Advancing Women’s Role in Business
Business Women Expo, India’s largest exhibition for women entrepreneurs, witnessed an overwhelming success in its 3rd edition as the enterprising female force gathered together on March 10-12, 2023, at HITEX Exhibition and Convention Centre, with a vision to bring a remarkable change in the business community.
Female entrepreneurship in India has steadily grown over the past few years, and there are several reasons to be optimistic about the future. There has been a marked increase in the number of women-led businesses in the country. A report by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) found that the number of women entrepreneurs in India has doubled from 14 percent in 2014 to 28 percent in 2018. These numbers indicate that more women are starting businesses and taking control of their economic futures.
The Government of India has also been taking steps to support female entrepreneurship. For example, in 2018, the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises launched a program called Udyogini, which provides training, financial assistance, and other support to women who want to start their businesses. The Government has also set up a dedicated fund called the
Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme, which provides financial assistance to women entrepreneurs.
There is a growing ecosystem of support for female entrepreneurs in India. Women-led business networks, such as WEConnect International and the Indian Women Network, provide mentoring, networking opportunities, and other forms of support to women entrepreneurs. In addition, several incubators and accelerators specifically focus on supporting women-led businesses, such as SHEROES, Women’s Startup Lab, and
WE Hub in Telangana.
HITEX’s Role in the Scheme of Things
With the proper support and resources, women-led businesses have the potential to play a significant role in the country’s economic growth and development. And here’s where HITEX is doing its bit and providing a platform that could boost these businesses for women to achieve the next level of success.
“HITEX organizes Business Women Expo (BWE) annually to honor women’s entrepreneurship by promoting networking opportunities and business prospects with diverse stakeholders. The event offers an excellent platform for businesswomen and entrepreneurs to explore new ideas, horizons, and endless possibilities, as well as establish corporate contacts and draw inspiration,” said M Sandeep Kumar, Manager, BD & Own Shows (Business Women Expo), Hyderabad International Trade Expositions Ltd (HITEX).
The third edition of Business Women Expo, India’s premier event for business women and entrepreneurs to connect, collaborate, and celebrate alongside corporate enterprises and trade, was a highly successful affair. The three-day comprehensive event aimed at
providing opportunities for women at any stage of their professional journey. The Ministry of MSME, Government of India, National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC), T-Hub, WE Hub, Women Entrepreneurship Development Organization (WEDO), The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), The Little Text, and Lead Engine lent their support to the event.
The well-attended event featured more than 200 female exhibitors who showcased their expertise in different product categories to over 11,000 attendees from 20 states and inspired female attendees seeking to establish themselves.
The event was inaugurated by Amala Akkineni, Indian actress, Bharatanatyam Dancer, and activist and Gareth Wynn Owen, British Deputy High Commissioner, along with Dr Shilpi Reddy, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, KIMS CUDDLES; Kadambari Umapathy, Founder, Women Entrepreneurship Development Organisation (WEDO); M Srinivasa Rao, Assistant Director, MSME; Krishna Yedula, Secretary General, Society for Cyberabad Security Council (SCSC); Anil Agarwal - President, The Federation of Telangana Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FTCCI); and Dr KBRS Visarada, Principal Scientist, Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR).
Other high-profile dignitaries, including Jennifer Larson, US Consul General, Hyderabad; Shobana Kamineni, Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals; Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Information Technology (IT), Government of Telangana; Nawab Mir Nasir Ali Khan,
Honorary Consul of the Republic of Kazakhstan for Telangana
and Andhra Pradesh; Deepthi Ravula, CEO, WE Hub, and many more graced the event.
The event was supported by the Union Ministry of MSME and many reputed industry bodies, including WE Hub, IIMR, TiE
Hyderabad, WEDO, T-Hub, FTCCI, Indian Chambers of Commerce (ICC), Telangana Facilities Management Council (TFMC), Telangana State Trade Promotion Corporation Ltd (TSTPC), and Hyderabad Convention Visitors Bureau (HCVB).
Business Women Expo’s sponsors included KIMS CUDDLES, NMDC Ltd, AasaanWill, and Karkinos Healthcare Pvt Ltd. The expo also received support from Good Universe, Startup Story, and L&T Metro Rail. Amazon ran a vendor registration program and I-Run organized Hyderabad’s first exclusive women’s run during the expo.
