Sushma Morthania, Director General, ISF, said, "The Women Exporters Program has been remarkable. Over the past three months, we've provided training and capacity-building programs in various aspects of entrepreneurship to potential women exporters. Today, we celebrate their dedication and hard work as they embark on their export journey." 

Bala Subramainan, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital and Technology Officer, UPS added, “At UPS, we champion women’s economic empowerment, leveraging our resources and expertise to support women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. That’s because when women succeed, economies thrive. We’re proud to celebrate the graduation of the first batch of women entrepreneurs of the Women Exporters Program which has trained more than 107,000 women entrepreneurs and SMEs globally in capacity building, market access, and improved regulatory framework. We’re thankful for the support of the India SME Forum, the Government of India, and policymakers for the collaboration to ensure that all women entrepreneurs in India have the tools they need to succeed. It’s through such strong public-private partnerships that we can co-create an ecosystem that delivers what matters and encourages more women to participate in global trade.

On the same lines, Ms. Divya Sachdev, President, Information Technology, International, Healthcare, and Supply Chain Solutions, UPS, highlighted the company’s contributions in logistics and packaging, and the successful completion of the program.

Dr. Smita Naram, Founder, Ayushakti Ayurveda, emphasised the crucial role of mentorship and motivation in achieving business growth. She stated that, “Embarking on a personal career journey is akin to riding a bicycle, while managing an enterprise or business resembles operating a giant wheel that perpetually demands careful attention. Businesses should never be left in an autopilot mode.” 

Ms. Suman Sonthalia, Proprietor, Aakriti Art Creations, highlighted the importance of unique approaches to connect with customers and Dr. Hiresha Verma, Founder and Chairperson, Han Agrocare, encouraged perseverance in the face of failure and the need for business diversification. 

The day concluded with one-on-one mentoring sessions where experts addressed specific challenges faced by the cohort members, including logistics, intellectual property, shipping documentation, social media management, global e-marketplace, export finance, and more.

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