Around 75 women entrepreneurs have graduated from the third edition of the Women Entrepreneurship Development Program (WEDP) conducted by Walmart India. The announcement of the completion of the programme was announced in January 2019.
The WEDP 3.0 was launched in October 2018 in a bid to enhance the skills and capacities of women entrepreneurs. This edition saw participation from women entrepreneurs working across both product and service sectors.
According to the company, about 40 women-owned businesses (WOBs) received training in classrooms while the remaining 35 WOBs participated through virtual sessions.
In a bid to encourage the women entrepreneurs of the country, Walmart introduced the Women Entrepreneurship Development Program in 2016 to offer training curriculum to the women entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses.
According to the company, over the three editions, the programme has helped nearly 150 women entrepreneurs directly. The first edition of the programme saw participation from 32 women-owned businesses who came from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Later, in 2017, about 61 women-owned businesses had graduated from the second edition of the programme.
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“Walmart is deeply committed to women’s economic empowerment and this year, we harnessed the power of technology to reach even more women entrepreneurs,” said Krish Iyer, Walmart India president and CEO.
WEDP 3.0: Encouraging Women Entrepreneurs
The WEDP 3.0 cohort represented both product categories — such as edible cutlery, eco-friendly stationery and gift items, apparel, herbal cosmetics, spices, processed food, tea, and nutrition bars — as well as services such as AI consultancy, energy efficient solutions, travel management solutions, and research and insights.
Supported by Walmart, WEConnect International led the overall coordination and conceptualisation of the programme, selection, and assessment of participants while the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) customised the training curriculum and imparted the training.
As part of this initiative, the participant women entrepreneurs underwent a planned capacity building training for three months. The mentoring sessions were tailored to suit the requirements of their businesses.
The programme included training of participants across various modules including marketing, finance, business strategy, operations, legal and compliance, and social networking.
It also included a visit to the Best Price Modern Wholesale Stores owned and operated by Walmart India aimed at providing the WOBs added insights into the format and store operations.
Women Entrepreneurship: Other Initiatives Taken
In September 2011, Walmart launched the Global Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) initiative, a five-year programme, to use its unique size and scale to improve the lives of underserved women around the world.
As part of the initiative, Walmart committed to sourcing $20 Bn from women for its US business and double sourcing from WOBs internationally. While the commitment has concluded, it continues to source from the WOBs.
Apart from Walmart, many other platforms are working to encourage women entrepreneurs in the country. This month, Mumbai-based POWERED Accelerator also announced nine women participating in the second cohort of its accelerator programme which is aimed at helping them develop their businesses.