Entrepreneurs Getting a Holistic Management Training through 10,000 Women Programme
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In a vast country like India, the opportunities for women to start and run ventures are immense. However, the support structure that exists for men is missing for women. A World Bank report states that women entrepreneurs hire more female employees and tend to resolve problems related to female employment more. Hence, it is beneficial to nurture women entrepreneurship in societies like that of India. Various government programmes have started lending funds and benefits to women-led enterprises but these programmes appear solipsistic. Further, there are very few quality training programmes to enhance managerial qualities of women who intend to scale-up their businesses.
IIM Bangalore, in association with Goldman Sachs, seeks to provide a holistic management training programme to women entrepreneurs who wish to grow and expand their venture. This will be achieved through academic sessions on crucial business-related concepts like strategy, finance and accounting, operations and supply chain etc. In addition to this, it also includes one-on-one mentoring sessions with industry experts; business growth plan preparation; and peer learning. Professor Suresh Bhagavatula, Chair, Entrepreneurship area at IIM Bangalore says, “Overall, the aim is to create an ecosystem that provides necessary guidance to women entrepreneurs from varied sectors to address the main challenges of their business, to provide them insights as an entrepreneur through our network, and to prepare a growth plan for their learning and scaling up.”
The programme is designed to provide training to women entrepreneurs that are eager to scale-up and expand. We select the ventures that can relate to and take away the best from the learnings. The eligibility criteria for short-listing were as follows:
- The candidate should be in a leadership role for the venture (i.e. CEO, COO, President)
- The venture should have at least three employees.
- Applicants should be an owner or a co-owner in the venture.
- The venture needs to be more than a year old and should have generated annual revenue between INR 35 lakh and INR 30 crore.
- The applicant (and the business) should demonstrate a strong desire to grow their business, with openness to accessing external capital to grow.
- Applicants should not have previously participated in 10,000 Women.
The entrepreneurs are then interviewed and selected by a panel based on the extent of their awareness about the venture, the challenges faced by them, and their willingness to learn and grow. The programme remains connected to the participants even after completion by organising sessions on topics relevant to scaling up at the campus. It also conducts webinars for participants from outside the city. The monitoring and evaluation aspect of the programme leads to interaction with participants frequently. In addition to this, by recording and monitoring their growth periodically, we get to understand the impact of the programme. Most importantly, this also helps us to figure out the kind of sessions and handholding that can help them going forward.
Contrary to the popular belief, 20 per cent 1000 MSMEs in India are owned by women. Why do women then still don’t own major start-ups in India? Professor Suresh Bhagavatula adds, “It maybe because of the fact that the start-up support space lags in terms of mentoring and funding. Also, opportunities are still not available equally to both genders. Now, imagine if every women entrepreneur gets support in this aspect, the impact on the economy in terms of wealth, job and economic growth will be noteworthy. Also, entrepreneurship is usually about problem-solving, and there are hundreds of problems that women entrepreneurs face which are not addressed by current economic schemes.”
Therefore, women entrepreneurship lags in terms of profitability. This programme solves most of the problems that women might have faced in their entrepreneurial journey. It also increases the sense of giving back to society among them and thereby increases the number of women starting ventures. Each women entrepreneur’s growth after the 10,000 Women Programme has had a profound impact on her business, family and community. From the statistics gathered through this programme conducted in other countries, we can say that 60 per cent of the graduates have created new jobs, 70 per cent of them have reported higher revenues, and 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs have taken the legacy forward by mentoring other women. This can work reasonably well in developing economies like ours.