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Nirmala wants to involve startups in defence production

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HYDERABAD (PTI): Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said she would discuss ways to promote women entrepreneurs and increase their participation in defence production and procurement during consultations with startups and industry chambers on December 4.

"We have finalised December 4 as the date when I will be working with chambers of commerce and the startups; a huge list has been made to ensure that I interact with them to see women's participation and how they help defence ministry's production and procurement process," she said.

The minister was participating in a panel discussion on opening opportunities for women entrepreneurs at the Global Entrepreneur Summit 2017 (GES). The session was moderated by chairman emeritus Cisco John Chambers and panelists include Ivanka Trump, daughter of and advisor to US President Donald Trump.

Sitharaman said that Indian startups have made and are making big contribution to the defence industry both in India and abroad.

"We want to make sure that we leverage that opportunity ...and ensure that these startups are given equal playing opportunities when tenders are given out by the government asking for people to supply (goods and services)," she added.

The minister said that startups face problems as under the existing rules companies cannot take part in the tendering process unless they had been in relevant business for a specified number of years or have achieved certain amount of turnover.

The government, she said, was taking steps to remove such kind of rules which restricted the entry of startups in the tendering process.

"I feel that startups do have a very big opportunity ...(they can) enter the defence industry, help India to procure and also probably export," she said.

Speaking at the discussion, Trump said that the US government has been taking several steps to promote women entrepreneurship.

She said governments can help these budding entrepreneurs by creating friendly environment and enhancing access to credit.

Trump also asked people to provide mentorship as it was very critical for a startup.

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