Mumbai, India, July 08, 2014: The Intellecap Impact Investment Network, in partnership with the Consulate General of the United States in Mumbai and FemPower of Bombay Chamber of Commerce, hosted the “Women’s Impact Investment Forum” on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. At a time when it becomes more universally critical for women to “Lean In” and take charge of their professional progress, this event brought together over 35 women leaders such as Meera Sanyal of AAP, Sonu Bhasin of Tata Capital Travel Forex & Cards, and Bharti Ramola Gupta of PWC to discuss why women can make effective investors in start-ups.
As the new Companies Act requirement to have women on company boards starts to take effect, the prospect to closely study and advise early stage companies can add significantly to the operational understanding and repertoire of women leaders.
“Without such experience, women will continue to emain at a disadvantageous position as compared to their male counterparts”, said Neera Saggi, Chairperson, FemPower of Bombay Chambers of Commerce. The event positioned the impact investing space as offering a huge opportunity for women to emerge as leaders. Aditi Shrivastava, Head-Intellecap Impact Investment Network, said, “Currently only 5 of our 50 angel investors are women – this number needs to increase! Since the for-profit model for development has egalitarianism and empathy at its core, women investors and mentors can add tremendous value to ensure that the social and financial returns go hand-in-hand.”
Speakers included Sutapa Banjerjee, ex-CEO of Ambit Wealth Management, who discussed how early stage impact investing can fit into HNI portfolios. Members of Intellecap’s impact angel network Reena Mithal, Naveen Kshatriya, and Rema Subramanian shared their experiences of evaluating and investing to impact enterprises. Entrepreneurs Gayathri Vasudevan of LabourNet and Jose Peter of Arogya Finance gave the audience a close look into how impact businesses operate.
Questions from the audience revolved around the understanding the trade-off between financial and social returns, size of investment, time commitment required, and measurement of impact. The event was held at the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai. Raj Wadhwani, the Consul for Political and Economic Affairs at the Consulate concluded, “The United States Government is committed to increasing women’s economic power across South Asia. Here in India’s financial hub, it is particularly salient to focus on women’s leadership in business and participation in the economy. We’re pleased to co-host this event, which has fostered an excellent discussion. ”
Following the event, a few of the attendees have already signed up to mentor and invest through Intellecap’s angel network platform. Seeing the enthusiastic turnout, Intellecap and FemPower plan to hold another similar event around September 2014.