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Spotlighting Women Entrepreneurs

  • Telangana Minister for Information Technology, Electronics and Communications KT Rama Rao (center) and Deepthi Ravula (left) at the ceremony where 47 women-led start-ups graduated from WE Hub’s incubation program. Photograph courtesy WE Hub.
  • In addition to incubation and mentoring, WE Hub offers women-led start-ups access to its onsite facilities like co-working office spaces and conference rooms. Photograph courtesy WE Hub.

 

WE Hub fosters women entrepreneurship via incubation, access to government resources, and the creation of a global collaborative network for women-led enterprises to thrive. 


In 2017, the theme of the U.S. State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) hosted in Hyderabad was “Women First, Prosperity for All,” providing a major step toward advancing women’s participation in the Indian economy. After identifying the clear need for a dedicated platform to support and guide women entrepreneurs during the summit, the Government of Telangana conceptualized a women entrepreneurs hub, or WE Hub, and announced its inception in March 2018. “The summit sparked a conversation that led to an immediate action of creating a platform that encourages, scales up, and creates a funnel for more women to be a part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” says Deepthi Ravula, the chief executive officer of WE Hub.  

 

WE Hub’s mission is to focus exclusively on women-led start-ups and enterprises at the early ideation stage. It guides entrepreneurs with innovative ideas through the development of a proof of concept or a minimum viable product with technical support, mentoring and networking. “Any woman–be it an aspiring entrepreneur or someone who is just starting out or looking to scale–can approach WE Hub for assistance,” says Ravula. “A major aspect that WE Hub has been able to do very well is to bring the entire ecosystem on one collaborative platform to enable and foster women entrepreneurship.” In addition to incubation and mentoring, WE Hub also offers women-led start-ups access to its onsite facilities including co-working office spaces, conference rooms, an auditorium for presentations and a children’s play area.

 

As Ravula explains, “The key differentiator is that WE Hub is a sector-agnostic incubator, which works with every incubator across the country. While being an incubator, we are also an enabler for girls and women in technology and entrepreneurship, policy implementation and credit linkages.” 

 

New initiatives
In July 2021, 47 women-led Indian start-ups graduated from WE Hub’s incubation program. In the presence of Telangana Minister for Information Technology, Electronics and Communications KT Rama Rao, WE Hub announced the launch of three new programs. 

 

As part of Empowering the Greater 50%, WE Hub will partner with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry to kick-off a program to incubate 100 aspiring women entrepreneurs and launch an incubation program for 20 established start-ups across India. 

 

Girls in STEAM is another initiative launched to create a new platform for women entrepreneurs in the field of data science, artificial intelligence and allied domains. WE Hub, in collaboration with Women in Data Science and Stanford University, will run a cohort of 100 school students from five cities in India—Bengaluru, Srinagar, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram—as part of this initiative. 

 

We Alpha, the third initiative, encourages female students to take up entrepreneurship. WE Hub, along with five technical educational institutions across Telangana, will support 50 students through entrepreneurial development programs, mentoring and exposure visits.

 

In addition to launching these promising new collaborations in India, WE Hub is also hoping to reach aspiring women entrepreneurs across the world using technology. WE Hub recently premiered LauncHER—an educational video series for aspiring women entrepreneurs across the world. The 20-part entrepreneurship awareness series will not only offer insights into starting a business but also enable women to share their personal professional journeys. 

 

While WE Hub is relatively new, Ravula believes the organization is moving in the right direction and already making an enormous impact. “We are going to equip women entrepreneurs with the knowledge and ecosystem we have developed in the past three years working with over 3,400 women entrepreneurs, 12 start-up programs, incubating 148 start-ups and creating over 300 jobs,” she says. Gaining access to the right information is a critical tool for furthering entrepreneurship development among women, and WE Hub hopes to create more equitable platforms for women all over the world to wield this knowledge. 

 

Jason Chiang is a freelance writer based in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.