Published 5 years ago.
About a 2 minute read.
Ten women entrepreneurs have been selected as the first cohort entering the POWERED Accelerator program — a first-of-its-kind accelerator focusing on women-led businesses in the energy value chain, in an effort to address twin Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7). The innovators will receive financial and business support to develop their businesses and deliver solutions in access to energy across India.
The objective of the POWERED Accelerator is to support female-led ventures by helping them expand their innovative and consumer-responsive products and services; the ultimate goal being to empower women-owned and -managed businesses in the energy space. The accelerator is focused on core themes of access to energy, sustainable mobility, waste to value, energy efficiency, and smart energy solutions.
In April, DFID India, Shell Foundation (the independent global charity), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India; and Zone Startups India launched the POWERED Accelerator in Mumbai; since then, it has expanded to six cities across India.
“At the time of launching the POWERED Accelerator, we were not sure of the number of women-led startups in the extended energy sector. After six roadshows, and close to two months of extensive campaigning, we ended up getting more than 130 high-quality applications,” said Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Director of Zone Startups India. “Selecting only 10 from a shortlist of 30 businesses was a tough task. We see the entire application pool as a part of a larger funnel of startups that presents us with an opportunity to build other interventions in this ecosystem. We have some great partners onboard, and we look forward to making the first cohort a grand success.”
The startups were evaluated based on the applicant’s background, innovativeness, scale of impact, problem solution fit, clarity of thought, and program fit. The ten entrepreneurs selected for the first cohort will receive support for one year to scale their business including a six-week residential mentoring program and access to an equity-free seed fund of $10,000 each.
“We know that given the right opportunities, women can play a critical role across the energy value chain. As energy enterprises scale up in India, they provide rural and low-income women with new opportunities to generate income and achieve greater economic empowerment,” said Gavin McGillivray, Head of DFID India<. “Through the POWERED program we will work towards strengthening the ecosystem for more women-owned and managed businesses across the energy value chain. We are confident that these 10 women entrepreneurs will enable greater inclusion and sustainability towards a more energy secure and equitable future for all.”
The cohort comprises startups in areas ranging from access to energy, water conservation, application of energy in agriculture, easy finance, last-mile distribution, waste to fuel and more. As part of the broader aim of the program, the accelerator will also organize ecosystem development activities, grand challenges, a one-week residential boot camp, and an incubator for women in energy.
“We believe these inspiring women have the potential to deliver long-term energy and mobility solutions that address market gaps and break down some of the barriers that are preventing low-income consumers from accessing these critical services,” said Shell Foundation director Sam Parker. “The Accelerator program is one element of the POWERED initiative, which will deliver 5,000 jobs and support more than 100 women-owned micro-enterprises in rural and urban India.”
Zone Startups India is accepting applications for its next cohort on the POWERED Accelerator website.
Published Aug 7, 2018 6pm EDT / 3pm PDT / 11pm BST / 12am CEST