India is the world’s third-largest startup capital, trailing only the US and China. It boasts over a 100 unicorns with 22 getting added to the list just in 2022, spanning verticals such as e-commerce, healthtech, fintech and many others.
However, only 15% of these Indian unicorns have one or more women founders. As Indian startups look to reinvent more sectors of the economy through technology, equal representation of women at the helm of this wave is critical to ensure that the promised changes are universally relevant and helpful.
Recent history is filled with examples where the male experience has been used as a stand-in for the universal – automobiles, PPE kits, smartphones – with sobering implications on health, safety and overall helpfulness for women users.
These errors of omission have a compounding effect – environments that aren’t designed for women, in turn, attract fewer women, creating knock-on effects on women’s participation in economies as a whole.
It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken with intention, awareness and timely interventions. In the course of conversations we had with several women founders, we realized that several aspects of the life of an entrepreneur – such as pitching, tapping networks, seeking out mentors – are significantly tougher for women as compared to their male counterparts, for reasons of cultural conditioning as well as lack of role models.
With this in mind, today, we are pleased to announce the Google for Startups Accelerator – India Women Founders, aimed to help women founders address challenges that are unique to their experience, including fundraising, hiring and many others.
The inaugural batch of Google for Startups Accelerator – India Women Founders program will accept up to 20 women-founded / co-founded startups in India, including startups at the MVP stage, and support them through a 3-month program.
The program will place special focus on areas like access to networks, access to capital, hiring challenges, mentorship and many others which, for a variety of social reasons and low representation, prove challenging for female founders. In addition to these, the curriculum will include workshops and support around AI/ML, Cloud, UX, Android, Web, Product Strategy and Growth, as well as provide access to a global community of women founders.