The International Women Entrepreneurs Summit-2018, with the theme of “Equality begins with Economic Empowerment”, was organized by the South Asian Women Development Forum (SAWDF), a SAARC Recognized body, from 3rd– 5th September. Delegates from over 27 countries representing women leaders and professionals from various sectors, gathered in Kathmandu, Nepal, for the annual summit aimed at addressing challenges associated with gender parity in the economic sphere and advancement of gender responsive trade facilitation policies.
The summit fostered deliberations on wide array of topics- IT, agriculture, and tourism, e-trade, trade and gender, to name a few; and facilitated formation of multiple collaborations and partnerships with a consortium of international organizations . The summit resulted in four major outcomes-
- The launch of the book, Reflections on Policies for Women Small and Medium Entrepreneurs: Status, Challenges and Opportunities in Hindu Kush Himalayas and the SAARC region, which highlights the deep-rooted and ubiquitous gender gaps in the economic sphere despite the economic significance of women SMEs. The book advocates the need for mapping and data collection of women SMES of the SAARC region as the way forward.
- Partnership between SAWDF and Tata Water Business project for establishing social enterprises for women entrepreneurs, for selling safe drinking water at an affordable price. SAWDF Chapter Bhutan and Sri Lanka will also be supporting this project.
- A meeting between the Secretaries of the Industry and Commerce and Agriculture Secretaries of the Govt. of Nepal, Manish Diwan, Head- Strategic Partnership & Entrepreneurship Development, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council- Bio Technology Ministry of the Government of India, SAWDF and Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Associations of Nepal (FWEAN). The meeting was held to discuss the setting up of a Biotechnology Industrial park for Nepalese women entrepreneurs, which will house 100% women owned and women run businesses focusing on agriculture biotechnology, food processing using biotech interventions, shelf life extension of perishable food technology, to name a few.
- Signing of letter of Exchange between SAWDF and UNIDO Bahrain to work closely with Indo/African Women Chambers and Industry.