Entrepreneurship among Indian women is a relatively new flavour, and many are increasingly warming up to the idea of exploring it. The main motivation for women to start their business these days are the state-led initiatives and central government policies which are paving the way for women in this direction. Among the many Indian states that are becoming startup hubs and bringing up policies to favour a positive change in the number of women entrepreneurs, is Kerala. The state government’s Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) is leading entrepreneurship through its innovation hub—a focussed space acting as an incubator, accelerator, and whatnot in an extremely gender-responsive manner.
The state government’s Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) is leading entrepreneurship through its innovation hub—a focussed space acting as an incubator, accelerator, and whatnot in an extremely gender-responsive manner.
It recently framed policies like pre-incubation support, mentorship, a cost-free exhibit of products in national and international events, promotion of women-led startups at national and International business meets, marketing and seed-funding support, etc. exclusively for women. The state government’s initiative mandates that women entrepreneurs can avail national and international business meets travel tickets for one founder up to four times in the startup lifecycle. It also aims to establish two cohorts of 10 startups exclusively for women.
These are just a few of the many schemes the state’s initiative KSUM approved, which are propelling aspiring women to convert their ideas into definite startups. Remya Raj, founder of Digital Arts Academy for the Deaf (DAAD), is possibly the country’s only hearing impaired entrepreneur. She belongs to Kerala and while speaking through an interpreter with SheThePeople.TV, she spoke about how the state initiative has embraced her idea seamlessly. “KSUM actually really appreciated our effort and it has given us a platform to pitch our startup in front of investors. It is very hands-on with its aid to entrepreneurs like us and most importantly the belief it has in our initiative is what gives us a motivation to continue with our work.”
KSUM is very hands-on with its aid to entrepreneurs like us and most importantly the belief it has in our initiative is what gives us a motivation to continue with our work. - Remya Raj, founder of Digital Arts Academy for the Deaf (DAAD)
Another entrepreneur, who is based out of Thrissur, Pinky Jaiprakash said that she feels empowered to be an entrepreneur because the decision-making power that she has being the founder. “The decision can be right or wrong but the power lies with me. Additionally, we are creating jobs and that’s how we’re solving a major challenge in society. Kerala government has lent us the most crucial support as most of the times women aren’t able to start their own ventures because of regressive societal mindset. But when the government itself supports and promotes women then we feel empowered to become entrepreneurs,” Jaiprakash, the founder of JPNME Pvt. Ltd., said.
KSUM is hosting ‘Women Startup Summit’ on August 1 in Kochi with ‘Developing an Inclusive Entrepreneurship Ecosystem’ as its focal theme. Indian Women Network under the Confederation of Indian Industries has partnered with KSUM to organize the event. It aims to bring successful women leaders, startup founders, policymakers and aspiring women entrepreneurs onto a common platform to share their experiences, aspirations and success stories.