Stuti Jalan Sarika B 

The State of Female Entrepreneurs
By Karen Axelton

The U.S. State Department is supporting women entrepreneurs around the world in many ways. One example is the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership, which connects talented, emerging women leaders aged 25-43 from all over the world with members of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Leaders.  

After a Washington, DC, meeting with senior women leaders in government, business, academic, civil society and the media, participants are paired with women leaders from companies like Time Inc., Google and Wal-Mart in cities across the United States. At the end of the month-long mentorship, mentees reconvene in New York City to reflect on their experience and discuss future leadership opportunities. 

The Women in Public Service Project is another State Department program to develop women leaders and entrepreneurs. The initiative, organized by the U.S. State Department and the Seven Sisters Colleges and sponsored by Dell, held its inaugural Women in Public Service Summer Institute in June. The first-of-its-kind, two-week program brought together 40 promising women leaders from 37 nations undergoing political transformations and social change, including Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, Egypt and Lebanon.

The goal of The Women in Public Service Project is to identify and educate a new generation of women committed to public service, create an infrastructure of support and mentoring, and help enable more women to enter public service and political leadership. Participants benefited from intensive training and classroom learning, networking and mentoring with peers and established leaders, and a cross-cultural exchange of ideas and resources.

To enhance collaboration among the participants and their communities, Dell provided the institute’s participants with social media and technology services as well as technology hardware. “In today’s world, technology helps to remove all boundaries, cross borders and empower people everywhere,” says Karen Quintos, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Dell. “Through initiatives like the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, Dell is committed to empowering women all over the world. We are proud to help bring these incredible women tools to help them succeed.”

For Stuti Jalan, founder of Crosshairs Communication, a PR, brand strategy, brand building, brand management and event management firm with offices in Mumbai and New Delhi, participating in the Fortune program was “a revelation. The experience greatly broadened my perspective towards growth, change, belief and responsibility. I realized that women are the new emerging market.”

The Fortune program was also transformative for Sarika Bhattacharyya, cofounder of Altavis Pvt. Ltd., a leading HR consulting firm with offices in Gurgaon and Mumbai, India. “I realized that all women across the globe speak the same language, face the same challenges and overcome obstacles in similar ways,” says Bhattacharyya. “[The experience] helped me transform my organization into a scalable venture.”

At the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network 2012 in New Delhi this past June, Jalan and Bhattacharyya continued to build on what they learned through the Fortune program. “I gained a lot from other women entrepreneurs' experiences, and made strategic alliances,” says Bhattacharyya.

“The DWEN event was a great learning experience,” agrees Jalan. “DWEN creates an atmosphere where women can connect with one another, share best practices, build business opportunities and recognize female influence in business and technology. Interacting with participants from all over the world motivated and inspired me that, to paraphrase Ghandi, we can create the change we want to see in the world.”

Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship.