Ten women entrepreneurs have been selected as the first cohort into the POWERED Accelerator programme and will now receive financial and business support to develop their businesses and deliver solutions in access to energy across India.
In April this year, DFID India, Shell Foundation (the independent global charity), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, and Zone Startups India announced the POWERED Accelerator - a first of its kind entrepreneurship programme focused on twin Sustainable Development Goals of Energy and Diversity. Following the launch in Mumbai, the POWERED Accelerator was launched in six cities 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.
More than 130 women entrepreneurs applied to the accelerator programme from varied backgrounds, all having created innovative solutions in the energy sector. The startups were evaluated based on the applicant’s background, innovativeness, scale of impact, problem solution fit, clarity of thought, and programme fit. The top-ten entrepreneurs selected for the first cohort will now receive support for one year to scale their business including a six-week residential mentoring programme 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. Through the POWERED programme 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.” – Gavin McGillivray, Head DFID India
“Shell Foundation is excited to see the first cohort of high quality female entrepreneurs come through the POWERED Accelerator programme. 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. The Accelerator programme is one element of the POWERED initiative, a partnership between DFID India and Shell Foundation, which will deliver 5000 jobs, and support more than 100 women-owned micro-enterprises in rural and urban India.” – Sam Parker, Director – Shell Foundation
“At the time of launching POWERED Accelerator, we were not sure of the number of women-entrepreneur led start-ups in the extended energy sector. After 6-roadshows, and close to 2 months of extensive campaigning, we ended up getting more than 130 high-quality applications. 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 start-ups that presents us with an opportunity to build other interventions in this niche ecosystem. We have some great partners onboard, and we look forward to making the first cohort a grand success" - Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Director - Zone Startups India
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