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Zone Startups India Launches 2nd Edition of empoWer - India’s First Tech Accelerator for Women

empoWer 2.0 will be launched in Mumbai, with a grand conference, and followed by roadshows across Bangalore, NCR, Hyderabad, Pune and Ahmedabad to evangelize the initiative and for attracting applications.

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Zone Startups India, a leading international technology startup accelerator in Mumbai, announces the launch of 2nd edition of empoWer - India’s First Tech Accelerator for women entrepreneurs building technology-enabled ventures.

The 'empoWer' initiative is backed by Department of Science & Technology (Government of India), Microsoft, Capital First, PayU, ICICI Bank, Social Alpha (a Tata Trusts initiative), Cherie Blair Foundation, Amazon, and FlexiLoans.

The empoWer accelerator program has been designed on the basis of an extensive research conducted by Zone Startups, to identify need-gaps witnessed by women entrepreneurs. Some of the core areas that the program seeks to address include – Peer Group of like-minded women entrepreneurs, Lack of information on Markets, Addressing procedural delays and complexities, Seeking Financial Independence, Taking risks, Managing Business Operations (Technology & Finance), Absence of role models, Access to Finance, Access to markets (sectors & customers) and establishing a solid network.

The 1st edition of empoWer launched in April 2016 was hugely successful. The program received 191 applications, from across India, of which 15 women entrepreneurs were selected for a 6-week accelerator program followed by a demo day.

empoWer 2.0 will be launched in Mumbai, with a grand conference, and followed by roadshows across Bangalore, NCR, Hyderabad, Pune and Ahmedabad to evangelize the initiative and for attracting applications. 15 Women Entrepreneurs (or co-founders) will be shortlisted for the 6-week bespoke program. The program participants will get access to mentoring, workshops, case studies of successful women led startups, industry connects, peer network, investor connect and business development opportunities.

The success of empoWer is validated by the success of its cohort members that have gone onto raise in excess of Rs 150 funding and win laurels.

Key Success Stories:

  • Vanity Cube raised INR 100 Crores from VLCC
  • ThinkerBell Labs raised INR 1.3 Crores from IAN, including personal investment from Mr. Anand Mahindra
  • DAZL got accepted into Silicon Valley based HAX hardware accelerator
  • Advenio raised $100K from Kalaari Capital’s K-Start Program
  • Saral Designs has won several national and international impact startup competitions and funding from Government agencies
  • YourDost raised $ 1.2 Mn from SAIF Partners

Says, Ajay Ramasubramaniam – Director (India), Zone Startups, "We kick-started empoWer, with a belief that there was a lot of potentials to work with women entrepreneurs in tech and help build a strong ecosystem around the same. Our core belief has always been our ability to identify hi-tech, hi-potential start-ups very early-on, and back them all the way. empoWer has given a totally new dimension to this. The genuine benefit from the program that our first cohort has vouched for, coupled with success from the cohort, has helped us to expand the program beyond just an accelerator. We are really keen to see how this shapes up, and grow from there”.

After having started out as a 6-week accelerator program, this year onwards empoWer has morphed into a year-long initiative, wherein the accelerator is just one of the cornerstones of the program. In addition to the accelerator, empoWer now comprises of a community for women entrepreneurs, skilling, and entrepreneurship bootcamps and enabling access to funding. All of this will be structured into multiple formats, as an ongoing initiative through the year.

Additionally, there are several financial and non-financial opportunities that the participants will gain from the demo day, at the end of the program. Zone Startups India will continue to support these women entrepreneurs for up to a year post-program, thereby adding ongoing value.

Overall, the program is supported by strong partners and Zone Startups India firmly believes that they will be able to identify some solid women entrepreneurs build great, fundable businesses. The success of this program will see a regular roll out of similar high-impact, short term accelerator programs.

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Zone Startups India empoWer Tech Accelerator for Women

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