This International Women’s Day, global tech giant Google India has launched a ‘Women Will’ web platform to guide female entrepreneurs to start earning effectively and grow their businesses. The platform will be complemented by community support, mentorship and accelerator programmes for rural women in India as part of the Google Internet Saathi programme.
Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced $25 Mn in grants to non-profit and social enterprises in India as well as across the globe to support the economic empowerment of women in the country. Pichai has committed to help a million Indian women in rural villages to become entrepreneurs through business tools, tutorials and mentorship.
“Women are almost twice as likely to lose their jobs during the pandemic and an estimated 20 Mn girls are at risk of not returning to school. We have the opportunity to build a future that is more equal and more inclusive – and we must take it,” Pichai added in the ‘Google for India’ event.
The global tech giant also announced a $500K grant to the NASSCOM Foundation to support 100K women agriculture workers with digital and financial literacy. Google through its Internet Saathi Initiative has also partnered with Tata Trusts to empower women in rural India with digital literacy skills. The partnership was first announced in 2019.
LetsVenture’s Women Angel Network Aims To Bridge VC Gender Disparity
While Google is looking to bring more female entrepreneurs into India’s tech ecosystem, deal syndication platform LetsVenture is focusing on women investors. The Bengaluru-based platform has announced a dedicated Women Angel Network to onboard more than 100 active investors on its platform by the end of 2021. These investors would have the option to invest anywhere between $6.8K INR 5 Lakh to $34K (INR 25 Lakh).
The company will also be launching a learning programme for women professionals, CXOs and founders to explore angel investing opportunities. The learning programme will provide cohort-based Learning, engagement with other angel investors and open networking circles for women.
The lack of women investors on the cap table also leads to disparity when it comes to understanding women-centric business models and backing startups run by women entrepreneurs. The total VC investments in women-led startups were merely 17% ($38.9 Bn) of the total VC investments of $188 Bn in the ecosystem globally in 2018. According to a study on the gender gap in the VC world, the startups founded by all-male teams were four times more likely to get funding when compared to the companies with even one female founder.
ACT Turns Focus To Promote Gender Equality At The Workplace
Launched by a group of prominent Indian startup founders and investors in early March 2020 to help businesses and individuals tackle pandemic-induced challenges, the Action Covid-19 Team (ACT) is now looking to promote gender equality practices at the workplace. Several startups and investment firms have joined the ACT For Women initiative, including Accel India, Acko, BharatPe, BYJU’S, Cars24, Freshworks, Urban Company, RazorPay, Swiggy, WhiteHat Jr and more.
The initiative will enable these companies to contribute as a mentor for the startup women’s network, participate in the startup corporate workplace report 2021, build opportunities for college hired by providing internships and mentorship and also adopt a return to work programme for women on a career break. The programme will also enable the companies to identify and fund ideas that are solving these systemic challenges, making it easier for women to work.
Earlier this month, ACT announced its plans to raise a $68 Mn (INR 500 Cr) philanthropic fund over the next two years to back solutions that generate social impact across education, healthcare, the environment and women’s participation in the workforce.
Kinara Capital Raises Funds For Women-Run SMBs
Bengaluru-based digital lending company Kinara Capital has raised $7 Mn (INR 52 Cr) for its HerVikas discounted loan programme from Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) for the advancement of female entrepreneurs in India. The funding will be used to disburse loans to more than 2,500 women-owned small businesses, helping them generate an incremental income of $43 Mn (INR 320 Cr).
Nita Ambani Launches Social Network For Women
Indian philanthropist and founder of Reliance Foundation, Nita Ambani, has launched a social media and networking platform for women called Her Circle. The platform will also connect women to experts across health, wellness, education, entrepreneurship, finance, philanthropy, mentorship and leadership. The platform wil be launched in English and will subsequently be expanded in other languages.