India | 24th October 2020: WE HUB, India’s first state-led incubator to foster and promote women entrepreneurship to start up, scale up and accelerate with global market access, today announced the selection of 89 start-ups out of a total of 600 applications for the second cohort of the ‘Her&Now’ programme. For over 60 years, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been working with partners in India for sustainable economic, ecological, and social development. GIZ is implementing the project ‘Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs and Start-ups by Women (Her&Now)’ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and in partnership with the Indian Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MoSDE), to support aspiring and existing women entrepreneurs in India. The first cohort of 30 start-ups from Telangana graduated in August by formally registering their enterprises and raising finances through credit linkages and equity investments.

The pitching process had close to 150 women entrepreneurs out of 600 applicants, and each pitch was evaluated across 14 selection criteria like Domain Knowledge, Digital Literacy, Potential to Scale, Impact, Innovation, Business feasibility etc., with external jury members in the panel. Each entrepreneur was allowed for pitching followed by a ten-minute Q&A session. The jury panel consisted of leaders like Priyanka Chekka, CEO ZP, Khammam, Vijay Nadiminti, COO- aIDEA NAARM, Ramjee Pallela, COO of Atal Incubation center-CCMB, Dr. Radhika Meenakshi, Founder of Wise OWL Consulting.

Some of the startups shortlisted are Envi Robotics, Nuture Fields, Ladoo Box, Venica Herbals, ASARA Products, Verma Foods, Lesperanzau, SR Silks etc.

Mr. Jayesh Ranjan, IAS, Principal Secretary (ITE &C), Government of Telangana said ‘’The Government of Telangana has been working extensively to enable women to be part of the innovation ecosystem of Telangana despite the ongoing global crisis. I was delighted to witness women entrepreneurs grow from ideation stage to MPP stage. Coming to the 2nd cohort we are happy to witness an escalated participation of women entrepreneurs from 28 to 89 into our innovation ecosystem. With WE Hub, we look forward to foster & supporting many more entrepreneurs in the future.’’

Deepthi Ravula, CEO, WE HUB, said, “The journey from a minimal viable product or solution to a successful start-up is a not an easy one. We are deeply committed to supporting the women entrepreneurs as they prepare to launch and grow their ventures. Our partnership with GIZ enables us to invest in entrepreneurship in tier 2 and tier 3 cities where innovation is booming. We are looking forward to helping these select enterprises thrive.

Julia Karst, Head of Project Her&Now at GIZ said, “After a successful round of programmes with the first cohort of women entrepreneurs from Telangana, we are looking forward to welcoming 89 women entrepreneurs into the second round of our incubation and acceleration programme. Her&Now through WE Hub offers support customized to each entrepreneur and her business, and we hope this will prove especially useful in these challenging times of the pandemic.”

The tailor-made program will have an incubation program for seven months to help women entrepreneurs who have been running an informal enterprise or are a part of a group enterprise and now wants to start up on their own and establish their enterprises.  The acceleration program is a six-month program to help formally registered, women-led, for-profit enterprises from Tier2 and 3 cities of Telangana to scale up.

The shortlisted start-ups will receive a host of benefits to ensure their strategic growth, including:

  • Access to incubation and acceleration
  • Access to contact sessions for capacity development and technical knowledge enhancement
  • Access to mentorship
  • Support to ground the enterprises and scale up
  • Strategies to increase market and financial linkages
  • Support for product development and diversification

Rekha Bhargavi, who runs a Garment & Accessories Manufacturing Unit from Khammam selected as one of the incubate mentioned ‘’I am extremely excited to be a part of this program. Through my association with WE HUB I aspire to generate employment and support to more women financially, and I am glad to have WE Hub as a guide in this journey.

In addition, the start-ups will also receive access to an enormous peer network and support system both at the district and state level. It will enable cross-learning and help establish internal linkages within the community. Furthermore, the entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to undergo sector-specific exposure visits, which will hone their present skills and provide essential exposure to increase their scale of business.

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