Indian Women in Enterprise, Philippines (I-WE) a non-profit organization, centered on women empowerment and economic recovery through women-led MSMEs), celebrated its first year anniversary on 12 March 2022 with the launch of Tech2Transform (T2T), a program designed to equip women-led MSMEs in the Philippines to develop and grow a sustainable business.
The T2T program is structured around four pillars of digital support system for business automation, access to finance for expansion, mentorship from industry experts to grow a profitable venture and sharing of MSME best practices between India and the Philippines.
India’s Ambassador to the Philippines H.E Shambhu Kumaran delivered a special address at the launch. The program was also graced by Chairperson Sandra Sanchez-Montano, Chairperson Philippine Commission on Women, Lenlen Mesina, Program Manager for We Empower Asia/UN Women and primary sponsor Navin Uttamchandani, President & CEO Esquire Financing Inc., one of the leading small banks in the Philippines with a priority on lending to women-led MSMEs.
Also in attendance were representatives from the program’s sponsors: Women’s Business Council of the Philippines, the leading women’s business chamber in the country; In Touch Community Services, an NGO specializing in mental health issues; Employers Confederation of the Philippines; Wadhwani Foundation, a US-based NGO that specializes in supporting entrepreneurship and skilling, as well as Philippine Center for Creative Imaging, a local entity that specializes in digital media training; Workbank, a leading recruitment consultancy; and the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific (AG&P), a global powerhouse in downstream LNG and gas logistics and infrastructure solutions.
In its first series, the four-month T2T program, ending in June 2022, has identified 25 participants from various backgrounds such as clean energy, food, agriculture, education, among others. From MSME-customized training sessions to formulating capstone projects, supported by various business leaders in the industry, the women beneficiaries will be equipped with skills of marketing in the digital age, writing persuasive business plans and financial forecasting, and using data tools effectively to monitor progress and sustained growth.
The T2T program will culminate with the announcement of the top three business projects judged by a panel of industry experts. The top three winners will be eligible to join the ‘Wadhwani Take-off’ program and will be given the all-paid-for opportunity to pitch their business plan to potential investors in the Silicon Valley.
“The T2T is a cornerstone program for I-WE and will serve to further reinforce the India-Philippines ties. We thank all our sponsors, who have played a vital role in bringing the T2T vision to life. As the momentum of the program builds, we are hopeful it will empower women and serve as a bridge to fortify the friendship between India and the Philippines by bringing in Indian MSME’s best practices to the Philippine MSME industry,” said Geeta Keswani, Director of Marketing and Communications of I-WE.
In his message, Ambassador Kumaran shared that the relationship between the Philippines and India is a relationship between the people of both democracies and noted that I-WE’s first-year celebration coincides with the National Women’s Month. “It is delightful to see that all of you are looking into how to use your set of skills to build partnerships that empower while embracing each other’s culture. In uplifting the lives of Filipinas and Indian Women, I would say that in I-WE, the “E” does not only mean enterprise, it also means empower. And today, it is also about empowerment – empowering women to achieve their full potential.”
Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Chairperson Sandra Sanchez-Montano shared PCW’s initiatives in pushing for women empowerment and gender equality in leadership and in government for International Women’s Month. She also expressed her excitement for the projects that PCW and I-WE will venture in the coming days. Ending her speech on a high note, Ms. Sandra Sanchez-Montano said, “Let us be reminded that all women – we are all 2 strong. We are all magnificent. We are beautiful in our own ways…We are resilient and powerful for we are the trailblazers and change-makers in the family.”