Google has partnered with Sheroes to scale its accelerator program for women entrepreneurs to 500 rural women in India.
The tech giant had launched a pilot for an accelerator program last year for 10 women entrepreneurs in rural India across its Internet Saathi network.
The programme was centreed around helping women entrepreneurs solve basic business issues such as customer acquisition, selling and marketing, digital presence, management and self confidence.
“What we learnt from that programme is that women are eager to learn and adapt fast if given an opportunity and they need equity to grow,” Sapna Chadha, Senior Director of Marketing, India and South-East Asia, Google, wrote in a blog post.
“Within three months, we saw a rise in confidence among the participants and the women went back and applied the learning to their businesses. 80 per cent of them started working on their digital presence and one of the participants had a working website within months,” Chadha added.
It has now partnered with Sheroes to further scale this program to 500 rural women entrepreneurs.
“We have now joined hands with Sheroes to scale this to 500 rural women entrepreneurs by connecting them with experts, urban women entrepreneurs in the same or adjacent industries and enabling access to the right resources, guidance and mentorship over a six-month period,” Chadha wrote.
“Women-led micro-businesses are triggering economic independence and jobs, and we are extremely excited to partner with Google Internet Saathi programme to launch the Internet Saathi Accelerator. Hosted completely online, the program leverages the power of the internet to support ambitious rural women micropreneurs. We look forward to scaling support for women entrepreneurs across the country,” Sairee Chahal, Founder and CEO, Sheroes, said.
The Internet Saathi programme was launched in 2015 in collaboration with Tata Trusts to bring “basic digital literacy skills” to women in Indian villages and have them become informal teachers for other women in their communities.