International Women’s Day may be over, but it reminds us that every day is an opportunity to recognise the milestones – whether grand or minute – that women have crossed.
Today, we are privileged to share excerpts of an interview with Nisha Dutt, CEO of Intellecap as she shares about both her personal journey as a female leader and the work that she leads at Intellecap which supports women every day. Not only has she unlocked personal success, but she has also taken the helm to spur other women forward.
Please share with us one or two recent initiatives that Intellecap has driven to empower women.
Dutt: In collaboration with ANDE, we started Creditree, which is about “simplified access to finance for women entrepreneurs”. Many of them need capital to scale their businesses but do not know how to get started or find any convenient method to do so. Currently a part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative, Creditree allows women entrepreneurs to browse and compare financial products, most suited to their business. The platform also enables women to access loans from multiple banks or use our panel of experts when making purchases.
As an organisation, Intellecap Group believes in equal opportunity, diversity and inclusiveness. We have an above industry average gender percentage and an inclusive, flexible environment, which allows our women to deliver their best. Whether it be flexi maternity plans, developmental opportunities or work exposure across three continents, we empower our women and make them true leaders. We take pride in the fact that a lot of women join our group because of such positive workplace ethos. We aim to do more as we grow to empower women who are a part of this ecosystem, be it for our employees, customers or key stakeholders.
We are extremely inspired by your success story and vision for the future that you shared on YourStory. On the flip side of the coin, however, were there times when you faced gender discrimination during your line of work? If so, how did you overcome these obstacles?
Dutt: Sometimes, the obstacles we face are not overt. There may not be a direct discrimination, but it could be an undercurrent.
In my case I do believe that one must take the situation at hand by the horns and not to take it for granted. At the end of the day, your performance and your ability to speak up will help you grow as a leader. One must speak up if one feels discriminated, regardless of the role or the industry. It is important to confront the situation at hand, have a mentor who can guide, and seek help if it is affecting work or overall performance. The best way to overcome an obstacle is to face it.
What motivates you to do what you do? Where does your passion come from?
Dutt: As I work on some of the most pressing challenges of low income communities and entrepreneurs, I see incredible opportunities in them. It is gratifying to see ideas come to life and the positive impact of the work that I do. The impact one can deliver in this business is of a significant social magnitude and to be a part of that is truly motivating.
We are all here to create something larger and better, and this work offers us all an opportunity to do so in its truest essence.
Of course, it’s also great that I get to work with a brilliant team! Each and every one had left their mainstream work behind and decided that, together, we would work on some very intractable problems. These people have kept me inspired and motivated to do my best.
What are some of the thoughts you would like to share through your participation as a speaker at the AVPN Conference?
Dutt: As a speaker to the AVPN Conference, I am excited on the perspectives I will be able to share on women’s entrepreneurship. I look forward to sharing ideas and innovations that help disrupt the market and how women entrepreneurs can benefit from it. Coupled with insights on gender neutral workplaces, what true empowerment entails, and experiences from the ground, I intend to make the session lively, insightful and fun. The conference is also a great opportunity to learn new things and I am looking forward to that as well.
Nisha Dutt will be speaking on the Women Entrepreneurship Panel, 9th June, 11:30am – 1:00pm.
Nisha Dutt is Chief Executive Officer of Intellecap, a Global Firm building entrepreneurial ecosystem focussed on South Asia, South East Asia and Africa. As Chief Executive Officer Nisha guides the global positioning of Intellecap business and also serves on its Board of Directors. Before taking over as the Chief Executive officer, Nisha established the Intellecap consulting practice globally. Her key contribution has been marrying technology with challenges of healthcare, financial services, incubation and conceptualizing programs such as www.startupwave.co , Innovations Labs andCredit-tree.
Nisha is a member of the Group Executive Council of Aavishkaar-Intellecap Group. She serves on boards of listed companies including SUBEX and 63 Moons. Her career spans across 15 years of experience in strategy and operations in national and multinational corporates. She has also served on the Board of Directors of several listed companies in India. She holds an MBA from the University of Ohio and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering, Supply Chain Management, Oklahoma State University, USA.