Private sector lender ICICI Bank is steering several initiatives such as ‘I work at home’ for women to promote entrepreneurship in the country, the bank’s MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar said today. She said that the organisation does not have specific policies for women but it creates an environment where women entrepreneurs can feel confident. “We create a real working environment where they can work from home,” she said here at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. She was speaking about increasing women’s participation in the workforce and enhancing access to skills training, education, and career counselling.
Other panelists in the discussion included Cherie Blair, Founder of Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, CBE, QC; Ivanka Trump, advisor to the US President, and Karen Quintos, Dell EMC, Chief Customer Officer. Ivanka Trump said technology is a great driver to promote women entrepreneurs as it reduces barriers to starting businesses and offers tremendous opportunities. She said that she gets inspired from her six-year-old daughter because “she makes me realise how many ingrained biases even I have that I don’t realise that I am accidentally putting on my children”. “We have to do a better job of recognising that all women, whether they are working inside the home or whether they are working in professional capacity, I think we have to celebrate that decision”.
Kochhar said that if one can provide education, encouragement and empowerment to women entrepreneurs, then sky is the limit for them. Talking about skill training, she said the organisation has started initiatives for youth. As many as 24 skill training centres are there in urban and semi urban areas besides in hundreds of villages on segments including dress designing and office administration, she said. She added that one lakh youth are being trained every year and in this 55 per cent are women. The bank provide credit and market linkages so that women entrepreneurs start their livelihood of their own.
“This gives them economic confidence,” she said. Appreciating these initiative, Trump said this is the way private sector players can help governments to promote women entrepreneurship.