A new paradigm to investing in women entrepreneurs is fast catching on. And why not: most women run businesses have displayed fantastic track records and consistent profitability. The consequence: women led startups are being pursued by Startup investors and Seed funds. And all though the numbers seem small presently, it’s a trend that is fast expected to catch on in India. So here’s to women power or rather ‘empoWer’
Innovative ideas and the will to succeed are driving women to prove themselves in the field of business. According to SheEO - an international woman support organization, only 4% of all venture capital investments go to women entrepreneurs and less than 5% of them have mentors. Despite all odds women entrepreneurs have successfully taken up the challenge and proved themselves.
Though Women form almost 50% of the world’s population, they have been mostly restricted to their homes. A recently conducted survey stated that just 25% of women work. “Something is totally wrong with this survey,” said Nita Ambani at a recently held event in Mumbai. I believe that all the women work, she said amidst a huge applause from the audience.
In this technology led world, many women with unique ideas and different concepts have come forward to start their own ventures, aiming to target niche markets and make a place for themselves. One just needs to identify a gap in the market, apply one’s mind and provide a service or product to fill that gap, and lo behold a whole new world of opportunities stands open to you.
And to fulfill this missing blank, Zone Startups India hosted its first ‘empoWer’ accelerator demo day on 29th July, exactly 3 months after the program was announced. The demo day was hosted at the BSE International Convention Centre, and attended by close to 150 guests, which included the investor community and large Corporates.
The program had a keynote address by Vicki Saunders, Founder, SheEO - an international woman support organization. Vicki spoke about SheEO's model of "radical generosity", which brings a new paradigm to investing in women entrepreneurs. She said "globally, only 4% of all venture capital investments go to women entrepreneurs. SheEO is all about supporting women entrepreneurs with a new model and a new mindset for the world."
The keynote address was followed by a high profile panel discussion on celebrating women entrepreneurship. The session had eminent panelists in renowned author Rashmi Bansal, Paula Mariwala, Executive Director, SeedFund, Vikas Agnihotri, Director - Sales, Google and Vicki Saunders.
The main event of empoWer demo day, were the 15 startup pitches. Each pitch seemingly the best, till the next pitch came up. The pitches were followed by several prizes. Zone Startups India handed out equity free seed funding of Rs 10 lakh, Rs 7 lakh and Rs 5 lakh to the top 3 startups, based on multiple evaluation criteria. The respective winners were Saral Designs, DAZL and Shubh Puja. The cash prizes were sponsored by Department of Science and Technology, and Vodafone.
Additionally, GIZ handed out 3 prizes of Rs 7 lakh each for covering partial cost of research and prototype development. The winners in this category were Algaari Systems, Math Adventures and Project Mudra.
Based on the international scalability potential, Cloudrino was offered a 2-week bespoke market access program at the DMZ, Canada's #1 technology business incubator.
Lastly, Delhi-based Vanity Cube, an on-demand beauty services marketplace won a £5,000 worth design and branding package from Dccper, a global design company.
Suhani Mohan is an Acumen Fellow and an India-Africa Young Visionary, awarded by the Ministry of External Affairs, India. She has a B.Tech in Metallurgy and Materials Science from IIT Bombay, with a minor in Electrical Engineering. Saral Designs, a product driven start-up, is increasing access to high quality and affordable sanitary napkins to low-income women using machine technology developed in-house. Their automatic, compact machine enables local production and distribution of sanitary napkins, collectively solving the problem of access and affordability, disrupting the largely underserved menstrual hygiene market.
Aditi Chadha is the Founder and Product Architect at DAZL. DAZL is a smart IoT device that works with stylish fashion accessories to deliver location based safety alerts to your loved ones in one click and a range of customized notifications with a buzz. DAZL aims to enhance the work and social lives of women with safety, convenience, seamless connectivity by combining fashion, technology, big data and community engagement.
Saumya Vardhan has over 10+ years of international strategy consulting, industry and entrepreneurship experience with KPMG London and EY London. She is an MBA (with Distinction) from Imperial College, UK, an MSc in Operational Research from Lancaster University and a BSc (Honours) in Statistics (Gold medalist) from Lady Shri Ram College. Shubhpuja.com is a unique science & technology based platform for providing authentic Vedic services such as Vedic pujas, Astrology, Numerology, Vastu consultation, Palmistry through educated and qualified professionals. With their pioneering concept you can call a pandit, book a puja or consult an astrologer in a hassle free manner. They are scientifically revolutionizing the ancient Indian spiritual practices by creating a platform to make people aware about the science and facts behind Vedic practices.
Tarusha Mittal is a La Martiniere Alum, has pursued CS through ICSI. Cloudrino provides users with a GUI that allows users to manage their cloud servers without any platform or OS dependencies. It basically means that one does not need to deal with CLI or any other platform like cPanel- which takes up space on your server to manage it. Cloudrino also provides infrastructure as a service and they specialise in HA Architecture. Cloudrino’s benchmarks are 300% times the market standard, it is app enabled and has an API.