Women in India are largely under-represented in business due to various socio-cultural barriers, lack of a suitable network and requisite skills and confidence. The ‘Women in Energy Entrepreneurship’ program is a set of initiatives which build the capacity of women entrepreneurs in India to develop their energy access ideas. These are designed to bring equality to the skills and networks clean energy entrepreneurs need to succeed, and to ensure that women entrepreneurs have the confidence and adequate knowledge to benefit from startup support programs available in the ecosystem.
Ranjana was one such woman in Kerala who was passionate about creating impact through business but didn’t know how to bring her business idea to market. After participating in the ‘Climate Ready for Women’ program, she figured out her market strategy, set up partnerships, and is now building her online marketplace. She has used the COVID crises to learn how to scale a business, and she is now entering a follow-on global accelerator.
The science indicates clearly that we must rapidly transition away from fossil fuels economy to a clean renewable future, and India’s participation is key to this global transition. This program will enable the New Energy Nexus India team to scale the number of women reached across the Indian continent.
The program was successfully piloted in Kerala, India between Dec-Jun 2020, and supported by the government of Kerala's Startup Mission. Called the ‘Climate ready for Women’ program, it had 16 women founders, six of whom joined a follow-up accelerator.
From January 2021, New Energy Nexus will launch the next stage of the energy transition through the ‘Women in Energy Entrepreneurship’ program. This includes two early-stage educational programs, an incubator, and a pre-accelerator geared towards women entrepreneurs in clean energy and energy access in India. To strengthen the support following their ‘Climate Ready for women’ program, which serves as an early-stage accelerator program for women in product development, grants are sought to support the six most promising women-led startups to aid their first pilots in the market. This promised support will ensure that higher quality applications will be received. Over two years, $200,000 will support 12 women-led startups with a grant size of $15,000 for each. The balance of $20,000 will cover the administrative costs.
Women-led startups are more likely to employ other women, so the program will have a “ripple effect” by leading to better gender balance in the clean energy transition. Women share their skills with other women, and their presence as role models within an enabling network has the catalytic effect of inspiring more women to take on leadership roles in making the world a better place.