Optimism, opportunity unite women-owned businesses in India

I am in a heightened sense of excitement as I prepare to fly by invitation of Dell to their Global Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) event in New Delhi, India. It is a first return visit since I backpacked with my husband 18 years ago when India grabbed hold of my soul – and when I first got enticed.

Having studied the world’s leading technology companies for over 20 years and specialised in building ICT company brands, I’ll be interested to get an inside look at operations during the next week of hospitality. Over the past 10 years, Dell has had its fair share of business challenges and evolved to face increased competition and rapid technology changes. I’ve always seen technology as a key enabler of business growth and competitive advantage and find the business side of technology fascinating.

As part of founder and CEO Michael Dell’s ‘Women Powering Business’ movement, I am attending this invitation-only gathering of global female founders, CEOs and innovative leaders who evidently come together once a year to discuss business issues and how technology can help ignite growth. Attendees tend to be female founders and CEOs who run fast-growth companies of 50-500 employees with revenues of $3M or above from around the world. Joining me is a contingent of fifteen female Australian entrepreneurs, CEOs and founders. We are being joined by another 160 female CEO’s from around the globe.

Stepping away from the issues at home for a moment, the conference coincides with Dell releasing a new study which points to India as one of the most fertile business environments for female entrepreneurs. Growth in businesses run by women will reach some 90 percent in the next five years.

According to the study, India is the ideal country to be in if you’re a woman starting a business in 2012 and beyond with lots of suuport organisations emerging to assist. When you consider that India has a projected GDP growth rate of 8.2 percent in 2011-2012, according to the Indian Economic Outlook Report, women entrepreneurs in India have good reason to be feeling bullish.

I expect to hear the results of the Women’s Global Entrepreneurship Study, revealing indicators of business confidence among women entrepreneurs in different countries, along with their motivations, financing options and sources of support.

Key findings include:

• Business is booming: 71 percent of female entrepreneurs in India say their business is very successful, and eight in 10 female entrepreneurs in India say they are hiring.

• Opportunity for technology: 74 percent of female entrepreneurs in India say their technology needs are getting more complex.

• Don’t quit your day job: 90 percent of female entrepreneurs in India started their business while maintaining their day job.

• Positive social impact is important: 85 percent of female entrepreneurs in India believe it is very important that their business has a positive social impact.

Previous DWEN events encouraged female global entrepreneurs to do business, find funding and connect with one another at events to share best practices, build business opportunities and celebrate female influence in the global economy. Dell chose India for this year as one of the largest emerging markets, as well as its influence on the world of technology.

Host Moira Forbes, publisher of Forbes Woman, is our MC around the theme, “Innovation through Collaboration.” The agenda is structured to include speakers from a range of countries. Topics cover doing business in India, social entrepreneurship and strategic giving, sustainability, customer engagement, social media strategy and going global.

“Women are playing increasingly important roles in leadership and we’re seeing some of the most exciting global growth coming from female-led companies,” said Forbes.

The initiative is supported by Endeavor, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women and the Kauffman Foundation. Content about the event can be found on Twitter via @DellBizWomen and by following #dwen.

The Dell vision (NASDAQ: DELL) is to help power the success of entrepreneurs by developing technology solutions that help their businesses increase productivity and grow, so watch this space.

A few facts to finish:

•       Women-owned businesses currently have an economic impact of $3 trillion and represent 23 million jobs in the U.S., and if female entrepreneurs in the U.S. started with the same capital as male entrepreneurs, they could add 6 million jobs to the economy in five years

•       More than 50 percent of Brazil’s entrepreneurs are women

•       In Canada, nearly half of all SMBs include some degree of female ownership with the number of women-entrepreneurs outpaced men in new business start-ups

•       Half of the 14 self-made female billionaires on Forbes magazine’s 2010 list of global billionaires were from mainland China and 91 percent of Chinese businesses have women in senior leadership, the second highest percentage in the world

Will keep you posted!.

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