The Indian Express Group instituted ExpressAWE, the Express Awards for Women Entrepreneurs along with FICCI-Flo to recognise, honour and celebrate women entrepreneurs who have not just been able to hold their ground but also forge ahead and create an impact in their respective domains during this tough pandemic phase.
The awards announced on Friday, January 14, saw a wave of entrepreneurial success. The insightful conversations between industry veterans with takeaways for life for the many leading and budding women entrepreneurs added glitter and weight to the memorable evening.
The evening began with a keynote interview of Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Meta, by Anant Goenka, Executive Director, Indian Express Group, which covered the entire changing landscape of women entrepreneurship.
The author of ‘Lean In’, a book for working women, Sandberg urged the growing number of women in Indian colleges not to “leave before you leave”. Sandberg also stated that while the proverbial glass ceiling still needs to be shattered by more women, there was also a broken rung that needed fixing.
This was followed by a free-flowing and engaging discussion between industry veterans and the members of the jury who chose the winners in the organisation/established business segment. It included names like Deepak Parekh, chairman of HDFC and also the jury chair; Arundhati Bhattacharya, CEO and chairperson, Salesforce India; Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive chairperson, Biocon and Biocon Biologics; Preetha Reddy, Executive vice-chairperson, Apollo Hospitals; and Zia Mody, co-founder and managing partner, AZB & Partners.
They discussed what was enabling and hindering the ‘power of Her’ and tried to address some crucial questions around the changing landscape of women entrepreneurship in India, their advice to budding women entrepreneurs, what industry could do to enable this, what government and policymakers could do to facilitate it even more.
The message that stood out in the discussion was that it was imperative for women entrepreneurs to stay the course, not to give up and to remember that their time has come.
Another highlight of the evening was an engaging conversation between the Newsmaker of the Year award winner Falguni Nayar, founder and CEO, Nykaa, and the Lifetime Achievement award winner Anu Aga, former chairperson, Thermax.
Looking at a range of issues women leaders grapple with and how they sort them out and carve out a niche. From the nurturing ingredients that they build on to the role that spouses and families play, the way inheritance is viewed and how merit really counts. This and a lot more emerged from the discussion between the two.
“Sandberg reminds us how diversity in the workplace makes business sense. In India, unfortunately, only 7% of India's start-ups are run by women founders. Wonderful to receive so many entries for the inaugural ExpressAWE which not only celebrates the contribution of women in business but also aims to inspire more participation. I am grateful that such an illustrious jury took the time for evaliuations. And congratulations to the winners,” said Anant Goenka, Executive Director, Indian Express Group.
“At a time when Covid-19 and its after effects have disrupted the world order, the award comes at an opportune time to recognise and celebrate women achievers,’ said Ujjwala Singhania, National President FICCI-FLO.
The Awards had Kotak as the presenting partner, supported by UN Global Compact Network India and with Ernst & Young as Knowledge partner.
The award winners, among others, are:
Education & Skill Development Rising Segment: Supriya Paul (Josh Talks)
Fashion & Lifestyle Rising Segment: Akanksha Arora (Tribe Amrapali)
Health & Wellness Rising Segment: Rupal Mehta (MedMarvel Software Solutions)
Media & Entertainment Rising Segment: DVL Padma Priya (Suno India)
Social Impact Rising Segment: Ishita Sharma (MukkaMaar)
Technology Rising Segment: Jyoti Sudhir (InventIndia Innovations)
E-Commerce Rising Segment: Pallavi Utagi (SuperBottoms)
Travel & Hospitality Rising Segment: Pallavi Agarwal (GoStops Hospitality)
Education & Skill Development: Divya Gokulnath (Byju's)
Fashion & Lifestyle: Anita Dongre (House of Anita Dongre)
Health & Wellness: Ameera Shah (Metropolis Healthcare)
Media & Entertainment: Shradha Sharma (YourStory Media)
Social Impact: Chetna Sinha (Mann Deshi Bank)
Technology: Anu Acharya (Mapmygenome)
Food & Beverages: Rajni Bector (Mrs Bector's Food Specialities)
Ficci-Flo Excellence Award: Shobhana Bhartia (HT Media Limited)
Legacy Spin-Off: Lavanya Nalli (Nalli Group of Companies)
Newsmaker of The Year: Falguni Nayar (Nykaa)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Anu Aga (Thermax)