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Sometimes, women entrepreneurs in India need a little help along their entrepreneurial journey. Some organizations which work towards empowering women entrepreneurs.
By Rashi Goel
The last decade has seen a steady rise of women entrepreneurs in India. With a larger number of women taking to entrepreneurship, academic institutions as well as industry backed foundations saw a void which needed to be filled – they realized that women either had the funds and lacked the technical know-how of running a business, or vice versa. The need of the hour was for a mentor, a hand holder to walk beside them on their path to success.
Being a fledgling entrepreneur myself, like many of you out there, I found myself needing guidance and advice on various aspects. This search for a guide led to my discovering that there are plenty of organizations out there that are completely dedicated to this task. I have put together a list of these as I felt that almost all women – entrepreneurs and those aspiring to be one – could benefit from this.
1. Goldman Sachs – ISB 10000 Women Program
The unique aspect of this program is that it strives to provide women with an education in business management – one that will help them succeed in their venture. 10000 women from across the globe learn the basic skills of running a business like writing a business plan, accounting, marketing and seeking investments for their business. The program is supported by various non-profit organizations across the world.
2. The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
Based in London, this non-profit organization was set up to benefit women entrepreneurs. They facilitate access to technology, business skills training, networks and finance by working in partnership with other organisations through three programmes: Enterprise Development, Mobile Technology and Mentoring. This organization lays special emphasis on investing in women from developing regions like Africa, Asia and the Middle East. While providing access to finances is the foundation’s main area, they also provide business and technical knowledge and networking platforms for women.
3. Carma – Creating Access to Resources and Markets
A for profit company, Carma helps nurture aspiring entrepreneurs – anyone who has an idea they want to execute. While a large number of their mentees are women, Carma does its work across genders, ages and geographies. They charge a fee depending on the whether the business is just starting up or has already been in the market and then conduct virtual mentoring for a period of 6 months. Carma’s approach is a logical, practical and ROI driven one.
4. WeConnect International
This is a corporate led non-profit organization which helps empower women entrepreneurs by connecting them with other corporates and helping accelerate their growth.
5. FIWE: The Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs
Based out of Delhi, FIWE was established in 1993. It now has over 15000 members and around 28 member associations. The aim of this organization is to help empower women entrepreneurs through trainings on technical know-how, industry research, expertise, and skill development. They concentrate largely on the SME segment.
6. TREAD: Trade Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development
The MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) Ministry runs a scheme in both urban and rural areas to help overcome the developmental hurdles faced by women. This organization helps develop the entrepreneurship skills of women in non-farm activities by providing them with information and counselling with respect to trade.
7. CWEI: Consortium of Women Entrepreneurs of India
A leading organization in the field, CWEI works with UN Women, the MSME Ministry and the Ministry of Rural Development. They are in the forefront of all initiatives concerned with assisting women entrepreneurs – help them learn better marketing skills, work with tribal and backward women to integrate them with urban organizations and devising new and innovative methods for arranging financing for women run businesses.
8. Stree Shakti by Tie
The Indus Entrepreneurs movement ‘Stree Shakti’ aims at connecting and enabling enterprising women from different classes of society through a series of on-ground focused programmes. They are a leading organization in mentoring, educating and providing inspiration.
In an insightful conversation, well-known professor, and founder of Carma, Nandini Vaidyanathan, led me to the understanding that awareness and desire to excel amongst women, even in small towns, is on the upswing and places like Goa, Lucknow, Kanpur and Surat are actually epicentres of female entrepreneurial activity. Infact in the Goldman Sachs – ISB program, around 8 women are from Goa. This is when locally available resources and networking systems become even more valuable.
9. NWEA:The Noida Womens’ Entrepreneur Association
It was set up to help businesswomen in Noida deal with the hurdles that come with their ventures. The organization plays the role of a mentor and lobbyist for its members.
10. The Government of Goa
The Goa state government runs various schemes to assist women in self employment. One such scheme run by the Directorate of Industries helps benefit women by giving them financial advantages such as increased capital contribution.
11. Best Price Members Women’s council
Retail giant Walmart, which came into India in collaboration with Bharti, has launched a forum in Chandigarh in order to help women understand the issues they will face with a start up and to help scale up the business.
We’re also happy to mention that Women’s Web has recently launched Women’s Haat, a listing space for women entrepreneurs to be featured on and gain visibility to our growing tribe of readers.
While most women in the metros and other large towns have access to events such as T.I.E meetings or all forms of media, I truly hope that this article will be beneficial to the women in smaller towns whose resources and networks are more limited.
*Photo credit: Thinkpanama (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)
Women's Web is a vibrant community for Indian women, an authentic space for us
A very good information provided for the benefit of needy women. A good site !
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