Sequoia India partners Niti Aayog to boost women entrepreneurship

Sequoia India on Thursday said it has partnered with government think-tank Niti Aayog on a year-long partnership to promote women entrepreneurship in India.

As part of the partnership, Sequoia Spark, Sequoia India’s programme for women entrepreneurs in India and Southeast Asia will collaborate with Niti Aayog’s Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP).

Through this partnership, Sequoia India will mentor a select cohort of aspiring women founders to help equip them with domain knowledge and skills for setting up and scaling their businesses.

The first cohort will have 25 women entrepreneurs.

“WEP and Sequoia India’s Spark programme are collaborating to level the playing field, helping women founders on their enterprise building journeys by launching a new capacity-building programme to impart sound financial knowledge and develop fundraising skills,” Anna Roy, Senior Advisor, Niti Aayog, said in a statement.

“The programme is designed to look at challenges from their lens and aims to materially help them accelerate the growth of their business.”

In a survey conducted by Sequoia India earlier this year with women founders in India and Southeast Asia, 66 per cent of the founders surveyed said they wanted access to mentorship sessions with investors and business leaders.

With this in mind, Sequoia India will offer monthly office hours, curated around specific sectors and problem statements, to the 25 women entrepreneurs who will be part of the first cohort.

The team will also host webinars, open to the larger WEP community, around key aspects of company-building such as fundraising, building a go-to-market motion, finding product-market-fit, attracting key talent in the early stages and leveraging the power of storytelling to create strong brands.

These sessions will be tailored to address needs and challenges that are unique to female founders.

“While India’s startup ecosystem is a large and vibrant one, it is far from being a diverse one. There are huge gaps and lack of opportunities faced by women entrepreneurs — especially when it comes to accessibility to network, mentorship, and fundraising,” Shweta Rajpal Kohli, Head — Public Policy, Sequoia Capital India LLP.

“We share a common vision and goal with NITI Aayog’s WEP — to close this gap and work towards more diversity in the startup ecosystem.”