Building leadership skills of Indian women social entrepreneurs
WHAT WE OFFER
This FULLY FUNDED program seeks to provide an inaugural class of 40 women social entrepreneurs across India with the leadership and management skills that will result in scaling their businesses. It will also facilitate the creation of a formal network, currently called the Indian Women Social Entrepreneurs Network (IWSEN), of which the first class will be the founding members. The IWSEN will help members support each other and build a community of women social entrepreneurs across India.
Only 25 per cent of social enterprises in India are led by women. Women entrepreneurs are often subject to discrimination from their families, communities, and investors when compared to male peers. This issue is even more acute for women because social entrepreneurship can be stigmatized as being unprofitable.
As a result, women-led social enterprises in India will benefit from the establishment of a formalized, cohesive network that would provide access to information, capital, mentorship, and other opportunities that are currently lacking in both social and commercial enterprises.
If you are selected into this program, you can look forward to the following:
Once selected into the program, you can look forward to 8 days of training split across 2 workshops in 2020 along with online coaching support and check-ins on progress.
The second workshop will coincide with the official launch of the Indian Women Social Entrepreneur Network. In addition, there will be a host of activities related to building a community of support and strengthening peer relationships between participants.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
The program will consist of multiple touch-points, both online and offline, curated for the 40 women social entrepreneurs selected for this project.
Broad themes include:
Workshop 1 - Second half of May 2020
Workshop 2 - Mid-November 2020
Location - TBD
ELIGIBILITY AND SELECTION CRITERIA
Is your organization registered in India and/or targeting to have an impact in India? (Both for-profit and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply)
Is your organization working to improve the lives of marginalized or vulnerable populations in India?
Has your organization generated revenue (either grant/earned income/both) of 15 Lakhs in either 2018 or 2019?
Does your organization have a staff of at least 3 or more full-time members?
Are you comfortable speaking and learning in English?
Are you working full-time in your organization?
Are you willing to share knowledge and support to other members of the IWSEN to collectively grow the impact of women social entrepreneurs in India?
Are you able to attend 2 training sessions of 4 days each between May and November 2020?
Selection into the program will be based on the following 6 criteria:
Meet the first 40 founding members of the network
Founder, Astu Eco
Anitha Shankar is the Founding Partner of Astu Ventures, started in 2015 and focussing on manufacturing, trading, and researching eco-friendly products. Her primary focus has been the need to develop eco-friendly products and social entrepreneurship. She has a BSc degree from Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru, and an MBA in Marketing from TA Pai Management Institute.
Astu Eco provides earth friendly alternates for single-use plastics, with a vision to impact One Billion people by 2027 by “building awareness” AND “providing sustainable alternatives” to help consumers move to a plastic free living.
Co-Director, Amrita SeRVe
Ms. Bist currently leads Amrita SeRVe’s Saukhyam Reusable Pads project. She obtained her MBA and MS from the University of Maryland at College Park in the US and worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers before joining the MA Math nearly two decades ago. Anju Bist lives at the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MA Math) in Kerala. MA Math is an NGO with consultative status to the UN’s ECOSOC. Through the Amrita SeRVe (Self Reliant Village) program they understood that many women’s health problems in rural areas were due to the lack of reliable and low-cost menstrual hygiene products, Amrita SeRVe began the production of reusable sanitary pads from banana fiber. This patented product has received an innovation award from the National Institute of Rural Development in India.
Founder & CEO, Haiyya
Aprajita is the Founder & CEO of Haiyya. Passionate about creating pathways for citizens to meaningfully participate in democracy and governance, she founded Haiyya to create a civic engagement and public participation model for nonprofits, civil society actors and youth leaders. Aprajita established Haiyya’s brand as the only organisation building next generation of campaigners and community organisers in India. She was recognized by Commonwealth Secretariat as the Regional winner of Commonwealth Youth Worker Award for Asia region in 2014. Aprajita represents Haiyya as the Global Affiliate member of Leading Change Network, a group of organizers who use Professor Marshall Ganz’s community organizing framework to drive social and political campaigns across the world.
