Kerala: Girl power yet to make a mark in technology

A scene from the event | Photo: Facebook/KSUM

Thiruvananthapuram: Gender representation in business sector is highly skewed even though young girls have proved their mettle by participating in big numbers and outsmarting their male counterparts in many innovation competitions like hackathons, the founder of a startup said here on Thursday.

This was observed by S Sandeep, the co-founder of Avasarshala, a successful startup that provides information about opportunities for students in various domains including arts and sports or finding mentors in their field of choice, during the Huddle Global startup conclave, organised by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) which began at Kovalam, an official release said.

Young girls grab a majority of the prizes during innovation competitions like hackathons. "Maybe that will be reflected in the coming years as the new generation grows up," said his wife Ashwathy Venugopal, the co-founder of Avasharsala.

The panel kicked off their talk with moderator Sibi Sudhakaran, founder of Startup-Middle East, asking about advantages and disadvantages of a wife-husband team starting a business and the successful startup bosses were of the opinion that it was a clear advantage.

"Your wife is your most trusted partner," said Jobin Jose of Jobin & Jismi IT Services, who along with his wife Jismi, runs one of the most successful technology firms based in Kerala. With the panel of six made up of three husband and wife pairs, there was a general nod of agreement when Jibin said this.

The panelists parried questions about business problems adding to the family tensions if both the husband and wife are engaged in the same company. "There are clear demarcations based on your area of expertise", said Jismi.

But, Anish Achuthan of Open Financial Technologies said there were disadvantages when it comes to initial fund raising. Many financiers get wary when it is a family-run venture which is asking for money. "It didn't help because our third co-founder was my brother," he said. "Once the initial doubts vanished, it was no longer a problem."

Other panel members said that investors are now much more scientific in their evaluations and do not bother about such issues.


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