Exhibitor and Visitor Profile
The exhibition proved to be an exclusive opportunity for social entrepreneurs, women in unconventional business, student entrepreneurs, self-made businesswomen, homepreneurs, startups, art entrepreneurs, eco-artists, and innovators. The event showcased a range of products and services, such as Hospitality Supplies and Services, Decorative and Architectural Solutions, Beauty & Wellness, Nutrition, Sustainable Products, and various Consultancy and Service offerings.
The exhibition was in D2C, B2C, and B2B formats, attracting direct retail buyers, aspiring women entrepreneurs, young professionals, homemakers, homepreneurs, facility managers, dealers, institutional buyers, HNIs, and buyers from PSUs and large corporations.
Monika Taparia, Legal Head, AasaanWill, the Silver Sponsors of Business Women Expo 2023, spoke about her experience at the expo, “Our goal is to assist female entrepreneurs in developing their financial continuity plans. We’ve had a fantastic experience at the expo thus far, meeting a multitude of innovative women with unique business concepts. Additionally, the event has had a substantial turnout.”
According to Founder Sravanthi Mamillapalli, Edin Life exclusively uses natural ingredients that are sourced from local farmers in and around Telangana. The company is dedicated to maintaining authenticity and ensures that every ingredient in their products is hand-pounded to prevent any preservatives or colors from being added. “We have participated in BWE for the first time, and the HITEX team has been incredibly supportive of our endeavor. This expo has allowed us to connect with a wider customer base that may not have been possible otherwise,” she added.
According to Ayn Longkumer, Founder, Ayn Longkumer Design and Research, the response to their fashion and lifestyle products at the expo has been incredible and they have received a warm welcome. Longkumer personally believes that this is a powerful platform for launching women entrepreneurs and is grateful for the opportunity to participate. Additionally, the expo has presented a valuable networking opportunity for all attendees.
The event was well supported by the Government and Industry. Sixty women entrepreneurs received a subsidy from the Union Ministry of MSME to participate in the event, while a few stalls also received support from other industry bodies like SIDBI, WE Hub, ICC, IIMR etc.
Health Tops the List
The success of the third edition can be attributed significantly to the diverse range of activities and business opportunities offered on the expo floor. Besides the exhibition booths, attendees had access to networking events, product launches, seminars, awards, and workshops that furnished valuable information and resources.
This year, the show focused on the health and wellness of women. Multiple health screenings such as general health check-up, BIM, Thyroid, Cancer Screening, Hair and Skin Consulting, etc. were conducted during the event.
WEDO Conference & Awards had Ranjan as the Chief Guest along with Khan as the Guest of Honour. WEDO organized day-long sessions including Art of Raising Capital, Top 10 Legal Know-Hows for Women,
Storytelling, etc., by World Storytelling Championship, Insights on Property Investments by a specialist, Visionary Women Collective Launch, a session on the Payment gateway ‘Ippo Pay’, and a session on ‘Art of Raising Capital’.
TiE Hyderabad Investor Connect included the launch of the fourth edition of Women’s Special Edition, which Larson and Shobana Kamineni graced. More than 60 women founders from all over India applied for this opportunity to pitch their businesses to a panel of
investors. Ten startups, led or co-led by women entrepreneurs from various sectors and at early or revenue stages,
had the chance to pitch to
Visionary Women Awards saw nominations from women across Asia, including women entrepreneurs, professionals, and innovators. Self-nominations were also encouraged for the awards.
Investor Connect Program had women-led or co-led startups participate in this unique event. This platform created opportunities for handpicked startups in the early growth stage seeking equity funding or investor support to present their business venture to prominent Indian PE/VC/Seed/Angel funds across industries.
Multiple Workshop & Training Programs convened professionals and leaders who offered their skills and provided hands-on experience to startups, entrepreneurs, and aspirants to network, learn, and grow.
More than 370 B2B meetings were scheduled according to the buyers’ needs, allowing entrepreneurs sufficient time to prepare their presentations.
The event also had the presence of buyers from various public PSUs such as South Centre Railways, BRAHMOS, and BHEL, as well as reputable
hotels like Marriot Sheraton and Le Meridian, retail outlets including Heritage, Q-mart, and Spacers, and large corporations like WTC, KIMS, and Greenko, informed Kumar.
