Women-specific accelerators programmes are also taking the startup ecosystem by storm that intends to reduce gender gaps and help women gain financial inclusion.
The culture of startups has received greater attention in many parts of the world. They are increasingly growing at a dramatic rate and are known for creating a huge number of jobs across industries. Similarly, innovation in the technology and business sectors has vividly evolved the Indian startup scenario. According to a recent report – the Indian startup ecosystem is home to more than 38k active startups including funded and bootstrapped startups. It has come a long way from 2014 to the present with a hiccup of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though it takes great determination and courage to start a venture, women are no more behind the race of entrepreneurship. As per the recent data, India has over 50,000 startups recognized by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) with at least 45 percent of them having women entrepreneurs. With the growing number of women starting their own businesses, there is no dearth of examples of women led successful startups.
Even though the rising number of women entrepreneurship is impressive, fundraising for female founders is still challenging. Several reasons including gender bias in the pitching process and underrepresentation of women in investment teams restricts the growth of women entrepreneurs. To address the profound challenges that women face in the startup ecosystem, many accelerators are betting better on women-led startups.
Increasing networking opportunities
Historically, women are likely to have smaller business networks than their male counterparts. This puts them at a big disadvantage in the startup ecosystem. However, having a large and diverse network is known to grow businesses multifold. Considering the ongoing scenario, accelerator programs play a crucial role in creating a more inclusive environment for women entrepreneurs. They allow women entrepreneurs to be part of the community having like-minded entrepreneurs to stimulate their growth. In addition to this, accelerators adopt strategic networking opportunities that help stimulate creativity and innovative thinking in them for better business acceleration. Furthermore, new-age accelerators ditch the traditional way of one-on-one networking by including women facilitators, speakers and investors to build a knowledge-based for potential women leaders.
Strategic mentorship models
Women entering the startup ecosystem anticipate achieving professional goals. Being a male-dominated country, mentorship is an underutilized tool for women entrepreneurs. There is no doubt to the fact that women who receive the right mentorship find benefits in developing highly scalable businesses. To help women entrepreneurs be transformational business leaders, accelerators offer structural business planning programs with professional and personal development opportunities. This helps women entrepreneurs gain more visibility on the professional front and emotional support from mentors. Moreover, learning from mentors who have overcome similar obstacles in their startup journey contributes immensely to the success of women-led startups.
Adoption of supportive mindset
Women entrepreneurship is not new. However, it is not as celebrated as they put in their efforts in making their business a huge success. To instill business excellence in women, accelerators are playing a pivotal role in adapting cultural mindsets to support women. Historically, women were supposed to choose feminine jobs and meet the societal expectations of letting men lead the business world. With women entering the startup ecosystem more confidently, accelerators defying challenges that women face due to societal expectations. Besides this, accelerators adopting a supportive mindset also helps women come forward and join industries that were largely dominated by men such as technology, automobile, logistics and many others.
Rethinking investment decisions
The pattern of making investment decisions has mainly been in the favour of male entrepreneurs. Though the entities founded by men and women reflect similarly in the documents, the investor biases impact startups founded by women. To tackle such challenges, accelerators play a significant role in neutralizing investor’s behaviour by adopting strategies that help in making rational investment decisions. Further, women-specific accelerators programmes are also taking the startup ecosystem by storm that intends to reduce gender gaps and help women gain financial inclusion.
Women-led startups when supported by accelerators are equally likely to be successful as the startups founded by men. There are endless possibilities that accelerators can create for the success of women entrepreneurs. Starting from mentorship to ensuring financial inclusion, the effort of accelerators can have an unprecedented impact on women-led startups.
Source: Business World