Co-Founder & Director, Varitra Foundation
Ayeshna Kalyan grew up in the outskirts of Karnal city, giving her the opportunity to closely experience both urban and rural life sensibilities. Ayeshna Kalyan co-created Varitra Foundation to help government schools add value to their existing setup and create change in the way students perceive education. In less than 3 years, over 20 schools have benefited from their “Whole School Transformation” model and have also built an active community of 51 rural youth (constituting 97% women) through their youth leadership program.
Bharti is the founder of Boondh, based out of Bengaluru. Boondh is a hybrid social enterprise that works on Menstrual Literacy, Advocacy, Policy, Programming and Sustainable Products. Bharti is a Biotech Engineer from SASTRA and also holds a Masters in Social Sciences from TISS. Bharti strives to be a conscientious entrepreneur hoping to bring about positive outcomes along the themes of gender, health and environment. Bharti sees IWSEN as a pioneer program that brings together various champions for co learning/working apart from support for organizational and personal growth.
Co-founder and CEO Bunko Junko
Working in the clothing industry since the past 29 years. Her journey started with working on garment ornamentation, embroidery work for large and small manufacturing brands where she helped in socio economic development of society by giving employment opportunities to more than 1000 women. Looking at a plethora of ‘Waste Fabric’ and seeing infinite opportunities was a kick starter. She wanted to explore this concept of what is considered ‘waste fabric’ and how we can use what is viable to reduce the amount of actual unusable waste created, all while maintaining a high design and production standard.
Founder, CEO, LetsTagOn
Chetana Koulagi is the founder of LetsTagOn, a marketplace for social impact experiences.
Chetana has a Masters in Software Systems from BITS, Pilani and B.Engg. in Computer Science from SDM College of Engg. & Tech. She has 18+ years of IT industry experience.
She has been an active volunteer herself for various social causes. Having experienced the joy & benefits of volunteering, she is driven by the passion to offer such opportunities to youth and has bid farewell to her 18+ years of IT career in 2017 to pursue a dream called LetsTagOn.
Founder & CEO of SVATANYA
A NIFT post graduate, with 20+ years of extensive hands-on experience in Design, Production, Quality assurance, Buying and Retail in domestic and international apparel industry besides significant experience in Indian handicrafts, Corporate/Sports merchandise consulting. Following an illustrious career she launch SVATANYA, a social enterprise that empowers underprivileged women by skilling them to make handcrafted products. .
She has won Social Impact by SheThePeople, Manufacturing Excellence by WIEF, Social Entrepreneur by Mystique India, awards among others.
Divya P Venkat
Divya and her co-founder, ‘Two Technocrats’ inspired by a subject called Recycling in 8th semester of college, set out to start the own pyrolysis unit (waste plastics to oil) after quitting a high pay job and leaving the dream of scientist to rest.
As destiny had better plans, it dropped them exactly at the doorstep of Kodungaiyur dumpyard for their first encounter with wastes.
From then, the seed of thought and quench to find/discover a sustainable recycling solution was sowed. These series of events led Divya to co-found ViDhai Recycling to address this challenge.
Founder - Unipads India Pvt. Ltd.
Ms. Geeta Solanki, from Ahmedabad is an MBA (Gujarat University) and has worked as a marketing professional. She is a professional Child Birth Educator having guided more than 600 women in the last 6 years. Her agricultural background helped her notice the issue of menstrual hygiene management amongst women in the rural sector. She started Unipads – an organization that addresses issues of menstrual hygiene management across marginalized segments by empowering women to manufacture and distribute reusable sanitary pads. 1.2 million Women cross various segments of society have benefitted from her initiative. She received ‘Bharat Ki Laxmi’ award from Ms. Smriti Irani, Ministry of Women and Child Development; for her work in the space of MHM.
Founder & Chief Trustee, MukkaMaar
Previously an actor, kathak dancer and entrepreneur, Ishita is the Founder & CEO of MukkaMaar- a non-profit that teaches lesser-privileged girls the physical & mental skills to deter, diffuse and evade gender-based violence.
She has a B.A. (English Lit., Psychology) & M.Sc. (Human Development) with a short stint as a counsellor in a hospital (Psychiatric OPD).
Ishita wants to enable 25M adolescent girls in India to be MukkaMaar girls.
