Accelerators: Accelerating Women Entrepreneurial Growth

Experts Column

Here is a comprehensive guide to startup accelerators for women entrepreneurs. Read on to know how accelerators can positively impact women's entrepreneurial growth. 

Despite substantial growth in women's higher education enrollment and labour market engagement over the past several decades, women are still significantly less likely than men to start their businesses. Given current government regulations aimed at increasing female entrepreneurship engagement, women remain underrepresented in the entrepreneurial world, particularly in high-growth areas. Women have fewer resources than men when it comes to starting a business. As a result, individuals are more inclined to enter businesses like retail or personal services, where entry costs are low and so is the development potential. In that circumstance, startup accelerators can be really beneficial for women entrepreneurs.

Nobody makes it to the top by themselves. Accelerators put the foot on the pedal, connecting you to financial sources, providing mentorship, and assisting you in better understanding how to run a successful and lucrative firm. Incubators provide a safe environment for you to foster your startup during its essential and sensitive early phases. With the support of mentors and a plethora of resources, startup accelerators help entrepreneurs transform their ideas into reality.

Accelerators are typically programs that provide intensive coaching, education, and sometimes funding to entrepreneurs for a set period. Accelerator programming is cohort-based, which means that a group of entrepreneurs participates in the program, which normally lasts three to four months. Accelerators assist entrepreneurs in gaining access to resources, identifying their customers, and networking with other business leaders, investors, and peers through mentorship, education, and assistance. 

New startup accelerators aimed at assisting women in realizing their entrepreneurial potential are gaining traction. Their achievement demonstrates the importance of women in resolving some of today's societal concerns. Breaking the norms and changing the way things are done, these startup accelerators for women entrepreneurs in India aim to restore gender balance in the world of venture capital.

empoWer

empoWer was formed in 2016 to address the dearth of female diversity in India's startup ecosystem and entrepreneurship education. empoWer strives to empower women entrepreneurs with the necessary entrepreneurial mentality, skillsets, and networks through an accelerator program. Zone Startups India designed the program, which consists of a six-week tech accelerator that includes everything from mentorship to investor meetings.

The program has graduated 132 women entrepreneurs in the last five years. Each of the five cohorts completed a 12-module accelerator program as well as an in-person bootcamp. It has given out 3.4 crores in grants, and our graduates have gone on to raise an additional 88.5 crores.

HexGn Startup Ready

This special startup acceleration program for women from science and technology backgrounds is being launched by HexGn in collaboration with Invest India (AGNIi, and Startup India). You don't need a science or technical background to apply, although it would be beneficial if one of the founders did.

Unlike accelerators, which require entrepreneurs to relocate across the nation and give up 5-10% of their company, our program is 100% equity-free and can be completed from anywhere in the world.

ExcellerateHER (a NetApp product)

NetApp ExcellerateHER is an early-stage B2B deep tech accelerator program in India. It has launched ExcellerateHER, a new subgroup of its program that will encourage female entrepreneurs.

This four-month, zero-equity accelerator program is aimed at assisting female entrepreneurs at all stages of their business. Women-led startups in the B2B deep tech field can apply to participate in the program.

Pernod Ricard’s WE Social Impact Incubator for Women Social Entrepreneurs

Pernod Ricard has launched an 8-month program in collaboration with the IIM Calcutta Innovation Park's Social Impact Incubator for Women Entrepreneurs, which will support up to 12 startups each year.

This initiative provides mentorship, business development support, technology, and over $6 million in incubation and fellowship support money to women entrepreneurs and women-led social enterprises.

Women’s Business Incubation Program

The Women's Business Incubation Program not only helps women entrepreneurs start and build digital firms, but it also provides office space, digital engagement, mentorship, and networking opportunities with industry experts.

The selection procedure is based on a company idea's commercial and social impact. The preparedness of your company service to go live is also a deciding factor in the selection process.

How can WE increase financial and human capital access and development?

  • Both the private and public sectors can begin by doing the following:
  • Using venture funds, corporate venture capital, private equity, and social capital to encourage individuals and organisations to invest in women-owned businesses.
  • Updating existing government certification, grant, and loan programs to reflect shifting investment methods and enable women-owned businesses to compete.
  • Developing new finance sources, such as crowdfunding and impact investing

In the face of changing technologies, how can WE assist women's entrepreneurial growth?

  • Entrepreneurs around the world now have equal access to technology. Women entrepreneurs can be helped to succeed by government and business leaders doing the following:
  • In school and early training programs, a focus on STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) as well as digital literacy
  • Enabling global broadband access
  • Raising women's understanding of the hardware, software, and digital tools available to help them grow their businesses.

Women-Friendly Accelerators offer five key supportive elements: entrepreneurial training, mentoring, networking, reputation and fundraising training, as well as exposure to investors. These elements work independently and together to help female entrepreneurs overcome the barriers they face. As a result, accelerators can help improve women's engagement in entrepreneurial activities and contribute to their long-term success.