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Dealing With Women-owned Businesses Is Not Only Right Thing But The Smart Thing To Do: Walmart's Jenny Grieser

The summit aimed at connecting Indian and Global Corporations with Medium and Small Businesses so as to open doors to future trade and collaboration

Pushpanjali Chawla, MD, Piivotul Consulting Services moderated a power-packed session on Women Entrepreneurs at Asia's largest women entrepreneurship and economic empowerment platform ThinkBig 2017.

The panellists included Jenny Grieser-Senior Director, Women Economic Empowerment, Walmart; Anu Acharya CEO, Mapmygenome India; Naiyya Saggi Founder, BabyChakra; Sonia Sharma Founder, Nature Organic; Deepakshi Bhanot Owner, PLG International; and Puja Mahajan of Unitas Foods.

The summit aimed at connecting Indian and Global Corporations with Medium and Small Businesses so as to open doors to future trade and collaboration.

With a core intention of bridging the gap between companies and women entrepreneurs and establish successful collaborations through strategic partnerships.
At the conference, there were stakeholders present from across the board, from women entrepreneurs, corporate buyers, government, industry mentors, women industry associations, investors and media who came together to empower women entrepreneurs by connecting them with big and small corporates.
In the session on Women in Business interesting deliberations ensued about the winnings and woes of being a female entrepreneur and how to differentiate your self.
The importance of skilling and training one's self and becoming financially literate was the unanimous need supported by all the panellists to ensure success in entrepreneurship.
Jenny Grieser from Walmart shared that in her opinion dealing with women-owned businesses is not only the right thing to do, CSR initiatives aside but the smart thing to do.
Women make the decisions around purchasing at a store like Walmart and when they see a product made by another woman, they perceive it to be of a higher quality, and in Jenny's experience more often than not they are.

She stressed on the importance of innovation for entrepreneurship and on the importance of listening to your client, understanding their need and to be willing to incorporate changes in order to be able to compete with the rest out there.
In Puja Mahajan of Unitas Foods, experience dealing with large corporates she has faced challenges all the way. A large part she feels is because of the lack of networking opportunities for women, long credit periods, lack of training and structures. These she perceives as huge obstacles that most women entrepreneurs need to constantly navigate.
Anu Acharya founder Mapmy Genome, a molecular diagnostics company to make people proactive about their health, believes that for an entrepreneur to be successful it is imperative to keep innovating. The culture at work is something she feels is more important than the skillset an employee may bring. An alignment of culture ensures the flow of creativity and the allowances to fail without judgement.
The need to differentiate one's self in an ever-growing market is an ongoing task according to Naiyya Saggi Founder, BabyChakra-a website and an Android app for parents. Her success in her opinion lies in the specificity of the platform, the custom solutions it offers for a parent are locality specific, life stage-specific and interest-driven. There is a need to stand out, and this is how she does it.
Nature organics a company dealing in organic staples and superfoods was founded by Sonia Sharma. Sonia's aim has always been to give people healthy choices and to help farmers grow.
Unfortunately, adulteration is a huge hindrance, top lines and bottom lines force the farmers to make unethical and unhealthy choices. Burning crops to get nitrogen is one of the biggest issues, repercussions of which we are all bearing the brunt. Challenges of education the farmers and consumers is an uphill task.
Deepakshi Bhanot Owner, PLG International, believes that the success of an entrepreneur depends on how the employees feel. Wages, working hours, hygiene and safety are core areas, especially for women hiring women to look into and keep at the highest standards. If these are kept in check women flourish and hence the businesses.
The need to switch off and unwind is something that is essential to be able to function at the high level all these women are functioning at.

In the absence of decompression, creativity struggles. Anu Acharya marries both her hobbies and her work. At the end of the year, she writes a poem to her investors, sharing her journey of the year. Not only does this differentiate her but also helps her decompress.
"Plan plan plan, read read read persevere and that is the only way to success," is what Puja shared would be her advice to her younger self.
Sonia Sharma too echoed that she wishes that she had mapped out the unchartered territory that she throught herself into before starting her business.
"Having belief in your self, believe that you are solving a real problem. Being cautious about who you hire. An important balance of culture, passion and drive," is the message Naiya would give her younger self. Something that she managed to align with luckily for her business.
"I would not change a thing. The mistakes that I made, are responsible for where I am today," says Anu.
To always remember to keep it light and love ones work and to create teams for all aspects of the business is what Deepakshi stressed would be her message to her younger self.
"Be consistent about whatever you do. Keep it up. Be consistent in attitude. Be consistent in your work quality and be consistent in your expectations from your employees, be consistent all the way," expressed Pushpanjali Chawla, the effusive moderator.

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ThinkBig 2017 Women Economic Empowerment

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