If you find yourself in the middle of a discussion revolving around ‘startups’ and the general business scenario, it is very likely that you will hear the term incubators. Incubators are institutions that help businesses in their initial stages. These early-stage mentors can provide technical facilities and advice, initial growth funds, network and linkages, co-working spaces, lab facilities, mentoring and advisory support. Incubators aim at helping businesses navigate challenges that crop up particularly in the incubation period or the initial years of a venture.
Currently, in the Indian system, women have to overcome many social, cultural and financial barriers, not just in the process of job seeking, but also in the process of job creation, as entrepreneurs. Considering the current Indian entrepreneurship ecosystem, we need more incubators tailor-made to address the needs of women-led ventures in the formative years of the venture.
We have compiled a list for you about incubators functioning in India, exclusively for women entrepreneurs.
With the launch of Women Entrepreneurship Hub (WE-HUB) in 2018, India got its first state-led incubator exclusively for women entrepreneurs in Telangana. K.T. Rama Rao, the Minister of Information Technologies and Industries for Telangana back then, was present at WE-HUB’s launching event. He 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’. WE Hub provides access to capital, mentorship and fosters an enabling environment for female entrepreneurs.
With W-INcubate, Bengaluru got its first incubation centre for women entrepreneurs and women-led startups. The centre offers help ranging from networking, mentorship to the ideation of a startup. Through this platform, WSquare aims at helping growth-stage and early-stage startups by offering guidance on branding, marketing, mentorship, networking, hands-on help and workshops with industry leaders, office space for up to a year and access to seed funding as well as other investment avenues.
Women Biotechnology Incubator
To encourage women to take the tech entrepreneurship route, the Women Biotech incubator was started. This incubation facility, supported by BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Assistance Council) targets to help 500 female entrepreneurs by 2020, in the biotechnology sector. Being developed in an area of 5000 square feet, it has advanced facilities and equipment to help budding women entrepreneurs.
Womennovator was started in 2014 as a virtual incubator to help women entrepreneurs manifest their entrepreneurial ideas. Their uniqueness lies in the fact that they are not just a virtual incubation facility, but they also aim at building a supportive community of women.
In India, incubation centres extending support exclusively to women are few and far between. Incubation facilities, in isolation, may not solve all the issues that women face in their entrepreneurial journeys, but they form an important support component needed in the startup ecosystem.
If you are a woman entrepreneur looking to start your own business, do check out our Business Start-up Guide that covers everything you need to know about starting your own business.