Women should be given the freedom to do what they can and what they want to do, says Union Minister of Commerce Suresh Prabhu, adding that the government has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen the ecosystem for women entrepreneurs.
"The government has taken a number of women specific initiatives such as identifying and awarding women, providing knowledge and skills, mentoring and networking, incubation and accelerated support and international exposure to women entrepreneurs," Prabhu said, addressing the National Seminar on procurement and marketing support to MSMEs and the launch of Womennovator, a virtual incubator for women entrepreneurs, on the occasion of International Women's Day in New Delhi on Friday.
He encouraged women to make the best use of Government e-Marketplace (GeM), a national public procurement portal to facilitate online procurement of common use goods made by by self-help groups, women entrepreneurs, and artisans. Since its inception more than 13 lakh orders worth Rs 19,000 crore has been processed in GeM, he informed.
He further said that GeM is launching a dedicated section on its platform for woman entrepreneurs.
Prabhu emphasised that products unique to a specific region must benefit regional artisans. To promote that, Prabhu said, 103 airports will soon have geographical indication (GI) stalls for GI products which are mainly manufactured by women artisans.
Speaking at the event, Secretary MSME Dr Arun Kumar Panda, pointed at the glaring lack of awareness among women entrepreneurs about the government schemes that can benefit them. All CPSEs are mandated to procure at least 3 per cent of their requirements from women entrepreneurs, he informed, adding that Mudra, PMJDY, Udyog Aadhar, Lean and Green Manufacturing, promoting 'zero defect and zero effect' are some of key schemes that women entrepreneurs must know of.
Panda suggested that entrepreneurs must visit respective websites of ministries under which their businesses fall and requested MSME associations to inform members about these schemes.
Womennovator founder Tripti S Shinghal said success for the organisation is seeing programme participants come out of the programme with a proven and profitable business model.
Womennovator launched its applications for this year's edition for 100-plus cities and 60-plus sectors and also Internationally that shall support women entrepreneurs to start and grow profitable businesses through virtual support.