CEO, Manikstu Agro
A Business Advisor, Entrepreneur, and Coach by Profession Jayanti is a dynamic Expert with ability to transform, innovate and deliver strong financial returns. Post Graduate in Business management & Masters in psychotherapy with 15 years of experience into diverse fields primarily banking & consulting. Manikstu Agro Pvt. Ltd’ is a social enterprise with a vision to change the face of agribusiness to profitable and enterprising by end to end intervention and integrating animal husbandry (specialized on Goats)with scientific rearing, breeding and market link methodologies while creating micro-entrepreneurs.
Founder and CEO, Slam Out Loud
Jigyasa taught for two years in the Teach For India Fellowship and then joined their team designing & piloting learning experiences to build a culture of student leadership across the country. She now leads Slam Out Loud that uses art forms like storytelling, theatre, spoken word, and visual arts to build skills of Creative Confidence in disadvantaged children, reaching out to 55000 children across 4 states in India. She’s an entrepreneur incubated by the Government of Delhi, Unltd and N/Core and a recipient of the Gold International Award for Young People.
Managing Trustee, Meghshala Trust
You ask where Jyoti is from? She herself, a slight hesitation later, might say Palakkad or Tamilnadu or Bangalore or Africa. Suffice it to say that she is a combination of all these places and spirits.
Jyoti received most of her education from Bangalore, and ended with a Masters' in Nuclear Physics.
Six years ago, Jyoti and another trustee started Meghshala Trust, to clearly target the bottom of the pyramid of education in India. It was an ed-tech solution, but much more education than just technology.
Founder & Managing Director, Ancient Living
Kalyani Gongi is the Founder and Managing Director of Ancient Living, a social enterprise in Hyderabad, India. She has over two decades of exposure to organic farming practices and management
in India. Since the inception of Ancient Living in 2011, she has taken her knowledge of herbs and medicinal plants a step further to create
organic skin, hair and healthcare products for the discerning eco-conscious customer. Kalyani believes that women are key agents for achieving economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development in society.
Nativ Chefs Founder- Director
Leena is from Nagpur where she founded Nativ Chefs which is a startup incubated at IIM Bangalore and now completely operational as a private limited company. She has done her B-tech and PGD from Xaviers Mumbai along with her MBA Marketing degree. She has over all 13 years of work experience and her vision is to have 1 lakh home chefs showcasing their culinary talent on Nativ Chefs Platform.
Co-founder and CEO Craftizen
Having grown up on a rich dose of traditional and contemporary arts and crafts, Mayura is a self proclaimed cultural junkie who’s tried her hand at most things creative!
An MBA graduate from the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad,she has grassroots level exposure to India’s rich cultural heritage from handling a national craft and culture based rural tourism project with UNDP India, spread across 36 villages in 20 states.
Mayura has over 14 years of experience spanning Corporate, Development and Education sectors. She is a recipient of NABARD’s Social Entrepreneur Fellowship as part of their Rural Innovations Fund, 2013-14.
Her vision is for citizens and corporates alike to extend the concept of “Make in India” to promote and preserve everything that’s handmade in India.
Co Founder, Chief of Growth- Project DEFY
Megha is the Co Founder of Project DEFY which is creating teacher less learning systems for marginalized communities. Based in Bangalore she is a human rights lawyer by training from National Law School of India University. In her earlier avatars she has worked with NASSCOM Foundation having set up the Foundations operations in South. She is a Rockefeller Foundation Social Innovation Fellow and an alumni of US State Departments International Visiting Leaders Program. Her vision is to one day see every person have the choice to their learning paths and to have access to their agency. She believes there's much to be learned from network of other social entrepreneurs and thus IWSEN seems the right place.
Natasha is the co-founder of Civic Response Team, CARPE and EcoSattva Environmental Solutions Pvt Ltd. Her organizations are built with a vision to attain sustainable and inclusive cities, towns and Villages. Her company EcoSattva has provided Ecosensible solutions to green cover management and waste water treatment - with a focus on Nala Restoration, EcoSTPs and Miyawaki Forests & Ecoscaping. Currently, she is executing the Green Schools Mission of 100 forests in 100 ZP schools across Aurangabad district, and working on the restoration of the Kham River. EcoSattva won the Maharashtra State Innovation Society's Start-up challenge in 2018 and Unltd India Challenge in 2018. Natasha is a Young India Fellow from Ashoka University and University of Pennsylvania, and is an Acumen India Fellow 2018.
