Sequoia Spark, Sequoia India’s programme for women entrepreneurs in India and Southeast Asia, and Niti Aayogs Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) are collaborating on a year-long partnership to promote women entrepreneurship in India.
Through this partnership, Sequoia India said in a statement on Thursday it will mentor a select cohort of aspiring women founders to help equip them with domain knowledge and skills for setting up and scaling their businesses.
“WEP and Sequoia Indias Spark program are collaborating to level the playing field, helping women founders on their enterprise building journeys by launching a new capacity- building program to impart sound financial knowledge and develop fundraising skills.
The programme is designed to look at challenges from their lens and aims to materially help them accelerate the growth of their business,” said Anne Roy, Senior Advisor, Niti Aayog.
In a survey conducted by Sequoia India earlier this year with women founders in India and Southeast Asia, 66 per cent of the founders surveyed said they wanted access to mentorship sessions with investors and business leaders, according to the statement.
“With this in mind, Sequoia India will offer monthly office hours, curated around specific sectors and problem statements, to the 25 women entrepreneurs who will be part of the first cohort”, it said.
The team will also host webinars, open to the larger WEP community, around key aspects of company-building such as fundraising, building a go-to-market motion, finding product-market-fit, attracting key talent in the early stages and leveraging the power of storytelling to create strong brands.
These sessions will be tailored to address the needs and challenges that are unique to female founders, it was stated.
Shweta Rajpal Kohli, Head – Public Policy, Sequoia Capital India LLP., said while India’s startup ecosystem is a large and vibrant one, it is far from being a diverse one.
There are huge gaps and lack of opportunities faced by women entrepreneurs – especially when it comes to accessibility to network, mentorship, and fundraising.
“With this partnership, the Sequoia India team aims to equip women entrepreneurs with deep functional expertise across some core areas of company-building, ensuring they get access to much-needed skills for scaling their ideas into enduring businesses, she said.