Telangana state incubator WE Hub, which fosters women entrepreneurs, on Monday announced the selection of 89 startups for the second cohort of the Her&Now programme, implemented with German development agency GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit).
The programme will offer the chosen startups mentorship, support to scale up, contact sessions to develop capacity and improve technical knowledge, and access to strategies that will boost their market and financial linkages, WE Hub said in a statement.
The shortlisted startups include robotics startup Envi Robotics, sun-dried vegetable supplier Nurture Fields, herbal personal care brand Venica Herbals and essential oil manufacturer Lesperanzau, along with Ladoo Box, SR Silks, ASARA Products and Verma Foods.
They were chosen from about 600 applicants, who were evaluated across 14 areas, including domain knowledge, digital literacy, potential to scale, impact, innovation and business feasibility, by an external jury. The members on the panel consisted of Priyanka Chekka, CEO of Khammam district zilla parishad; Vijay Nadiminti, COO of incubator and accelerator a-IDEA NAARM; Ramjee Pallela, COO of Atal Incubation Center-CCMB; and Radhika Meenakshi, founder of Wise OWL Consulting.
“Coming to the second cohort, we are happy to witness an escalated participation of women entrepreneurs from 28 to 89 into our innovation ecosystem,” Jayesh Ranjan, principal secretary of the department of information technology, electronics and communications (ITE&C) under the Telangana government, said.
Additionally, the Her&Now project will provide a seven-month incubation programme for women entrepreneurs and a six-month acceleration programme for formally registered, women-led, for-profit enterprises from tier-2 and tier-3 cities in Telangana.
GIZ has been working with partners in India to help with sustainable economic, ecological and social development. The Her&Now project was implemented by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in partnership with the Indian Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MoSDE) to support women entrepreneurs in India.
“After a successful round of programmes with the first cohort of women entrepreneurs from Telangana, we are looking forward to welcoming 89 women entrepreneurs into the second round of our incubation and acceleration programme. Her&Now, through WE Hub, offers support customised to each entrepreneur and her business, and we hope this will prove especially useful in these challenging times of the pandemic,” Julia Karst, head of project for Her&Now at GIZ, said.
The first cohort, consisting of 30 startups, graduated in August.
In February, WE Hub partnered with Switzerland’s University of Basel to set up exchange and immersion programmes for women-led startups in the two countries.
In December last year, it partnered with Startup India, an initiative of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), in a bid to support 7,500 women entrepreneurs in the country every year.