CoFounder - Finance and Partnership
Nidhi is Co-Founder of Science For Society - S4S Technologies. S4S Technologies is a near-farm gate food processing platform converting farm losses to value-added products for F&B Industry-saving time, cost and energy for them. S4S trains landless Women Farmers, transforming them to Micro-Entrepreneurs by providing the right combination of technology, finance, and market. S4S is working with over 2,700 women farmers and serving over 1 million customers.
Nidhi holds a bachelor's in Chemical Technology from the Institute of Chemical Technology. She is also an Acumen Fellow. She has been named in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia and Winner of Unilever Young Entrepreneur Award 2019 for Sustainability Leadership.
Founder Director , Action Center For Transformation
Nilanjana Das, social entrepreneur who is passionate about empowering the rural communities, particularly the women through creativity, art and innovation. After working for ten years of learning & practical experience & her strong desire to contribute meaningfully, she founded “Action Center For Transformation”( ACT) which emphasizes on building sustainable initiatives. Her major focus is on economic empowerment of rural women and bringing sustainable environmental changes. She has been continuously working on developing a chain of rural women upcyclers who upcycles waste paper in particular and generates a livelihood and develops a voice of their own.
Managing Trustee / COROAT
Padmavathi is the daughter of a traditional artisan couple from Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu. Her life experiences drove her to be a change maker to break the stereotypical role of women and break the vicious circle of poverty. COROAT is the means for achieving my vision of “Building a gender just, non-discriminatory, democratic, and humane society for women and children, and disadvantaged people of the society and ensure equal access to resources and sustainable livelihood for them.” She is a member of the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and Gender sensitisation and Internal Complaint Committee (GSICC) at the district level. She wants her identity to be part of a greater social change at the national level.
Co founder & CEO, Shubham Crafts
Purnima is based in Jaipur. Graduated from NIT Kurukshetra, she worked as a civil Engineer for 3 years when the idea of Shubham crafts struck. In 2018, She founded Shubham Crafts which is an emerging Handicrafts manufacturing start-up that wants to revive the diminishing art form that has not only gained them impressive success, but continues to empower women, preserve our traditions, and address issues of national importance like unemployment.
Under the vision of the NITians Purnima and her husband Chinmay Banthia, this potent idea evolved in sight of the Make in India scheme, which motivated them to leave their corporate jobs and take up the task that can involve the native citizens and indigenous technology.
Founder: Organiko-Beautifying Life
Pooja Kaul, founder of Organiko beautifying life is a young bold entrepreneur, a strong independent business development professional with a Post Graduate Degree in Social Innovations & Entrepreneurship from TISS where she started her own social venture as a class project but finally took it to great heights and today her social venture Organiko is creating employment for so many Donkey Farmers around India.
She is the Change Ambassador of SHE FOR CHANGE and the climate ambassador in IYC.
She is a lady who started the donkey milk revolution in India.
Co-founder and CEO Anthill Creations
Pooja Rai is the co-founder and CEO of Anthill Creations, a social enterprise incubated by NSRCEL IIM Bangalore supported by Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and N/Core supported by Mphasis and Omidyar. It aims to make play accessible to all by building low cost and sustainable playscape. Anthill Creations brings in the much needed play into children’s lives that eventually affects their overall growth and life. She is an architecture graduate from IIT Kharagpur. She has also authored a book on women entrepreneurs named ‘The Road Not Taken’ published by IIM Bangalore.
Co - Founder, Trustee and Director, Himalayan Blooms India
Pratibha Krishnaiah, a software engineer from Bengaluru, found her calling in a remote himalayan village in Uttarakhand, where she now lives and runs the organisation.
She worked with Thomson Reuters for 8 years.
She believes that the path to real women empowerment is through becoming entrepreneurs themselves. Training them to become independent enterpreneurs has now become her goal. The decision to lead a life on their own terms should come from a place of self reliance. She has been the recipient of RISC 2018, rural start-ups category award by NIRD -PR, Hyderabad.
