Pilani Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Society (“PIEDS”), BITS Pilani’s technology business incubator, has announced the launch of its start-up program, ‘Womenpreneur for Bharat 1.0,’ in collaboration with the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP), incubated within NITI Aayog, and supported by Aditya Birla Capital Foundation, the CSR arm of Aditya Birla Capital Limited. Aditya Birla Capital Foundation is the governing organization that determines the strategic direction of all Aditya Birla Capital development initiatives. 

Mrs. Rajashree Birla serves as the foundation’s mentor, and its directors include Mrs. Vishakha Mulye, Dr. Pragnya Ram, and Mr. Subhro Bhaduri. The collaboration was announced on November 24, 2023, during the state workshop on ‘Enabling Women-Led Development via Entrepreneurship’ at the Dorjee Khandu State Convention Center in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh. 

The workshop, co-hosted by the Government of Arunachal Pradesh and the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP), brought together the innovation, entrepreneurship, and inclusive development ecosystems from business, government, and civil society to discuss pathways for furthering women-led development through entrepreneurship.

Womenpreneurs for Bharat 1.0′ aims to provide financing and incubator assistance to female entrepreneurs developing solutions for/from Tier 2/3/4 cities in the Northeast, Rajasthan, Haryana, and J&K. The initiative will seek both for-profit and non-profit women-led start-ups that operate across UN-SDG sectors and address commercial or social concerns in those areas.

Commenting on the announcement, Mrs. Vishakha Mulye, Director, of 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, of 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 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 program will give qualifying start-ups financing of up to Rs. 10 lakhs, as well as extended incubation support from PIEDS, such as one-on-one mentorship, market access assistance, and possibilities to seek additional investments.

According to a Niti Aayog study report, India has 63 million micro, small, and medium companies (MSMEs), with around 20% owned by women and employing 22 to 27 million people. According to estimates, boosting women’s entrepreneurship might result in more than 30 million women-owned businesses, possibly producing 150 to 170 million employment.