Wednesday, June 19, 2024

‘In the South, Hyderabad has become the city of dreams’

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FICCI FLO and YFLO have been transforming women’s participation in India’s growth trajectory. This week in our Hyderabad edition, we speak with Sonali Modi Saraf, chairperson of the FICCI YFLO Hyderabad chapter, about the growing entrepreneurship for women and young women entrepreneurs.

Tejal Sinha

It was once said by the former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” A strong believer in this is our guest for this week’s Hyderabad edition, Sonali Modi Saraf, chairperson of the Hyderabad chapter of FICCI YFLO.

Sonali has been associated with the organisation for the past seven years. Young Ficci Ladies Organization (YFLO) is a platform for young women from diverse professional and entrepreneurial backgrounds to interact with each other, learn, explore new avenues, and launch their ideas in a supportive and nurturing environment.

The primary objective of YFLO is to promote entrepreneurship and professional excellence in women. It acts as a catalyst for the social and economic advancement of women and society at large and endeavours to make women aware of their strengths through its educational and vocational training programmes, talks, seminars, panel discussions, and workshops on a vast range of subjects, especially those concerning women and business.
Sonali recalled how she ended up being the chairperson now: “My aunt Kamini Saraf was connected with the organisation. Back then, I had just joined the business, and she advised me to join YFLO too. Later, I wanted to give a lot to the community, and I wanted to organise programs, so I thought, why not join the committee? I then progressed to become the chairperson of the organisation.”

Having been born and brought up here in Hyderabad, the chemical engineering and food operations undergrad hails from a business background. Not only was her dad in the food products business, but she also joined her husband in his business after marriage.

Over the past few years, many budding entrepreneurs have set up their own businesses and made their own mark. The entrepreneur couldn’t agree more and said, “I think there’s a sudden growth in the number of budding entrepreneurs. Not only do we have people doing their large-scale businesses but also family businesses, and you see young generations handling it. In fact, I have seen a lot of girls in Hyderabad who suddenly want to do something on their own.

They have started their own homegrown business and are not only building it hugely, but also on a beautiful scale. I think women are getting into every possible field; whatever they’re good at, they’re getting into it. I’ve noticed a significant shift in the number of female entrepreneurs since the pandemic. They’ve discovered a sense of belonging.”

YFLO has come a long way since its inception, and its efforts towards women’s empowerment have been remarkable. With its specialised programmes depicting the power of a young India, YFLO complements FLO in its vision of women’s empowerment. On talking about the city’s infrastructure regarding women’s empowerment, she goes on to appreciate the government and says, “Both the national and the state governments have been helping a lot regarding women’s empowerment.

They have bought in lots of policies for women. They eventually gave us such a large parcel of land for our industrial park, which shows how the government encourages and assists women. Today, we have pumped around 210 crores worth of money into the industrial park, which is a very big thing. The government is bringing out opportunities for women, and in itself, it talks about how they trust women and how they want women to grow. There’s definitely a huge change from the government, and we, FLO and YFLO, are here to help and aid that. We want the government and the people who don’t have the resources, so we bring them together and associate them so that a better product can be given to society and the city.”

While people call Hyderabad the ‘City of Nizams’ and the ‘City of Pearls’, Sonali says it’s also the ‘City of Dreams’, just like Mumbai. “In the South, Hyderabad has become the city of dreams. I feel like a lot of people want to get associated with Hyderabad.The youth here are very outgoing. They want to be everywhere; they want to be great entrepreneurs; women want to be good mothers; they want to take care of the house; they go out at night to party. They’re all-rounded people. People who come to Hyderabad want to start a business, no matter how big or small. Women in Hyderabad want to work, and young women in Hyderabad are very focused and want to be out there and give it their all.

The crowd here in Hyderabad feels empowered; they have the resources and all the support. People here in Hyderabad are all pepped up or have the zeal to actually work and move forward in their lives. All of the people who come to Hyderabad for our interviews simply want to join FLO so that they can come to Hyderabad.

There are a lot of opportunities, and people from other small cities and villages want to come to Hyderabad. In fact, KTR Garu said at one of our gala events, “Let’s move out of Hyderabad and let’s make the city bigger.” I feel we should do that, and definitely, Hyderabad has a lot of scopes; women here are very empowered and always ready to work harder.”

Before we concluded the talk, the businesswoman shared that the city has been improving in terms of business and said, “Many women are opening a lot of restaurants and a lot of other small businesses. I think they have a big future in expanding, and definitely, Hyderabad is coming up to be a leading industry base for India.”

“I have seen a lot of girls in Hyderabad who suddenly want to do something on their own.
They have started their own homegrown business and are building it on a beautiful scale.”

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