Catalyst for Women Entrepreneurs
India’s Platform for Women in Business
Catalyst for Women Entrepreneurs (CWE) is a “one-stop shop” for women entrepreneurs to start up and scale up their businesses.
CWE’s comprehensive platform offers access to Information on government Programs and Schemes, Business Skills, Finance, Technology, Trade Networks, and validated professional Service Providers – especially for women entrepreneurs.
Sucharita Eashwar- Founder
Prior to this, she was Senior Director at NASSCOM. As Centre Head based in Bangalore, she led three special initiatives tasked to take the IT-BPO industry in India to global leadership. Sucharita started her career with communication agency Ogilvy & Mather, and went on to create successful brands and corporate identity for major FMCG and industrial clients. She has founded two not-for-profit organizations – Madhyam and VOICES – focused on policy advocacy for equitable access to media and telecom. During 1992-1995, Sucharita led the campaign to introduce FM community radio in India and South Asia, and worked for setting up a Rural Development Fund for accelerating universal telecom access.
Kamala Raghunath – Co-founder
Debjani Ghosh is former VP SMG Intel and MD Intel South Asia. She started with Intel in 1996 and has held numerous leadership roles over her 21-year career with the company. She currently serves as Additional Non Exec Director on the Board of Yes Bank and is a member of Cisco’s India Advisory Board. She is also a trustee of NASSCOM Foundation and co-chair of FICCI’s Innovation Committee. The last 5 years in India, she has successfully driven a complete reset of the country strategy to shift focus to market creation and strong ecosystem partnerships, positively impacting Intel’s business growth in the country. She was the first woman Intel India Country Head and the first woman President of MAIT. She has been ranked by Fortune India as one of the top 20 Most Powerful Women in Business in India for 5 consecutive years since 2012. In 2017 Fortune India ranked her the 11th most powerful woman in business in India.
Fran Pastore is founder, President and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council. For nearly 20 years, she has been a catalyst for women’s economic self-reliance through small business training, financial education and professional development. Pastore and her team have helped launch and grow thousands of businesses locally, nationally and internationally. In 2010, Pastore travelled with the Business Council for Peace to help female genocide survivors launch and operate a micro-business. She visited Costa Rica where she trained rural women in financial management and micro-entrepreneurship. In 2011, Pastore was appointed to President Obama’s National Women’s Business Council which provides counsel to the President, Congress and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues important to women. Pastore is a board member and Policy Co-Chair for the Association of Women’s Business Centers and serves on the Executive Advisory Council for Women Impacting Public Policy and the Advisory Board for the Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali, Rwanda. She is also a member of the Advisory Board for Bankwell in Stamford.
Sanjay Anandaram has 28 years of experience as an entrepreneur, investor, corporate executive and startup mentor. His recent involvement has been in companies like redBus (acquired by Naspers/Ibibo Group), Instahealth Solutions (acquired by Practo), Shotang, Shieldsquare, YourDost, Quess Corp and Sattva, among others. He’s a venture partner with Seed Fund, and associated with other early stage funds including a social venture fund.
Sanjay believes that entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial mindset can transform India: from job creation to innovation to socio-cultural change; he is actively involved with several such efforts.
Sanjay was a founding partner of JumpStartUp Venture Fund, a pioneering early stage US-India cross border VC fund that invested in technology and technology enabled businesses. Prior to JumpStartUp, Sanjay co-founded Neta, a Silicon Valley VC backed software company that became a part of Infoseek/Disney. Consequently, he returned to India and started Venturekatalyst, India’s first online magazine aimed at entrepreneurs.
He has written extensively in publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal (India Chief Mentor) to the Financial Express to various magazines and blogs. He lectures to students of INSEAD and B-schools from around the world and to corporate executives. He is a charter member of TiE Bangalore where he co-chairs entrepreneurship acceleration and education initiatives and is closely involved with NSRCEL-IIMB, NASSCOM initiatives in innovation and entrepreneurship, National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), Indo-US Council on Entrepreneurship in Academia, the Technology Development Board, Dept of Science & Technology, Govt of India.
Sanjoy Hazarika, a human rights activist, scholar, author, journalist and filmmaker, is the Director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an international NGO mandated to ensure the practical realisation of human rights within the Commonwealth. Prior to joining CHRI, he was Director, Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and also held the Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew Chair. He is the Founder and Managing Trustee of CNES which runs the pioneering boat clinics on the Brahmaputra in Assam.
As a journalist, he reported from South Asia for The New York Times and remains a contributing columnist to various newspapers and magazines. He was also Consulting Editor with The Statesman and The Sunday Guardian.
