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Female Entrepreneurship and the WTCA

Khair Ull Nissa, Board Member, WTCA; Executive Director, World Trade Center Noida

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Today, the presence of women in positions of influence, power, and leadership is underwhelming. Globally, women represented just 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs in 2018 and 2019. In India, we have seen women leaders face greater and bigger challenges than their male counterparts as they battle against perceptions, gender disparity and stereotypical beliefs. However, with changing times and workforce trends, this reality is also changing, and more and more women are breaking the glass ceiling to lead the way across businesses in India. 

I joined World Trade Center (WTC) Noida in 2013 after successful stints at Viridian RED, Era Landmarks, Paras Buildtech, Banday Impex, Labrez Trading LLC, Al-Sultani Furniture Trading LLC, Kohimaran Trading, Pace, and the World Bank. Over the past seven years, I was instrumental in increasing WTCA’s presence in India from 14 cities to 26 cities, bringing WTCs to cities including Noida, Noida-CBD, GIFT City, and Chandigarh. Today, as the Executive Director at WTC Noida, I am focused on transforming businesses, as well as creating visibility and spearheading services for WTC’s existing and future network of tier-II cities in India including Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bhopal, Faridabad, Kanpur, Ludhiana, Lucknow, Patna, Surat, Vadodara, and Varanasi.

WTC Noida is instrumental in delivering on multiple areas of businesses in India, including the launch and promotion of WTC services, collaboration with government at both the central and state levels, policy analysis and advocacy, market information and analysis, cluster development, investment opportunities, MOU signings with state and national trade bodies, development of strategies on SME HUBs and innovation HUBs, international facilitation and networking, and co-organization of business meets, seminars, and conferences. With support from the WTCA’s branding, WTC Noida is greatly positioned to invite investors to explore Noida as a potential investment destination. Thanks to our 360-Degree holistic development ecosystem of 5E’s (Enhancing Trade Infrastructure, Empowering Trade Policies, Enriching Entrepreneurs, Engaging Global Stakeholders, and Encouraging Investment), WTC Noida is in a position to comfortably market our projects and services to bring desirable changes to our local community, and further our expansion in India.

In addition to our daily efforts, we are actively working to highlight women’s efforts and further inspire them to unleash their talents as they change countless people’s lives by providing start-up assistance and accelerator programs, skilling and upskilling training programs, and micro-financing workshops. Accordingly, women are at the forefront of all WTC Noida’s initiatives — female “pink-collar” advocacy in manufacturing is an area we are promoting heavily at WTC Noida, with reference to the electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM) sector. Currently, WTC Noida has more than 33% in-house women employees who represent various functional capacities across sales and marketing, human resources, finance, IT, site supervision, leasing, and projects and designing. To celebrate and recognize our in-house female staff, we are organizing an event on International Women’s Day on March 8, which will consist of a luncheon, quiz contest, and award ceremony.

We have also been incentivizing female entrepreneurs to access WTC Noida’s trade services and WTC infrastructures. WTC Noida promotes female entrepreneurs through its accelerator program Viridian e-Spark by assisting them with the “3Ms” – money, market and mentorship – and creating opportunities for women through collaboration with national chapters, female state councils, and other female-focused organizations.

WTC Noida is also an active participant in various women-oriented events hosted by national trade associations including the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) of India, and PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI). In honor of International Women’s Day, we are participating in the panel discussion at the upcoming CMA Womennovator Conclave 2020 event, sharing our professional experiences and encouraging female entrepreneurs to explore services being offered by WTC Noida. Specifically, we are targeting our outreach to female entrepreneurs who are excelling in their field and can benefit from WTC Noida’s global and local access. 

Our team is also contributing to the Indian government’s efforts to empower future female entrepreneurs through Mahila-E-Haat, a bi-lingual online marketplace that leverages technology to help aspiring female entrepreneurs, self-help groups, and NGOs to showcase their products and services; Mahila Shakti Kendra to empower rural women with opportunities for skill development, employment, digital literacy, health and nutrition; and Working Women, our co-living separate tower specifically for working women. With the focus of empowering female entrepreneurs throughout India, WTC Noida is in the process of partnering with leading regional bodies and state governments to develop respective industry HUBs, innovation HUBs, facilitation centers and WTC desks in prominent cities across India. 

At WTC Noida, we wholeheartedly recognize the women who are contributing to our success, acknowledging their groundbreaking efforts to bridge the gender gap, change the lives of people in our local community, break stereotypical beliefs, and empower other women to rise into their respective professional careers.

WTC Noida’s Way Forward

In India, WTC Noida is strategically spearheading the WTCA’s goal of connecting globally and prospering locally, aligning with the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and Amritsar-Delhi-Kolkata Industrial Corridor (ADKIC) — India’s ambitious, mega infrastructure projects — and inspiring women leadership contributing to the WTCA’s further expansion in India.

We invite global women entrepreneurs to explore the unexplored with WTC Noida and assist us in achieving India’s goal of US $5 trillion economy by 2024.