WE-Hub, India’s First Government-led Incubator for Women Startups in Telangana
Indian women entrepreneurs celebrated International Women’s Day with Telangana’s first state-led incubator, Women Entrepreneurship Hub (WE Hub), launched only for women on March 8th.
Ideate, implement, inspire. These are the three words that WE-Hub has chosen as their tagline. Several Indian women have recently been making headways in the entrepreneurial world. However, Indian women are still facing many problems such as lack of access to capital and infrastructure, unaffordable childcare, and dearth of community support.
The initiative was launched by Missile Woman of India, Tessy Thomas, Director of ASL, DRDL and Vani Kola, the Managing Director of Kalaari Capital, in the presence of IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao.
Deepthi Ravula, who has been appointed as the CEO of WE-Hub, is the former Joint Director for Electronics Promotions (Electronics, Semiconductor and Business) for the State of Telangana. Speaking to The Tech Panda, Ravula said “I have seen a lot of women who want to go ahead and do so much, but many times it is not possible for them to be there physically all the time, because of family or other issues. Keeping that in mind, we have planned a lot of virtual mentoring programs for them.”
March 9th is the date for submitting the first batch of applications from any kind of startup led by women, and the closing date for applications is March 31st. Applications will be selected after a scrutiny process. Two months after being accepted, onboarding will start.
In the beginning, WE-Hub will be based out of T-sat in the BR Ambedkar University campus in Hyderabad with 100 chosen seats. However, the set up will, in due course, be moved to phase 2 of T-Hub, which is being constructed right now.
The initiative comes in the wake of the recently published Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE), where India stands way below at 52 out of 57 countries for reasons such as societal gender bias and lack of support from government. WE-Hub is the first such initiative taken by a government agency in India. As such, it’s bound to encourage many women to apply and thus move closer to achieving their dreams of successful entrepreneurship. WE-Hub is not only a great opportunity for women entrepreneurs of India to present their ideas and realize them, but it is also a first step towards rising in the MIWE scorecard.
Deepthi Ravula explained, “Through WE-Hub we aim to support women entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, solutions and entities focusing on emerging areas in technology. WE-Hub will also support under-explored / unexplored sectors along with the Service sector. The mandate and goal of WE-Hub is to eliminate financial, societal and support barriers for women and help them succeed in their enterprises. Over the last three months, our team has been conceptualizing WE-Hub’s vision and mission and working on taking this flagship initiative off the ground.”
The Telangana government had announced the opening of a government-led incubator for women three months ago. And now the launch will propel the fruition of many a female entrepreneur’s dream.
According to The News Minute, Minister KT Rama Rao said, “WE-Hub will promote women-led, women-owned enterprises in Telangana. It is a platform that is open to all kinds of innovations, including a tech start-up, a start-up in social innovation, or an idea that is completely and radically different. It will not only provide women with access to mentors and capital but also aspire more women to become entrepreneurs.”
KTR also assured the future women entrepreneurs of WE-Hub that the Telangana government will be their first customers. Moreover, WE-Hub has plans to work together and partner with 32 other existing incubators in Hyderabad to take their mission forward.
“WE-Hub will be viable, commercially successful, and inclusive for all women entrepreneurs…Kalaari Capital is committed to extend its support to WE-Hub and the startup ecosystem in Hyderabad,” The News Minute quoted Vaani Kola, MD of Kalaari Capital.
The government also announced the launch of a Venture Capital fund amounting to INR 15 crores to fund women enterprises along with T-Fund, which is T-Hub’s investment partner. The fund’s plan involves capitalizing in female-initiated startups with investments starting from INR 25 lakhs to INR 1 crore, after which industries and the commerce department of the Telangana government will further expand it.
In other good news for women-led enterprises, according to the state government’s procurement policy, 20% of the government’s procurement is done from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and the private sector. At least, one fourth of this procurement is now going to be from women enterprises.
Further, six partnerships were formed at the WE-Hub launch, with MOUs signed, which will organize co-incubation programs, events, workshops, and social innovation programs, with a focus on promoting women’s startups.
WE-Hub visualizes to create an environment, where aspiring women entrepreneurs can interact with VCs for funding, connect with corporates for scaling up their business, get advice from mentors to fine tune ideas, avoid costly mistakes, and confidently move forward. Don’t wait till the last date, ladies. Grab this opportunity and get onto the startup bandwagon!