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Globally, there is a lot of push around gender diversity and inclusion – across Governments, Management Boards and Entrepreneurship.

As a small step towards the above, empoWer is an initiative by Zone Startups India, for supporting women entrepreneurs.

Launched in 2016, as India’s first tech accelerator for women entrepreneurs, empoWer provides mentorship, industry connects, peer network, investor meets through a 6-week accelerator program followed by a 1-year support program .

Our 2016 cohort was a huge success. The 8 winners selected from the cohort of 15 entrepreneurs went on to gain financial support of INR 70 Lakhs from the program, with 15 founders going onto raise in excess of INR 150 Crores post program.

Starting 2017, empoWer expands itself to become an ecosystem for nurturing women entrepreneurship through a conference, accelerator, skill bootcamp, community and access to funding as a year round initiative.
An 8-week accelerator program comprising of mentoring, workshops, case studies, industry connect, peer network, investor connect and over INR 75 Lakhs in cash & professional services as takeaways. The program is for Women entrepreneurs who actively own and run tech startups with potential for growth.

Program Sponsor partners includes– Department of Science and Technology (Government of India), Social Alpha (an initiative by Tata Trusts), Microsoft, Amazon, ICICI Bank, PayU, CapitalFirst and FlexiLoans.

The program is launched pan-India, by hosting roadshows in Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, and NCR; along with an extended partner network for outreach.

“empoWer” is looking for Women Entrepreneurs who are building technology enabled ventures, across different sectors. We are not focused on a particular segment. However, the program will not on-board  generic e-commerce or education ventures, unless there is a solid differentiator.

The program received positive feedback from its participants. “The last six weeks have been great. I’ve done an MBA. The empoWer program is an MBA for startups”, says Saumya Vardhan, Founder & CEO, ShubhPuja.com.

Bhargavi S, Co-Founder, FinMitra added “Through program far exceeded my expectations.  The quality of mentors has been amazing, as well as the session content. I’ve never worked out of a program like this, and never knew what I was missing – so many great people and connections and  information”.

The program saw huge success immediately in its cohort as well with YourDost raising its second round in the middle of cohort to Advenio going on to winning Start Tel Aviv Start Tel Aviv Contest.

Program Takeaways:

  • Equity Free Seed Fund of 10 Lakh for 3 women entrepreneurs
  • Access to Amazon Launchpad program to exclusively market one entrepreneur to millions of Amazon customers
  • Seed Investment up to 50 Lakhs by Social Alpha – an initiative by Tata Trust, to eligible entrepreneurs
  • Exclusive Media and PR Coverage

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