By Makhabbat Sadykova

Hyderabad hosted a Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 (GES) Nov 28-30.  India’s Hyderabad is home for T-Hub which is India’s largest incubator for startups.  This year’s summit focused on a topic, ‘Women first. Prosperity for all.’  The main highlight of the event was a speech by advisor to the president of the United States, Ivanka Trump.  Women made up record number of 1,500 entrepreneurs selected to attend this summit.

Ivanka Trump and Narendra Modi meet at GES2017

During her speech at GES2017, Ivanka Trump told that entrepreneurship activity amongst women grew by 10% worldwide, while in the United States within the last decade the number of women-owned firms has increased 45%. She added that today there are more than 11 million women-owned businesses in the United States and they employ nearly 9 million workers and generate over a trillion U.S. dollars in revenue.

Ivanka Trump claimed that women-led businesses are not simply good for societies, but they are good for economies. The former businesswoman referred to the study which had estimated that closing the gender entrepreneurship gap worldwide could increase the global GDP by as much as 2%.

Ivanka Trump knows about business firsthand. She had worked in real estate for many years. She also founded her own fashion brand, the Ivanka Trump Collection.

Ivanka Trump gives a speech at GES2017

According to Trump, capital, mentorship and policies are the key elements to develop women’s entrepreneurship.  She claimed that ensuring that women entrepreneurs have access to capital, networks and mentors as well as access to equitable laws will contribute to the prosperity of the women entrepreneurs.  

The data shows that, in developing countries 70% of women-owned small and medium-sized businesses are denied access to capital. Furthermore, Harvard Business Review report found that investors asked men questions about their potential for gains whereas they asked women questions about their potential for loss. Trump concluded that this could in part explain why women entrepreneurs receive less than 3% of venture capital funding.

The former entrepreneur highlighted the significance of mentorship and networks which are critical to start and grow a business everywhere. American women still have the difficulty in finding a mentor, she explained.

Trump highlighted the USAID’s contribution to women's entrepreneurship which has realized a number of programs, particularly, providing microfinance loans to women in Afghanistan and bringing Internet access to women in Nigeria and Kenya.

Trump stated that when women work it creates a unique multiplier effect. “Women are more likely than men to hire other women to give them access to capital, mentorship and networks. Women are also more likely to reinvest their income back into their families and their communities,” she said.

During the panel session, Ivanka Trump told about her concern regarding low representation of women in future jobs, specifically, in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). American women take 13% of engineering jobs. “If we continue not to take our fair share, if we continue to be underrepresented in these high growth areas, in these lucrative fields of the future, I worry that 4th industrial revolution will not only lead to us remaining stagnant in terms of closing this existing gender pay gap but I worry will actually start to make negative progress and lose a lot of gains that we made recent decades.” For this purpose, a presidential memorandum and the U.S. department of education committed US$200 million a minimum annually to developing the STEM education.

Trump gave two bright examples of women entrepreneurs in science and technology who are inspiring other women to save lives, create jobs and bring hope to communities.

Raj Lakshmi Bartakar from Bangalore, India invented a smart glove that predicts and detects different diseases and disorders using artificial intelligence. The idea came to Raj Lakshmi when her son began having seizures at a young age and she took a step to create her own solution to better monitor her child’s health.  Now her company aims to make public healthcare accessible in the most remote places of India.

15-year-old Rayon Karmalova from Azerbaijan founded a rainwater harvesting company with a powerful motto ‘light up one house at a time,’ making electricity more affordable to local communities.

Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 in Hyderabad has become a flagman ship in addressing topics related to women’s entrepreneurship worldwide. You can watch Ivanka Trump’s speech at GES2017 below in the video.