Hyderabad: Paving the way forward for women entrepreneurs and innovators, India’s youngest State has launched India’s first exclusive women-only incubator called WE-Hub. This will be first State-led hub of the country and looks to solve issues faced by women entrepreneurs in terms of mentoring, investors, platform and ecosystem as a whole.
Headed by Deepthi Ravula, WE-Hub wants to create new women innovators who lead the ecosystem.
Speaking at the official launch of the WE-Hub, Telangana IT Minister KT Rama Rao said, “Whenever we speak about entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators we mostly see a list of men and very few women feature in that. Same way when we look at policies for entrepreneurs we concentrate on SC, ST and other sections but not much on women. This is the narrative that we wanted to change and incorporate women in our policy. WE-Hub will provide the requisite platform for women to showcase their ideas and get requisite support from the ecosystem. This is not a tokenistic or symbolic move.”
The Minister pointed out that whatever might be the end result of the hub, it should become a platform that dictates policy for various State and Central government as well. The hub will not constrain itself to just technology startups but will be sector and industry agnostic.
Entrepreneurs ranging from social, technology, agriculture, fashion, e-commerce and many more can become part of WE-Hub.
In terms of investment, Rama Rao said, “Telangana government will make an initial investment of Rs 15 crore in the hub and will look for grants from different investors in the range of Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore. The State will also become the first customer for the startup if they find any good opportunity in the idea.”
WE-Hub will be operational from Friday and will be temporarily situated at the TSAT space in Dr BR Ambedkar Open University in Jubilee Hills. The hub will have 100 seats initially and the government plans to on-board the first lot of startups in another two months.
“Once the second phase of T-Hub is completed by end of this year, the WE-Hub will be shifted to its permanent location in that building,” said Jayesh Ranjan, principal secretary, Telangana IT department.
Apart from the Minister, the launch was done in the presence of DRDO project director and Missile Woman of India, Tessy Thomas and Kalaari Capital MD Vani Kola on International Women’s Day.
As a boost to the WE-Hub, six different MoUs were signed between WE-Hub and different stakeholders. These include partnerships forged with Confederation of Indian Industries – Indian Women Network, United Nations Development Programme, PwC, Salesforce, a-IDEA – technology business incubator of NAARM and IIM-Bangalore.
In addition to this, Ranjan also mentioned that WE-Hub has become the first platform that will be part of the national Women Entrepreneur Platform that was launched by NITI Aayog in Delhi on Thursday. “This will provide our alumni to get national recognition.”
Speaking about the hub, WE-Hub CEO Deepthi Ravula said, “Telangana State has always been ahead in the innovation space with initiatives like State Innovation Cell, T-Hub and TWorks already in place. Taking this idea forward and to provide support to women entrepreneurs, WE-Hub has been launched.”