He is acknowledged as a specialist on migration and issues in the North East and his books include Writing on the Wall, Reflections on the North-East; Strangers of the Mist; Tales of War and Peace from India’s North East; among others. He also appears frequently on television programmes to address issues of rights, advocacy and the environment relating to the Northeast. In 2010, Hazarika was awarded the Dr. Jean Mayer Award for Global Citizenship by Tufts University for his advocacy of issues in India’s Northeast.
Shailesh Shah has 30+ years experience in leadership roles, managing businesses and providing advisory services. He has worked in companies and served clients in many industries on strategic, operational, financial and organisational issues. Shailesh is the Founder and Senior Partner of Strta Consulting Services, a consulting advisory and an investment bank. Shailesh was Group President at JSW and led a billion-dollar portfolio of businesses including energy, aluminium, cement, IT/BPO and transportation, chaired the Group’s technology businesses and was on the board of Group companies in energy, ports and information technology.
A priori, Shailesh was Director and Senior Vice President leading the enterprise solutions and consulting businesses and also Chief Strategy Officer of Satyam; Managing Director of Watson Wyatt India and global strategy head; partner with Price Waterhouse’s management consulting practice. He has worked in USA, UK, Brazil, Italy, Singapore and India and has served companies and clients on all habited continents. In these roles, he helped shape NASSCOM’s efforts to improve India’s presence in Europe; was also involved with the World Economic Forum leading efforts in strategy, technology and governance; served on the board of Singapore’s Economic Development Council and helped define its “Knowledge Economy” Vision for 2020.
Shailesh has read Mechanical Engineering at Bangalore University, Operations Research at Syracuse University and Business Administration at Drexel University and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA.
Virginia is Founder and CEO of Quantum Leaps Inc. – a trailblazing advocate for women’s entrepreneurship, based in Washington DC.
In the 1980s, she was Vice President for Public Policy and National President for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) in the United States. She and her team turned the organization into a powerful force for women entrepreneurial advocacy. She organized NAWBO’s participation in the 1986 White House Conference on Small Business, and was one of the primary architects of the Women’s Business Ownership Act – referred to as “the Big Bang of women’s entrepreneurship” in the U.S. – which became law in 1988. Subsequently, she served two terms on the National Women’s Business Council, an advisory body created by the landmark legislation, to provide policy recommendations to the U.S. President, the head of the Small Business Administration and the U.S. legislature.
Virginia has served as Vice President of the World Association of Women Entrepreneurs. She was the OECD’s Senior Advisor for its pioneering best practice conferences on women-owned businesses in Paris in 1997 and 2000 and Istanbul in 2004. One outcome was creation of the Global Banking Alliance for Women, which she incubated.
Virginia founded Quantum Leaps in 2002, with two co-founders. Quantum Leaps has incubated WEConnect International, an organization of leading multinational corporations that want to get women’s business enterprises into the global supply chain. In addition, she serves as Lead International Consultant for the Women & Trade programme for the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the United Nations and World Trade Organization in Geneva. She also serves as Global Strategic Advisor for Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) International.
Quantum Leaps is now creating national Roadmaps to 2020 and Beyond, focussing on accelerating women’s enterprise development globally. Virginia is the Principal Architect of the Roadmap 2020 impact study for India.
Her numerous awards include: Enterprising Women Hall of Fame; U.S. Small Business Administration’s first Women in Business Advocate of the Year Award; NAWBO’s Susan Hager Legacy Award; and Lifetime Achievement Awards from The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) and America-China Business Women’s Alliance.Virginia has lived, worked in and traveled to more than 85 countries.
She is a Founder Trustee of the Amit Gupta Foundation which works for raising awareness for organ donation, health and education for the less privileged. She has been supporting women’s rights and entrepreneurship as an advisor to Dell Women Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) and WECONNECT and has been awarded for her work. She is committed to make a difference to the women entrepreneur ecosystem as Mentor to young entrepreneurs. She enjoys golf and horse racing and has a keen interest in music and theatre.
Harmeet Kaur Bajaj
Reenu is the founder and Managing Director of V2Pack Pvt Ltd, a venture which she initiated in September 2016 and is engaged in manufacturing 15Kg Square TIN containers to be used in packaging of ghee and edible oils and Vanaspati. She is also the Director at Metmould Packaging Pvt Ltd which manufactures metal cans for the paints, oil, lubricants and chemicals industry.
Reenu is an Alumnus of Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi and INSEAD Business School, France.
Shobha has also co-founded Utsav, an event management company, to plan and manage wedding events in India and other countries.
Shobha Rai draws from her rich experience in the food and event planning industries to mentor young entrepreneurs who are setting up new businesses in these sectors.
He has published a book titled ‘Board Anatomy’ that brings out the several gamut of Governance, Compliance & Risk.