a view of kolkata, india

Global Innovation Lab Presents Webinars for Emerging Businesswomen in South Asia

  • Sep 8, 2020
  • Jenan Taha

Women entrepreneurs across South Asia took part in Global Innovation Lab’s monthly webinar series as part of a training and mentorship opportunity designed to help entrepreneurs develop their high-impact enterprises, spurring new business collaborations among participants.

The Breaking the Glass Ceiling program is a joint effort between The University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata promoting women entrepreneurship through business training, networking and access to resources among entrepreneurs of South Asia. 

Glenn Robinson, assistant director of Global Innovation Lab, led the webinar series alongside expert panelists from India and Bangladesh. He says the program offered a way for women business leaders in the region to connect, ask questions and share their best practices.

“They took away some gold nuggets on how to more effectively manage a business,” Robinson said. “The webinars served as a way for us to broaden the impact of our programs on those new people who have dialed in and are hearing about us, maybe for the first time. We are here as a resource.”

The first webinar, held on April 9, discussed challenges for women entrepreneurs during the pandemic and had over 50 attendees and 9,000 viewers of the Facebook Live event. The latest webinar discussed managing businesses during lockdown and investment scenarios for beginners with a panel of venture capital and entrepreneur experts. The webinar reached 7,700 viewers on the U.S. Consulate’s Facebook Live event.

Thirty women-owned businesses participated in the advanced portion of the South Asia program and received virtual one-on-one mentorship on key aspects of business ventures. After the webinar series, participants selected one of their mentors to guide and advise them during scheduled office hours for one month. 

The program’s aim to build the capacity of women-owned businesses in South Asia as a strategy to bolster economic development in their communities has already proved effective. Two entrepreneurs who attended the program, Sujata Chatterjee, CEO of Twirl Store, and Soumita Basu, owner of Zyenika Adaptive Wear, are now putting into practice what they learned and collaborating to create upcycled fashion for people with disabilities. They also plan to integrate more women entrepreneurs into their initiative in the future.

Global Innovation Lab collaborates with universities, industries and governments around the world to train and support entrepreneurs and drive sustainable development in over 44 countries. Other ongoing programs include several entrepreneurial development programs in partnership with Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, as well as a training program for startup enterprises in the Aichi Prefecture of Japan.

Learn more about Global Innovation Lab