Zone Startups India Launches the 4th Edition of empoWer

Zone Startups India, India’s leading tech accelerator located at the iconic Bombay Stock Exchange building, launched empoWer’s 4th Edition in Mumbai. Zone Startups is an international brand of technology accelerators and early stage venture funds managed by Ryerson Futures Inc, Canada (part of Ryerson University Network). The flagship initiative that focuses on gender diversity, empoWer is tech accelerator program supporting startups run by women entrepreneurs through mentorship, industry connects, peer network and investor meets. Indian Clearing Corporation Limited (ICCL) a wholly owned subsidiary of BSE Ltd. (BSE) has joined in as the Industry Sponsor for the 4th Edition of the program.

empoWer 4th Edition was announced on June 21, 2019. Post the announcement, roadshows were held in 4 major cities across the country to evangelize the program and pool in various innovative startups for the program. Starting with Pune, the empoWer team travelled across Hyderabad, Bangalore and Delhi to meet women entrepreneurs in tech and held panel discussions with 12 panelists in these 4 cities, attracting a total number of 150+ attendees.

empoWer launched its 4th edition in Mumbai at Rise by Barclays coworking space. Startups, corporates, industry experts, investors were in attendance of the grand launch event with a total comprising of 70+ guests. The evening started with welcome remarks, as the audience was taken through the new format of empoWer’s edition. Tara Scheurwater, Senior Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada delivered a keynote talk at the launch event. This was followed by an interactive and insightful panel discussion on ‘The technological curve: how it’s impacting the startup ecosystem in this age’.

The panel comprised of -
● Paula Mariwala, Managing Director, Seedfund
● Lincy Therattil, Head - Rise Mumbai, Barclays
● Deval Sheth, Managing Director - India, Giesecke & Devrient MS India Pvt. Ltd.
● Abhishant Pant, Founder, The Fintech Meetup (Moderator)
The event ended with networking.

After a hugely successful 3rd Edition of empoWer for 30 women entrepreneurs in 2 track cohorts - Tech & Impact Tech space, empoWer 4th Edition has been launched for 15 women entrepreneurs focused on Consumer Tech, Enterprise Tech & Impact Tech. The new edition has been designed to take 15 entrepreneurs through a 3-day bootcamp commencing on 22nd August, followed by 10 startups from the bootcamp that will be selected for a 4-week accelerator program. INR 37.5 Lakhs cash grants will be given to selected women entrepreneurs as takeaways, on the empoWer 4th Edition Demo Day.

Says, Shreya Agarwal, Program Manager, empoWer - “Following the huge success of the previous empoWer Editions from the last 3 years, we are very keen to explore and work with the new set of high potential tech startups in our 4th Edition cohort and help them scale up and grow through the program. With a flourishing startup ecosystem, we are seeing women entrepreneurs break barriers and carve a path for themselves. It makes us proud to be a part of their journey, to create the stepping stones that empower these women leaders.”

Over the past 3 years, empoWer have disbursed INR 2.1 Cr in grants and have welcomed 65 women entrepreneurs to be a part of 4 cohorts, and 1 bootcamp. A large majority of startups from these have raised further funding amounting to a cumulative of ~ INR 32 Crores.

Looking back, empoWer has accelerated startups to quite a few success stories ranging from fundraising to various awards and recognitions. Last year, Math Adventures, the math learning platform from empoWer 2016 Edition, got acquired by Edtech platform BYJU’S. The vernacular language-based technical learning platform from the previous empoWer cohort, Guvi raised INR 1 Crore from US-based Gray Matters Capital earlier this year.

Vartika Manasvi, Founder & CEO, StackRaft Inc. from empoWer 3rd Edition cohort and the winner of a seed fund grant of INR 5 lakhs each, talks about her experience of empoWer. She says, “My company StackRaft, was one among the cohort of 30 founders that included a mother of a newborn, recent graduate, ex-banker and many such amazing woman entrepreneurs. We discussed struggles over countless cups of coffee, shared resources and emerged as friends to back on even today.  I will recommend empoWer program to any woman entrepreneur committed to building a technology business. This is the most powerful, collaborative, thoughtful and well-planned acceleration program for women entrepreneurs in India.”

Applications are now being accepted for the bootcamp and accelerator program for a cohort comprising of 15 women entrepreneurs selected from a PAN-India application pool. The last date for application in 2nd August. An evaluation committee will be formed to evaluate the startups. This year’s cohort will be announced on 13th August.

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