100 Women Entrepreneurs and Ideas Selected for Incubation at IIMB


The NS Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) has announced the selection of 100 prospective women entrepreneurs for incubation.

They were drawn from among the graduates of the 2018 class of the ‘Women Startup Program (WSP)’, a first-of-its-kind customized online and classroom-training for aspiring entrepreneurs among Indian women to systematically identify and test their business ideas, IIMB said in a press release.

WSP provides 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.

The program is supported by the global investment bank Goldman Sachs and the Department of Science & Technology (DST) of the Government of India.

“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,” he added.

NSRCEL had announced the launch of the WSP in January 2018 to provide training for up to 12,000 women through a five-week “Do Your Venture” Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). It is customized to encourage the participants to systematically identify and test business ideas.

Following the successful 2016 pilot of the WSP in Bangalore, which saw participation from 1,700 women, the 2018 class 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 class, made up of diverse participants across age groups from 20 to 50 years of age, had academic backgrounds spanning from higher secondary degrees to PhDs and MBBSs. Professional background ranged from those on a career break to doctors and engineers.

The students were from different states in India, including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.

“This is one of the largest women startup programs in India…Our pilot WSP showed that in addition to the financial support provided, entrepreneurs need mentoring and networking support,” Prof Suresh Bhagavatula, Faculty in Entrepreneurship and Chairperson of NSRCEL, said.

“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,” he added.

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.

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, e-commerce 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 program. 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,” she added.

The WSP 2018 Stage 1 began with a 6-week MOOC held on the IIMBx platform 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%, which is well above the global average of 6-8%, according to HarvardX and MITx.

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Stage 2 in April saw 287 participants 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 had 100 female entrepreneurs and ideas 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.

The participants were also given opportunities to network with successful women entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, IIMB students and Goldman Sachs professionals.


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