Updated: Jul 15
As a woman-led start up with more than half of our employees being women, we understand the power of `women in business’. As we are gearing up to celebrate, yet another International Women’s day, the questions we should ask ourselves are: What is holding back more and more women from entering the field of entrepreneurship, why are there so few women founders and most importantly, how can we promote entrepreneurship among women. While the first two questions require a deep social analysis the third question is which we address today.
An incubator essentially mentors a start-up and provides businesses with the necessary support, guidance and equipment required to start a business. The need to have more women entrepreneurs has today led to a number of incubators which are promoting and helping out women-led start-ups. We bring to you a list of ten such incubators who have been instrumental in promoting women entrepreneurship in India.
1. Her & Now
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and in partnership with the Indian Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MoSDE), has implemented the project ‘Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs and Start-ups by Women’ to support aspiring and existing women entrepreneurs in India. This project is currently functioning under the name of ‘Her & Now’. The project aims to improve the overall framework conditions for women-led businesses in India. The three-year project, initiated in 2018, provides incubation and acceleration support for women entrepreneurs in tier II and tier III cities in the North Eastern Region, Rajasthan and Telangana. The programmes offer trainings on critical business concepts, customised support through mentorship, access to market opportunities and linkages to financial institutions to equip women to start new businesses and grow their existing businesses.
2. Dhriiti: The Courage Within
Dhriiti is an effort to promote entrepreneurship among women. It has come up with a number of projects to promote women-led start-ups, such as Beauty-preneur and Ekta. While the former targets at helping women entrepreneurs in the beauty and wellness industry, the latter promotes small scale women entrepreneurs.
We-Hub is the first state-led incubator exclusively for women entrepreneurs in India. Established by the government of Telangana in 2018, the incubator has launched various projects for women entrepreneurs, both existing and budding. We-Hub has launched the Girls in Steam project, to encourage women entrepreneurs in fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.
4. Catalyst for Women Entrpreneurship (CWE)
CWE is a women focussed incubator which provides access to services such as finance, markets and technology to women entrepreneurs. Its vision is to propagate skills, entrepreneurial success, project women as influencers and national role models to inspire others and engender innovation.
5. NSRCEL IIM Bangalore
With programs specifically catering to entrepreneurs with profit ventures and social ventures and student and women entrepreneurs, NSRCEL offers its support to various players of the start-up ecosystem. NSRCEL brings together start-ups, industry mentors, eminent academicians from its parent institution Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and researchers who thrive on continuous interaction of theory and practice. NSRCEL is also the first incubator with a program for tailored for social entrepreneurs and their unique challenges. One of its most notable endeavours is the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative. Goldman Sachs 10,000 provides women entrepreneurs with a business and management education, mentoring and networking and access to capital.
6. Female Entrepreneurship in Berlin and India (FEBI) – StartUp AsiaBerlin
FEBI was established in 2018 and aims to improve the conditions for women-owned companies in India. It supports the development and growth of women-led companies in both regions of India and Berlin, through networking, training, delegation trips. The project brings together female start-up founders and business leaders, support institutions (such as accelerators, incubators, and NGOs), and international start-up ecosystem actors for delegation trips to India and Berlin.
Nexus is a collaboration between the U.S. Embassy, New Delhi and ACIR to showcase the best of American and Indian entrepreneurship, innovation and technology commercialization. Recently, Nexus and WE Connect International-India joined hands to cooperatively pursue activities that will build economic equivalence and build and improve business opportunities for women business owners. This partnership, formalized by a signed MOU, has been entered into to bring opportunities available through the WE Connect platform to Nexus’ start-ups and promote it to women entrepreneurs across India.
8. StartUp Oasis
Startup Oasis is a Jaipur based start-up incubation centre that is developing an active support ecosystem in Rajasthan to inspire, support and mentor students, budding entrepreneurs and start-ups. It has established an Incubation Centre at Banasthali Vidyapith, the world’s largest, all women fully residential university, with the vision of empowering women through entrepreneurship. It focuses on women-led start-ups and providing access to world-class labs, modern equipment, huge mentor & industry network, funding opportunities and state of the art operating facilities. One of the notable initiatives taken by it is the WE Sprint - Women Entrepreneur Sprint which is an accelerator program for fledging start-ups who are looking for capital, mentoring and structural resources to scale up.
9. 5ideas : Founders in Heels
5ideas aims to fuel the tech start-up ecosystem in India. Its initiative, ‘Founder in Heels’ has been established to back women entrepreneurs primarily in tech-enabled industries. The initiative focuses on making available to women entrepreneurs across the country resources such as knowledge, advisors, mentors etc.
10. GINSERV – Catalyst for Women Entrepreneurs
This start-up incubator is a one-stop-shop for women entrepreneurs to start up and scale up their business. It is a comprehensive platform that offers access to information on government Programs and Schemes, Business Skills, Finance, Technology, Trade Networks, and validated professional Service Providers especially for women entrepreneurs.