Sunday, 13 March 2016

Uber Exchange Invest India - Part 1 - Inaugural Session

I recently attended one of the Uber Exchange Invest India Programs in Delhi, combined with IIT Delhi’s e-summit. Uber CTO, Mr. Thuan Pham interacted with around 20 shortlisted startups and his session was followed by a fire side chat with Anand Chandrasekaran, CPO , Snapdeal.

In my new and exciting role as the CCO for a young startup ProjectforSchools, my social and business networking activity has recently increase manifold. As such, I look forward to a lot of learning opportunity all the time and am always full of questions, taking copious notes as my questions are answered.

This series of blog posts will primarily focus on my learning from the interaction with Mr. Thuan Pham, Mr. Shankar Aggrawal, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, India, when Ms. Shanno Beghum, one of Uber’s first women driver partner/s and Anand Chandrasekaran, CPO , Snapdeal.

I must make it clear that I am going to focus on what I learnt as a young female aspiring / acting CCO without a technical background from at least 3 of the most technical brains of the industry and bureaucracy. Also, that the more consolidated versions and focused write-ups around these lessons can be found on my LinkedIn profile.

Inaugural Session:

In the inaugural session, Thuan indicated Uber’s visionary approach towards building a technology platform / market place to create entrepreneurial spirit and empower young startups and entrepreneurs, to invent things together.

It was heartening to see Mr. Aggrawal, talk about the commitment of the Indian government to empower the market and change the overall employment landscape. Together, they also demonstrated the National Career Service Centre portal which is a one stop shop for job seekers, job providers, career counselors and entrepreneurs together.

The change was certainly evident, when Ms. Shanno Beghum, Uber’s driver partner shared her story of empowerment facilitated by the disruptive market leaders.

However, my question to Mr. Aggrawal was as follows:
“I hear a lot of woman empowerment, I see it happening too, I also see the evidence in ladies like Shanno Ji. But I also realize that this empowerment is focused on the lower and middle socio-economic strata of our women population. On the other hand, we have very few role models as successful women entrepreneurs, CXOs etc. more so in technology – driven setups. Does this portal, at some point aim to address specific needs of people like me – the young, ambitious, woman entrepreneur?”

It was very encouraging to see Mr. Aggrawal openly admit that the portal as well the visionary program is young at this moment. While specific needs for young, ambitious women like me may not be addressed today or in immediate future, they certainly look forward to my generation paving the way for our successors. An honest, transparent and yet encouraging response. Thank you Sir!

Reference Link on The Economic Times

Look out for part 2 on specifics around Thuan Pham's talk and interaction with the selected startups.

©Anupama Garg 2016 March