Zone Startups, the India arm of the Toronto-based tech accelerator has roped in Microsoft, Department of Science and Technology, Tata Trust’s Social Alpha, Cherie Blaire Foundation, ICICI Bank and Amazon to promote women entrepreneurs building technology-enabled ventures.
“Women entrepreneurs had a lot of question marks regarding funding, risk involved, networking etc. We did a lot of research to figure out areas where empoWer needs to focus (in terms of specific requirements of female entrepreneurs). Fifteen start-ups is a good number to work with in terms of manageability,” said Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Director (India), Zone Startups.
The empoWer event will encompass road shows across Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Ahmedabad apart from Mumbai to gather applications. Besides, the six-week long accelerator program, empoWer now comprises of a community for women entrepreneurs, skilling, and entrepreneurship boot camps and enabling access to funding
Winners of empoWer 2016 edition have gone ahead to raise over Rs 150 crore of their own capital following successful completion of the program.
“A lot of such initiatives have come up in recent times like the ones organised by GHC or IIT-Delhi as well. This is absolutely a step in the right direction and the ecosystem needs it,” said Sairee Chahal, CEO Sheroes, an online community specifically for female professionals.
She adds that only thing the investors should keep in mind is that the amount of sponsorship these entrepreneurs receive should match up to the advice they are given.
Recently, Karnataka Government had announced a Rs 10-crore fund for women entrepreneurs in the state. IIT Delhi’s Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment program also mentor women from different age groups and social backgrounds in business fundamentals.
While three start-ups will win up to Rs 10 lakh sponsorship, Social Alpha will invest in some of the start-ups and some will also get featured on Amazon’s Launchpad platform. Zone Start-ups’ portfolio consists of over 120 start-ups with a cumulative funding of over $30 million raised so far.