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Her And How: IIMB With Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Helps Harness Ideas Into Viable Ventures The program is for current women entrepreneurs that have been in operation for at least one year with minimum annual revenue of INR 35 lakh and at least three employees

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

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The Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore's startup incubation centre NS Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) has been impacting entrepreneurs across the country for over two decades, through mentorship and incubation of a large number of businesses, including many owned by women, and enables them to scale up and grow. The Management Program for Women Entrepreneurs (MPWE) has trained over 1,000 women to move their business to a better growth trajectory.

Since 2019, NSRCEL has partnered with Goldman Sachs to offer the 10,000 Women program in India and has trained 5 cohorts, including cohorts in Mumbai and New Delhi, and has claimed to have lucratively impacted 260 women entrepreneurs leading ventures in more than 12 sectors from over 20 states.

"This is an exciting program that helps women entrepreneurs grow and achieve whatever they set their minds to. With COVID-19 interruption, the ability to scale sustainably is even more relevant and will be a key focus of this year's program. Our faculty and mentors have seamlessly transitioned to the virtual model and we are deeply committed not to leave any women entrepreneur behind in this pandemic," stated Dr. Venkatesh Panchapagesan, chairperson, NSRCEL.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women is a global initiative that promotes economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs all around the world with business and management education, mentoring and networking, and access to capital. The program has maintained to have reached thousands of women from over 100 countries to date. Since 2008, the platform has trained over 1,600 women entrepreneurs in India. Globally among the women entrepreneurs who participated in the program, about 60 per cent have created new jobs, 70 per cent have reported higher revenues.

This year, the program is entirely online and consists of 25 online sessions conducted over three months where entrepreneurs can enhance their business knowledge in areas including accounting and finance, operations and IT, marketing and strategy, leadership and soft skills, and networking. The entrepreneurs can also engage in growth groups to build valuable networks with entrepreneurs from all over India, sharing challenges and experiences through peer learning.

Mindful investments

The curriculum for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program this year is modified to address the current challenges faced by entrepreneurs due to pandemic, including taking the business online, redesigning the growth strategy for the business, digital marketing, decision making using real options approach, understanding the post-pandemic macroeconomic environment, etc.

The content for the sessions will focus on the measures that can be adopted by entrepreneurs to solve challenges (for example building platform business). The faculty members will incorporate scenario-based teaching methods to address current situations. They will utilize the use of case studies to address COVID-related business challenges.

"Made in India' for a better 2021

The New York-based banking company maintains that the program was founded on the understanding that investing in women entrepreneurs leads to economic growth and stronger communities. The program's commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs in India has only fortified during the pandemic and gears up to execute the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

The establishment further maintains that the program has built a strong network to enable women entrepreneurs to navigate, build partnerships, and become self-sufficient by overcoming their business challenges. The ventures supported by the program are from across India and will most likely create nationwide job opportunities by employing people locally.

"Our commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs in India has only strengthened during the pandemic. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women will continue to build a remarkable network to enable women, entrepreneurs to navigate, build partnerships, and create an impact of scale in their communities," explained Charlotte Keenan, head of the office of corporate engagement international and global head, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women.

Balance is the key

In a cultural context like India, business owners, especially women business owners, need to balance multiple competing priorities, both in business and personal life, as their venture grows.

According to a statement released by the establishment and based on their learnings from conducting the program that globally and in India since 2008, its curriculum that is designed and refined to cover topics like time management, effective delegation, improving productivity, and managing stress have championed them into becoming more resilient.

The academic component of the program adopts a three-pronged approach, starting from the macro perspective of the environment, moving on to focusing on the organization, before zooming in on the individual self of the entrepreneur. Participants can build their business growth plans as they go through the various modules, to enable them to apply the learnings immediately and directly in their organization.

Analysis of the market trends, taking the business online to meet requirements of the current situation, a listing of hypotheses, defining milestones, and identifying resource requirements for the growth of their ventures are all aspects of the business growth plan.

By the end of the program, participants will be able to spot and nurture new opportunities in business, build and grow successful ventures and transform themselves through self-reflection. The participants will identify problems within their ventures and challenges faced due to pandemic, said the establishment.

Securing the deal

Detailed surveys will be conducted when participants start the program, at 6 months, 18 months, and then 30 months after the program completion, to measure the business growth performance of the women entrepreneurs, in terms of revenue growth, employment generation, business growth plan execution, new initiatives launched, and so on.

The participants of the program will receive continued support after completion through webinars, master classes, guest lectures, and workshops, in addition to a strong platform of networked entrepreneurs.

The intake of startups is increasing, and partnerships have been formed with corporates such as ICICI Securities, HDFC Bank, Maruti Suzuki, Goldman Sachs, and Capgemini.

Through NSRCEL, government bodies like the Department of Science & Technology, NITI Aayog, and the ministry of electronics and information technology continue to support more startups. This happens via different schemes and programmes, and expediting support for COVID-19 solutions.

Prabhjeet Bhatla

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