Due to the great response and positive feedback following the last sessions, the Integri-TEA format continues in India. Beginning of October, the Alliance for Integrity invited women entrepreneurs and female business owners to share experiences, learn from each other and develop a deep understanding of tools and good practices available to prevent corruption within their businesses. The sixth session of the Integri-TEA was jointly organised with HER&NOW, Dhriiti – The Courage Within and Start Up Oasis.
Women entrepreneurs are driving actors behind economic growth and social well-being. Thus, they play an essential role in the fight against corruption. Aiming to support women in building a sustainable business, the sixth session of the Integri-TEA put special emphasis on the topic of contract management and agreements with national and international partners. The event provided a platform where businesswomen could share challenges, ideas and best practices with peers. Together with compliance experts, the participants discussed how effective contract management can help to reduce costs, maximise operational performance and consequently increase efficiency within their companies.
42 women entrepreneurs from different parts of the country and operating in various sectors of the Indian economy joined the session. Bhavna Arora, trainer of the Alliance for Integrity and Head of Legal and Compliance at TÜV Rheinland India, opened the discussion highlighting the legal differences between agreements, contracts and commitments. In her presentation, she explained the purpose and importance of registrations, stamp duty and various contractual legal conditions in private procurement processes. Particular attention was paid to terms of contracts with intergovernmental companies and international partners. In this context, the participants expressed concerns about the validity of legal bindings when concluded digitally, especially as the topic is becoming increasingly relevant in the current crisis. The expert explained that contracts sent by e-mail and signed by both parties are legally binding regardless of where the parties are based or where the terms of contract are implemented. However, this does not apply to contracts or agreements concluded through informal channels such as WhatsApp or social media.
Bhavna also underlined the importance of financial aspects as late payments can have devastating effects on businesses. An important part is to properly negotiate the terms of contract and to develop tools that help to avoid negative effects on production and profitability. In case of financial bottlenecks during the current crisis, she advised to inform the contractual partners as early as possible in order to jointly work on possible solutions that are acceptable for both parties.
The meeting concluded answering questions on expansion and visibility on the international market. The identification of needs plays a key role in this respect. Only those who have a thorough understanding of potential suppliers and market opportunities will later be able to expand their business activities sustainably. The participants actively engaged in the discussion on how to adapt their business model to changing markets and technologies. Of particular relevance was the question of how companies can expand their business activities, even in challenging times.
One businesswoman stated: “The exchange with female entrepreneurs operating in other sectors has given me new impulses and opened new perspectives. It is important to know that we are not alone in this and that we can count on the support of others. The explanations of the participating experts were particularly helpful in preparing my business for current and future challenges.”
The positive feedback of the participants encourages us to continue the Integri-TEA format in order to reach even more female entrepreneurs and help them develop a sustainable business model. The event was part of the bi-monthly peer-to-peer learning sessions that address weak points identified in previous meetings. The next session will be announced on our website.
Author: Savita Singh