Bengaluru: The NS Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) announced the selection of 100 women entrepreneurs-in-the-making and their ideas for incubation. The women selected were graduates from the 2018 class of the nationwide ‘Women Startup Programme (WSP)’, which is supported by Goldman Sachs, a global investment bank and active investor in India, and the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India (GOI).
The WSP is a first-of-its kind customized online and classroom-training programme designed to enable aspiring Indian women entrepreneurs to systematically identify and test their business ideas. The WSP provides an in-depth training to nurture and augment managerial and entrepreneurial skills of female entrepreneurs through mentorship from industry veterans, incubation at leading institutes and financial support.
Following the successful 2016 pilot of the WSP in Bangalore, which saw participation from 1,700 women, the 2018 class of the WSP saw over 6,000 women register from across the country in partnerships with leading academic institutes that included, IIM Visakhapatnam, IIM Indore, IIM Nagpur, IIM Sirmaur, IIM Udaipur, IIE Guwahati and CIIE Ahmedabad.
The WSP 2018 class was made up of diverse participants across age groups from 20 to 50 years of age; academic backgrounds spanning from higher secondary degrees to PhDs and MBBSs; and diverse professions from women who are on a career break to doctors and engineers. Geographically, the women resided all across India, including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.
“This is one of the largest women startup programmes in India and we thank our partner academic institutes for joining us in this endeavor. Our pilot WSP showed that in addition to the financial support provided, entrepreneurs need mentoring and networking support. At IIMB, we leveraged our existing mentor pool as well as our large alumni base. Given the importance of nurturing women entrepreneurship, we have begun documenting our experiences for the creation of a manual. We are thankful to DST for inspiring us to think beyond Bangalore for supporting the nationwide roll out of the programme, and Goldman Sachs for supporting us from the beginning of WSP and, more importantly, for giving us the freedom to experiment to improve the success rate of women startups,” said Prof. Suresh Bhagavatula, Faculty in Entrepreneurship and Chairperson of NSRCEL at IIM Bangalore.
The Department of Science & Technology provided support to host and organize roadshows, events and workshops. Dr. Anita Gupta, Scientist – G /Adviser and Associate Head – National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), DST, said: “Developing a new class of 100 women entrepreneurs, under the Women Startup Programme, will go a long way in empowering women for entrepreneurship and contributing towards nation-building.”
Goldman Sachs has been a key and founding partner of the Women Startup Programme since its launch in 2016. “Our firm believes investing in women is an investment in the long-term health of our families and communities. The innovative business ideas developed by this year’s graduates, who come from diverse walks of life, reflects the sustainable economic and entrepreneurial potential of our country,” said Sonjoy Chatterjee, Chairman and Co-CEO of Goldman Sachs (India).
The selected 100 women entrepreneurs will receive a fellowship of INR 30,000 per month in addition to a prototype development fund to help kick-start their ventures from the DST, GOI. From that group, ten women identified to have the best ideas will also be provided with an opportunity to go on a startup study trip to Israel. This year’s incubation class addresses a variety of sectors across society and industry, including construction, ecommerce and retail, education, healthcare and wellness, finance and manufacturing.
Bhavya Purana Hosadurgam, founder of momSAURUS and one of the 100 selected entrepreneurs, said: “I have benefited immensely from this programme. It has provided me with access to the tools, processes and mentorship necessary to translate my concept into a working idea. It has also given me courage and inspiration by connecting me to like-minded women so that we can share our passions and dreams. At momSAURUS, we are working to disrupt and enhance the way parents and their young children perceive mealtimes and food.”
The WSP 2018 Programme Structure
The programme targeted women entrepreneurs in the ideation stage of their ventures or first-time entrepreneurs.
Stage 1: A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) was held on the IIMBx platform for six weeks in January focusing on entrepreneurship, including the fundamentals of making a business model followed by a week of customer validation. A total of 6,136 women signed up for the MOOC, 1,067 completed the course, making the completion rate 17 percent, which is well above the global average of 6-8 percent, according to HarvardX and MITx.
Stage 2: In April, 287 participants were shortlisted for the first boot camp after submitting a business model and video pitch for their venture vetted by partner academic institutions based on geography.
Stage 3: In May, 100 female entrepreneurs and ideas were chosen for a second boot camp at IIMB’s NSRCEL, which addressed concepts in entrepreneurship, design thinking, compliance, idea articulation, basics of finance, leveraging networks, mentor interaction and provide feedback sessions. Opportunities to network with successful women entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, IIMB students and Goldman Sachs professionals were provided.