CEO, Aatm Nirbhar ; Founder, ANWA; Founding Curator, Global Shapers Hub Mathura
Pawani Khandelwal is a serial social entrepreneur, Tedx speaker and activist. She is enabling equal female labour force participation by providing access to two wheeler mobility to women through her venture Aatm Nirbhar.
Always passionate about giving back to the society, she started her own NGO to impart basic knowledge to under privileged kids from slum areas and orphanages when she was just 13 years old. Her venture - Aatm Nirbhar is an all women-driven (literally!) social venture empowering women through mobility.
Co-Founder, Ethic Attic
Rema Sivaram is a social entrepreneur and sustainability enthusiast with over 18 years of corporate & entrepreneurial experience. She is the co-founder of Fairkonnect, a Fair Trade and Sustainable Enterprise focusing on artisan empowerment and sustainability in Fashion. Ethic Attic by Fairkonnect, Bangalore’s only Fair Trade shop is the retail store that facilitates the marketing of these products made by Fair Trade enterprises and women run SHGs. She also works with students, research scholars and designers across the globe to impart concepts of Sustainable Fashion and ethical clothing.
Co Founder & CEO - Taru Naturals
Ruchi Jain is CEO/Co-Founder of Taru Naturals, an organic fair-trade foods brand, which focuses on sourcing and creating a market for organically grown super foods (such as Black rice, turmeric) from 10,000 identified tribal and small scale farmer networks across India. Ruchi has been recipient of several awards for Taru Naturals including, 15 Women Transforming India by Niti Aayog, 2020, GQ 50 Most Influential Young Indians, Conde Naste Homegrown Brand of the Year, SheUnltd Food Enterprise 2019, Women Economic Forum Award. etc. TARU Naturals also presented at Caux Land Dialog Forum & Ruchi Jain was selected as part of Caux Emerging leaders Forum.
Founder & CEO, Bare Necessities
Sahar Mansoor is the Founder and CEO at Bare Necessities (BN)—a hub for zero-waste living in India. Sahar, currently has a 500 gms jar of all the trash she has produced in 3 years. She has built BN, a social enterprise that produces zero waste personal and lifestyle products. BN was titled one of the top 5 handcrafted-in-India brands by Harper’s Bazaar (2017).
For her work in changing the narrative on waste in India, Sahar has been recognized by Google India as ‘The Most Inspiring Indian of the Year’ (2017); NDTV named her a ‘Swachh Warrior’ (2017); MTV India in association with Jockey Women featured her as one of six women re-defining career paths of the 21st century (2018).
Founder & CEO, Strawcture Eco
Shriti is Founder of Strawcture Eco, first company in India to make homes and school using Compressed Agri-fiber panels which is a 100% green building material. Her initiative stops crop stubble burning which is a leading cause of air pollution in North India. She has a Master’s in Construction Management from New York University and B.Tech in Civil Engineering. She is a TedX Speaker, United Nations Social Impact Challenge Award Winner in August 2018 in New York City. She is one of the 19 women Leaders chosen by Aspen Ananta Center for GP Birla Leadership Program.
Director, Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti
Summaiya is Co-founder and Director Lakshya Jeevan Jagriti. Summaiya has a Masters Degree in Social Work and has been working in education and women empowerment space for the past 10 years. Her initiatives have won many national and international recognitions & she has been a part of the Ashoka ChangemakerXchange program along with being a Global Good Fund Fellow. Apart from her work, she loves traveling and exploring new places.
Co-Founder & Director, PASS Collective
Shaona Sen is a first generation Indian-American raised by hard working parents who migrated from Calcutta to Boston. Shaona went on to study Communication Design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Shaona has been based in Bangalore the past eight years. With twelve years of cross-cultural experience across Design, Sport and Development, Shaona recently co-founded PASS Collective. PASS is a social enterprise “Designing Meaningful Goals Through Play with Communities” to build an inclusive cycle of skills development and application. She is ready to grow with IWSEN leaders and inspire youth towards a more gender equitable future.
