This January, V.L. Indira Dutt completes her second term as Chairperson of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) Chamber Women Entrepreneur Council (SCWEC). Before that, her office is getting ready to host an important event, both for India and the city. SCWEC, a sub-group of SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will host the first Global Green Business Summit in Chennai from November 27 to 29.

Indira Dutt, Joint Managing Director, KCP Limited, talks to Liffy Thomas on the summit and the fillip the Council has been providing to women entrepreneurs.

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Nearly 30 entrepreneurs from the SAARC countries are putting up stalls showcasing green business and enterprises in textile and food. Besides, a number of seminars and B2B meetings are also planned. “We have for the first time also instituted the ‘Women Entrepreneur Excellence Award', which will be given to 10 entrepreneurs representing the SAARC countries,” says Ms. Dutt.

The event is special as it is the 10th year of SCWEC. A directory of women entrepreneurs in the countries will be released on the occasion and Afghanistan will also be exploring ties to join the Chamber.

Welcoming more women to start businesses in niche areas and also enrol with the Chamber, she talks of how countries such as Bhutan, Bangladesh and Pakistan have benefited.

“One can start exporting their products and explore more business opportunities this way,” she says. Pakistan, for instance, is doing business with Hyderabad on enzymes. Bhutan does excellent designs but they are heavy, so we have asked them to come to India and take help to see how it can be made light and more marketable.

Capacity building of women, especially those from the underdeveloped sectors has been one of the main focus areas for SCWEC. Training and placing nearly 900 women in different sectors was a challenge but we are happy to see some of them going places with their business ventures, she says.

Ms. Dutt, who is a past-president of FICCI Ladies Organisation and president of World Telugu Federation, says finance continues to be the biggest hurdle for women to start an independent venture. India has the maximum number of women entrepreneurs, although it is also because of its size, otherwise we certainly can encourage more people start business by some “handholding and family support”.

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Liffy ThomasJune 28, 2012