In a groundbreaking collaboration, BITS Pilani's technology incubator, PIEDS, in partnership with the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) from NITI Aayog and supported by Aditya Birla Capital Foundation, has introduced the 'Womenpreneurs for Bharat 1.0' start-up programme. This initiative aims to provide funding and incubation support to women entrepreneurs developing solutions in tier 2/3/4 cities across the Northeast region, Rajasthan, Haryana, and J&K, addressing both for-profit and non-profit ventures focusing on UN-SDG areas.
The partnership was unveiled at the state workshop on 'Enabling Women-Led Development through Entrepreneurship' at Dorjee Khandu State Convention Center, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, on November 24, 2023. Mrs Rajashree Birla mentors the Aditya Birla Capital Foundation, emphasising their commitment to creating an inclusive and long-term social and economic growth for the country.
Commenting on the announcement, Mrs Vishakha Mulye, Director, Aditya Birla Capital Foundation, and CEO of Aditya Birla Capital Limited, expressed, “We are committed to creating an equitable, inclusive, and long-term social and economic growth for the country. Through ‘Womenpreneurs for Bharat 1.0’, we aim to provide a platform to nurture the growth of women entrepreneurs in the country, who have the potential of impacting a large number of underserved Indians through innovative solutions.”
Prof V Ramgopal Rao, Vice Chancellor, BITS Pilani, said, “India’s diversity across its length and breadth requires localized solutions from local entrepreneurs. I strongly believe that women innovators, especially from Northeastern states will lead the next wave of innovations in solving their region’s own unique problems. We are happy to partner with Women Entrepreneurship Platform and Aditya Birla Capital Foundation to help bring some of these innovations to the fore and help them scale.”
Speaking about the development, Ms Anna Roy, Mission Director, WEP, said, “The project embodies a strategic approach to bolster women’s entrepreneurship in the tech4good sector which has significant market and impact potential, aligning with national goals of gender equality, women-led development, and digital inclusion. Women entrepreneurs leading innovations in critical development areas with a tech-led approach can have significant gains overall for business and society.”
The 'Womenpreneurs for Bharat 1.0' programme offers funding of up to ₹10 lakhs, combined with extended incubation support from PIEDS, including 1-1 mentoring, market access support, and opportunities for future investments. Innovators interested in applying can do so here.
Highlighting the potential impact, a research report from NITI Aayog reveals that by accelerating women's entrepreneurship, India could create over 30 million women-owned enterprises, potentially generating 150 to 170 million jobs, thereby contributing significantly to the nation's economic landscape.
PIEDS or Pilani Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Society (“PIEDS”) is a Technology Business Incubator of Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, that workwith idea and early-stage start-ups in technology-focused areas across India. The initiative was established with a grant from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.
About Aditya Birla Capital Foundation
Aditya Birla Capital Foundation (“ABCF”) is the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of Aditya Birla Capital for undertaking its developmental projects. Mrs. Rajashree Birla, Chairperson, ‘The Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development’, is ABCF’s mentor; Mrs. Vishakha Mulye, CEO, Aditya Birla Capital Limited, Mr. Subhro Bhaduri, CHRO, Aditya Birla Capital Limited and Dr. Pragnya Ram, Group Executive President, Group Head - CSR, Legacy, Documentation & Archives serve as Directors. ABCF is committed to driving programs for inclusive growth and development of the underserved sections of society. Its engagement is primarily focused on women-centric programs in the areas of healthcare, education, women empowerment, sustainable livelihood, and sports, amongst others. Until now, ABCF has made a qualitative difference in enriching the lives of over 5.5 Lakh people and is reckoned as a Force for Good among beneficiaries.
The Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) incubated in NITI Aayog, and now running as a public-private partnership, is a one-stop hub relevant to women entrepreneurs, including SmartMatch feature for government schemes, incubators, accelerators and private sector initiatives, a community page, and mentorship module.
The State Support Mission, an umbrella initiative by NITI Aayog, is strategically designed to support states and union territories in achieving their socioeconomic goals by 2047. Under the aegis of the State Support Mission, a series of workshops are being conducted to provide a platform for Centre-State exchanges and forging partnerships. The primary goal is to augment awareness regarding the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) and unveil a range of pioneering initiatives that WEP has embarked upon.Under the State Support Mission, the Women Entrepreneurship Platform is now expanding its reach to the grassroots through a hub-and-spoke model.