CEO and Founder
Sheeba studied International Relations at the London School of Economics followed by the
Legal Practice course at the University of Oxford. She practiced at an International law firm in London for three years before returning to India in 2011. On her return, she worked with small independent coffee farmers in Southern India. Later, she moved to Uttarakhand and worked with a rural development organization, Aarohi. In 2017 she founded Alaap with a mission is to create regenerative economies, one where there are more forests and more abundance.
Founder and CEO, CWE
Sucharita is Founder of CWE, enabling women to start up and scale their enterprises. In three years, CWE ecosystem has 4622 entrepreneurs across India.
She chaired the 2017 W20 Working Group of G20 on Financial Inclusion of Women. Currently Co-Chair of B20 Women in Business Council for G20.
She is India Ambassador for 50inTech, mandated to create 50 successful women led global tech enterprises.
Sucharita is a graduate in Literature and Philosophy and a post grad in Communications from Calcutta Univ.
She grew up in Shillong and Kolkata, and loves travel, theatre and exchanging stories!
Co Founder & CEO, Inochi Care
Shivani has earned her doctorate degree in Biotechnology from BITS Pilani. After that she did the Biodesign fellowship at SIB, AIIMS with the aim to solve unmet clinical needs and developing innovative medical technologies. She has always used a unique blend of science and technology to solve real life problems. She has been awarded the MIT technology review innovators under 35 along with CII platinum innovation award, TiE entrepreneurship ward, INAE young entrepreneur of the year and MedTech Innovator award etc. She believes access to quality healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. She and her team at Inochi Care are working towards the mission of “Healing the non healing wounds” .
Suhani is the co-founder and CEO of Saral Designs, a Mumbai-based start-up providing access to quality affordable menstrual hygiene products to low-income women in India.
With three years of investment banking experience at Deutsche Bank, Suhani holds a bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science with a minor in Electrical Engineering from IIT Bombay and is a CFA.
She has been recognized as the top 25 trailblazing women in business by Forbes India and 25 most powerful women in Impact by Business Today.
She is passionate about women's health and hygiene and believes that decentralized manufacturing will create a new wave of equitable industrial revolution to ensure essential commodities reach the masses in an affordable and efficient manner.
Usha Devi Venkatachalam
Founder & CEO
Usha Devi Venkatachalam is founder & CEO of Krishi Janani, a farmer’s network for regenerative agroecology based in Tamil Nadu, India.
She is a technologist who has implemented software solutions and conducted trainings in over 20 countries. Her expertise and passion are in architecting sustainable, culture-specific, and locally-appropriate technology solutions in resource constrained environments. This passion combined with her family’s agricultural roots has resulted in Janani, a unique online + offline marketplace facilitating India’s farmers adopt regenerative agroecology while helping manufacturers find verified organic products.
Usha’s vision is to reimagine and reinvent our food system as a regenerative ecosystem where people and the planet nourish each other.
V-Excel Educational Trust
Dr. Vasudha Prakash is a social entrepreneur and special educator and the Founder-Director of V-Excel Educational Trust, a Chennai-based NGO, which provides lifespan services to individuals with special needs. The Trust now has 14 centers across India and serves 700+ individuals. She earned her Doctorate in Special Education from Rutgers University, New Jersey where her doctoral dissertation on inclusion received the best dissertation award for that year. She hopes to establish 100 centers in India, especially in Tier II and II towns, where the need is crippling. She is motivated by a desire to learn and to glean best practices from her peers to make V-Excel the “Harvard of special institutions”.
Co-founder & Vice President of Development Consortium
Vithika is a human rights professional, with more than 15 of experience of working on human trafficking, modern day slavery, sexual rights & gender rights. She is the Co-founder & Head of Love Matters India, which is the first ever digital initiative in India to give complete, honest & unbiased information on love, sex & relationships in India in both Hindi & English language. She is also the Co-founder & Vice President of Development Consortium. She comes from Alwar, Rajasthan. Her vision as an entrepreneur is to positively disrupt the start-up ecosystem in India by advocating for breakthrough ideas with sustainable business model that challenge harmful social norms & contribute to social good.
Register your interest to become a part of the Indian Women Social Entrepreneurs Network