The NS Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) at the IIM Bangalore and Goldman Sachs selected 15 women entrepreneurs-in-the-making and their ideas for incubation over the next year as the final phase of its Women Startup Programme, India’s first customized online and classroom training programme designed to grow the next generation of female entrepreneurs.
The 15 women selected to incubate at IIMB will receive a fellowship of 40,000 rupees per month, while they further develop their business ideas with the goal of starting a successful venture. Their ideas range across a variety of topics, including matching volunteers to social causes, specialized healthcare systems, and customized social networks.
Launched in November 2016, the Women Startup Programme drew more than 1,700 aspiring female entrepreneurs from across the country for a five-week online course focused on encouraging women to systematically identify and test their business ideas. Afterwards, 50 women entrepreneurs were selected to attend a three-week boot camp at IIMB to enable each participant to develop a robust “problem-solution” methodology for comprehending the success and sustainability of their ventures. The final round culminated in a one-on-one demo day on February 25 where participants presented to a panel of entrepreneurs, Goldman Sachs professionals, and business leaders, including PC Mustafa, founder & CEO of ID Fresh Food; Manish Singhal, founding partner of Pi Ventures; and Abhay Hanjura, founder & CEO of Licious.
“Since 2008, through our 10,000 Women initiative, Goldman Sachs has been investing globally and in India in the economic empowerment of women through education and access to capital,” said Sonjoy Chatterjee, chairman and co-CEO of Goldman Sachs (India). “The innovative business ideas developed through this mass outreach online and classroom programme reflect the entrepreneurial talent in India and the tremendous potential of women entrepreneurs,” he added.
Prof. Suresh Bhagavatula, Program Director at IIMB and Chairperson, Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development, NSRCEL at IIMB, said “Technology, either as the core business idea or using technology to scale, was a key theme in the programme. Many ideas also focused on community. Through the boot camp, our women entrepreneurs-in-the-making were able to learn and apply business acumen and technology expertise to help their ideas continue to grow into a viable business.”
The three-week boot camp, which was offered at no cost, provided 50 participants with an opportunity to network with successful women entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, MBA students from IIMB, and Goldman Sachs professionals. Participants also received classroom instruction on developing a business plan, understanding costing and pricing, sales and marketing, and negotiation skills. Participants traveled from as far as Srinagar from Jammu and Kashmir to take part. The average age of the class was 34 with youngest women being 22 years old and the oldest being 53.
Shreya, a homemaker for over 10 years, who previously had a boutique selling designer wear for women, participated in the programme and said, “I have benefited immensely from this IIMB boot camp. After taking the time to focus on my family for the past decade, this residential boot camp format with like-minded women has exposed me to the tools, processes and mentorship necessary to translate my concept into a working idea. Most importantly it has instilled in me the ambition, energy and confidence needed to launch my own business. My life has transformed in the last two months.”