IIT Delhi, in collaboration with the Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Program (WEE) is launching a free, three-month mentorship program for 45 women business owners, starting on October 1.
Around 2500 women applied to the initiative, surprising WEE’s founders, Sarandeep Singh, and Aparna Saroagi, who did not expect to receive more than 100 applicants
The 45 business owners will be advised IIT professors, and will be given the opportunity to meet seasoned investors, and visit various incubation centers.
The director of IIT Delhi, V. Ramgopal Rao, told The Times of India that women spearhead only 10 percent of startups in India. He also said that women’s presence in the IIT campuses is meagre, given that social constraints leave only a small number of women who are able to apply.
“We want to change this and ensure that at least half the number of entrepreneurs in our country is women. For this to happen, we need to take initiatives to help women entrepreneurs realize their dreams” the director added.
If India manages gender parity, then we will see at least an increase of 1.4% in GDP, Amitabh Kant, CEO of Niti Aayog commented at the programme’s launch event on Saturday.
The WEE programme launches at a time where there is a lot of energy amongst women entrepreneurs, but a lack of mentorship.
SheThePeople.tv conducted an extensive survey on the challenges and opportunities women entrepreneurs face. Most founders said that getting funded was one of their biggest challenges. They counted good business ideas, and passion as among their most important strengths.
Entrepreneurs in the programme will be divided into two groups, ‘ Startup’ or ‘Accelerate’, depending on which stage their businesses are in.
Each group has a premium curriculum designed to suit their particular needs, according to WEE’s website.
Reporting by Tara Khandelwal