The NS Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL), at IIM Bangalore, in association with Goldman Sachs and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), is all set to create thousands of women entrepreneurs thanks to its newest venture, which they call the Women Start-up Programme.
According to a press release issued by IIM-B, the programme, which is entirely free of cost, is open to women across India.
In its first phase, 12,000 women will be chosen for online training, where they will get to identify and test the sustainability of their ventures.
From there, 300 women entrepreneurs-to-be, will be shortlisted for a boot camp, where they will learn various skills, including customer interaction, setting up strategy, and how entrepreneurship works.
The final phase of the programme will shortlist 100 women, who will then be exclusively trained by professionals, including other successful women entrepreneurs.
The participants will not only gain knowledge about how to start their business but also, how it can be sustained. Once this second boot camp is completed, the ideas will be incubated for one year, at various partner institutions, and each woman will receive funding of Rs 30,000 per month.
Sonjoy Chatterjee of Goldman Sachs India, one of the partners on the project, explains, “This initiative will empower female entrepreneurs, who will create jobs and in turn strengthen the foundations of our communities. In time, we hope to work with many of them on 10,000 Women, a global program that provides business education and access to capital, which our firm has brought to India.”
The programme is undoubtedly impressive, but what does it mean for the aspiring woman entrepreneur?
“Women who have wanted to start their own ventures have often found themselves unable to do so, due to various circumstances either in their home or workplace. This programme gives them the platform to test and cultivate their ideas. We will not only teach them how to start a business but also how to keep it running,” says Bharath Sreeram, Programme Manager, NSRCEL IIM-B.
According to Bharath, the programme allows women to network with other successful entrepreneurs and learn the ropes behind the business, while also gaining validation for their ideas.
“It’s not just entrepreneurship. We also give them specialised classes on topics that not everyone may know about, such as lean canvassing,” he adds.
So, how successful has this programme been?
The earlier version of this programme created many successful women entrepreneurs who have gone on to manage their own businesses. Anushka Shetty, the founder of Penbound, a writing platform; Suhruta Kulkarni of GoCrackIt which provides career advice and coaching to students, and Shambhavi Naik of CloudKrate, a start-up which specialises in low-cost supply management, are just some of the dynamic Indian women, who have set benchmarks in their chosen fields!
“In the first year of the programme, around 60-70% of the participants were from Bangalore. Now, we want to extend this opportunity to women all over India, including 3-tier cities,” explains Bharath.
His dreams for the program in the future are simply to help women realise their goals, and create a cascading change, inspiring others to do the same.
He says, ”Women these days are capable, but there are, at times, barriers that stop them. We want to facilitate their ideas and have created this model to educate them about entrepreneurship and implement it in ways beyond their imagination!”