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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont
It is said girls with dreams become women with vision. It isn’t enough to talk about equality but one must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it, one must work at it.
Unrelenting pursuit of success, with singular focus and delivery in her area of strength, Anita Manwani strides harder in the face of weakness. She has been elected to be the President of The Indus Entrepreneurs/Talent, Ideas and Enterprise (TiE) Silicon Valley for the year 2023-2025. Manwani is the first woman to receive this honor.
Since its formation in the Silicon Valley in 1992, TiE has grown to 53 chapters in 14 countries.
Diversity, Inclusion, Meritocracy
“It’s an exciting time at TiE Silicon Valley to have our first woman President. Anita brings with her a lifetime of experiences as a senior corporate executive, an entrepreneur and a community leader. Anita’s ascension as the first woman President is not just about breaking the glass ceiling. It’s about continuing to add diversity, inclusiveness and meritocracy to empower the ecosystem – values that TiE has espoused for three decades,” said Mateen Syed, TiE Chair, Global Connect.
Seated around her, with expectations writ large on their faces, are young women entrepreneurs of growth stage startups from Pakistan. They are here as a delegation funded by the State department and hosted by TiE Global, in partnership with TiE Islamabad.
“We have designed the program to give our women entrepreneurs the best and relevant exposure to the entrepreneurship and innovation regions of the US. The networking, mentoring, startup workshops and investor engagements, facilitated by TiE chapters, our partner organizations and influencers across the US, has been appreciated by the cohort for its long term impact,” continues Syed.
For the last 15 years, Manwani has also been an entrepreneur. She started Carobar Business Solutions, building an arsenal of offerings in the field of healthcare. Prior to founding her company she was a senior executive at Hewlett Packard and Agilent Technologies.
As President Elect she is seated at the table with TiE stalwarts. TiE has arranged for senior Silicon Valley executives, Veena Gundavelli, Paul Singh, AGK Karunakaran and Sushma Malhotra to give feedback to the entrepreneurs from Pakistan on their pitches.
Opportunities For Deaf Youth
The women entrepreneurs have notched up sizable success. Arooj Ayesha Ismail, co-founder of Gharpar Tech Private Limited, runs a tech enabled social enterprise that generates employment opportunities for marginalized women skilled in beauty services. She runs a successful online marketplace that connects beauticians to clients seeking high-end beauty services at home. Businesses with similar offerings have thrived in India and the UK.
Ayesha Raza co-founded Pakistan’s first mobile fast food chain run and managed by deaf people. Abey Khao is a cloud kitchen based food takeaway and delivery platform on a food truck concept creating economic opportunities for deaf youth. It serves a unique visual environment to experience deaf culture all the while working to increase job opportunities for deaf people.
Rash Free Diapers
Sehrish Raza, CEO and owner of a pre-loved sustainable fashion platform BizB, is growing at a rate of 27% in terms of sales. She is helping women earn money, save money and protect the earth one dress at a time, by making 6200 of BizB’s sellers’ wardrobes virtual and accessible to buyers.
O’ naps makes women’s lives easier by providing them with a rash free solution to their hygiene needs, says CEO Sabaina Younas. Onaps is a biodegradable women sanitary napkin made using the highest quality 100% pure cotton with no chlorine or any other chemicals.
Q.Riosity Inc, a gamified LinkedIn for students is a SaaS platform co-founded by Zartaj Ahmed. It is a student’s professional social network to make them recruitment ready for future jobs, mentor-matching, internships, jobs, career counseling and skill building opportunities.
Dr. Zunaira Saqib, the founder and CEO of Pakistan’s first AI based career counseling website, Mera Future, is a PhD in Management from University of Leicester, UK, and Masters in HRD and Consulting from Lancaster University, UK.
The delegation has visited Austin, Seattle, Boston, Washington D.C. and New York City before making a final stop at Silicon Valley in June 2022. One-on-one feedback from leading mentors was given to their presentations and pitch. This was to help the business leaders focus, strategize, connect and leverage their ecosystems to grow their businesses.
Women Of Influence
Manwani talks to these enterprising women about knowledge, networks and access they need to launch and scale successful businesses; how to empower themselves in order to realize their economic potential and create conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity; and ways to reduce obstacles (socio-cultural, financial and entrepreneurial capacity development) faced by women entrepreneurs. She herself is recognized as one of the top 100 Women of Influence in Silicon Valley.
Manwani is certain that the networking, mentoring, startup workshops and investor engagements, facilitated by TiE chapters, partner organizations and influencers across the US, will help these business women make long term impact.
Manwani has been committed to fostering entrepreneurship and giving back to the community. She has worked to expand the services of TiESV for access to all communities, all genders, all ethnicities, to all entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and across the United States.
“TiE Silicon Valley is the founding chapter of TiE and celebrates its 30th year this year. I’m honored to be the first woman President of TiE this year,” she says. “My commitment to diversity, however, is beyond gender. I want TiE Silicon Valley to become what Silicon Valley represents. I want TiE to be reflective of Silicon Valley and serve Asian and non-Asian entrepreneurs,” says Manwani.
The Next Generation
Over the last two years as the lead for TiECon 21 Sponsorship Committee, Manwani brought globally recognized speakers who helped attract over 30,000 registrants. She has served on the Governance and Compliance Committee and led with a mantra of transparency and defensibility. She is also engaging the growing younger generation of entrepreneurs and investors.
Manwani looks around the room and sees the fresh eager faces of the women entrepreneurs. She remembers her mother whispering into her ear: “Baby don’t give up your quest for success. We are number two, we try harder.”