Additionally, many technology startups such as Tribe Team, Karkinos Healthcare, AasaanWill, Choice Décor, GreytHR, Digital Kangaroos, etc. from HR automation, Software, Medical, Educational, and Home Automation sectors also participated in this edition.
Hyderabad’s first women-exclusive run, I-Run, was organized with the unique theme of ‘Breaking Barriers’. The event had three categories - 3km, 5km, and 10km - and attracted 1,120 participants. Organized by Traditions Event Management in partnership with HITEX, the run welcomed women of all ages to participate, with several corporate teams, including Synchrony, Accenture, and DE Shah, participating. The organizers plan to make I-Run an annual event.
Aligning with ‘Make in India’
According to Kumar, Business Women Expo has aligned itself with ‘Make in India’ by promoting women entrepreneurs and encouraging them to market their products confidently. He provides a few examples:
Supporting women-led businesses: By providing a platform for women-led companies to showcase their products, Business Women Expo has successfully highlighted the entrepreneurial talent of Indian women on the lines of ‘Make in India’.
Encouraging local production: By promoting women entrepreneurs who make products locally and their participation through the Union Ministry of MSME’s scheme, the event promotes local manufacturers.
Boosting women’s economic empowerment: Women’s economic empowerment is a key component of the ‘Make in India’ program, and the Business Women Expo has successfully provided a platform for women entrepreneurs to network, learn from each other, and access resources that can help them grow their businesses.
Encouraging innovation and creativity: Workshops, seminars, and knowledge sessions have been instrumental for women entrepreneurs to understand the changing trends and policies of the Government and private players like Amazon and Flipkart.
Aarambh: Programs such as Aarambh under Business Women Expo have helped women entrepreneurs with direct access to MSME schemes and their various certifications, helping them to bid for Government orders as well.
Looking forward to the next BWE
The success of the third edition of Business Women Expo has surpassed its earlier versions and is indicative of its growing popularity and reach. Many exhibitors have reported increased business and networking opportunities due to their participation, which is a testament to the expo’s importance as a vital platform for aspiring and established women entrepreneurs. With the continued growth and success of the event, it is expected that future editions will attract even more exhibitors and visitors, thereby expanding the expo’s influence and impact on the entrepreneurial community. Do stay tuned for the forthcoming edition that is to take place on March 8-10, 2024
The growing success of Business Women Expo
No. of exhibitors : 169
No. of visitors : 13,297 from 12 states
Gross exhibition space : 5,500 sqm
No. of B2B meetings : 211
Business done in 3 days : +`7 crore
No. of exhibitors : 221
No. of visitors : 11,723 from 20 states
Gross exhibition space : 7,000 sqm
No. of B2B meetings : 370
Business done in 3 days : +`10 crore
“HITEX organizes Business Women Expo annually to honor women’s entrepreneurship by promoting networking opportunities and business prospects with a diverse range of stakeholders. The event offers an excellent platform for businesswomen and entrepreneurs to explore new ideas, horizons, and endless possibilities, establish corporate contacts and draw inspiration.”
M Sandeep Kumar
Manager-BD & Own Shows (Business Women Expo)
Trade Expositions Ltd
The well-attended event featured more than 200 female exhibitors who showcased their expertise in different product categories to over 11,000 attendees from 20 states.
We are the Silver Sponsors of Business Women Expo 2023. Our goal is to assist female entrepreneurs in developing their financial continuity plans. We’ve had a fantastic experience at the expo thus far, meeting a multitude of innovative women with unique business concepts. Additionally, the event has had a substantial turnout. Monika Taparia
The response to our fashion and lifestyle products at the expo has been incredible. This is a significant platform for launching women entrepreneurs. We are grateful for the opportunity to participate and network.
Ayn Longkumer Design and Research
We exclusively use natural ingredients that are sourced from local farmers in and around Telangana. Edin Life is dedicated to maintaining authenticity and ensures that each ingredient in our products is hand-pounded to prevent any preservatives or colors from being added. We have participated in BWE for the first time and the HITEX team has been incredibly supportive of our endeavor. This expo has allowed us to connect with a wider customer base that may not have been possible otherwise.