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WICCI Banking & Credit Council in association with HSBC India & Startup India launches AWE Program

The program seeks to assist women entrepreneurs in gaining financial literacy in corporate finance, in raising capital and providing them with access to business leaders fulfilling mentorship and networking objectives. The maiden program has selected 30 women founders selected from over 550 applications received

Women's Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (WICCI) Banking and Credit Council has announced the launch of a first of a kind financial/capital first program - AWE (Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs) in association with HSBC India and Startup India. The  AWE program is focused on providing women entrepreneurs, education on business, growth, networking and raising capital in order to help foster an equitable landscape for women-owned businesses. The program seeks to assist women entrepreneurs in gaining financial literacy in corporate finance, in raising capital, and providing them with access to business leaders fulfilling mentorship and networking objectives. The maiden program has selected 30 women founders selected from over 550 applications received.

With only seven of 100 entrepreneurs in India being women, India ranks among the lowest nations - 52nd among the 58 countries studied globally1, for providing a congenial environment for women entrepreneurs. A different study2 of women entrepreneurs further highlights that only 14 percent of the women-owned enterprises availed of bank loans to meet growth financing requirements. This is significantly lower than male owned enterprises where 66.7 percent availed credit for business expansion and growth. WICCI BCC via it’s AWE Program aims to improve and increase female participation in the Indian startup ecosystem by enabling access to funds, markets and mentors.

Designed to fast-track women-led startups the AWE Program will cover three key aspects - raising capital, entrepreneurship and mentorship. Raising capital will include aspects of understanding capital requirements and VC mindsets, identifying the various sources of capital. The sessions on Entrepreneurship will help entrepreneurs improve the efficacy of their business model and gain a better understanding of the markets and innovation. Mentorship will cover the fundamentals of networking while also creating an ecosystem of mentors who can be accessed.

The 4 months program that starts now boasts of speakers and mentors such as  Ajaita Shah, Founder & CEO, Frontier Markets, Shristhi Sahu, Co-founder & Director, Hustle Hard Ventures, Sushma Kaushik, Partner, Aavishkaar Capital, Amit Aggarwal Vice President, Elevation Capital, Deep Kalra, Founder of Make My Trip, amongst others who will share their first hand experiences, along with value creating strategies with these women founders.

“Women in India owned a little over 20 percent4 of all micro, small and medium businesses across India compared to nearly 80 percent among men in FY 2020-21 according to a recent report.  They also had the highest share of micro businesses within business sizes, with more enterprises in rural areas than urban parts of the country. Given this abysmally low number, it is no surprise that many of their achievements go unacknowledged and challenges unaddressed. Through our AWE program, we aspire to make women an active part of our entrepreneurial ecosystem by enabling access to funds, markets and mentors.” said Anjali Singh, President WICCI Banking Council

“We need to encourage more women to join the startup ecosystem for inclusive growth. While women founders have very compelling ideas, funding at the right time is imperative to meet the growth aspirations of these ventures. There is a gap as well as an opportunity here, which needs to be addressed to have these ventures meet their potential.”, said Swayta Murarka Head, Global Banking GSCs, HSBC; Funding Vertical Lead for WICCI Banking council

The AWE program was opened in June with a call for nominations from women entrepreneurs whose product was market ready and had seen early traction and paying customers. The sector agnostic program then evaluated startups that were looking to scale their business.  While 31 founders have been enrolled for the first AWE program, WICCI BCC is in touch with the other women founders who applied, to extend any help that they may require.


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startup women entrepreneur hsbc WICCI banking credit

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