Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs program kicks off in New Delhi

The Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program convened participants in their first face-to-face sessions last week in New Delhi, in preparation for intensive work in Austin this summer.

The three-part training program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by the IC² Institute in conjunction with the Nexus Startup Hub at the American Center, New Delhi.

Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs at Nexus

Participants are students at Indian universities who have developed innovations that could form the basis of a new Indian enterprise.

Eighteen women from throughout India were selected for the program, from a pool of over 200 applicants. The participants came from Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, and Jaipur and represented 15 different universities. The innovations spanned multiple target markets, including consumer products, clean air and water technologies, and apps for educational and social engagement.

Quotes from participants

“I had a really amazing learning experience and learned a lot more than just entrepreneurship—how to present, the importance of practice, and most importantly how broad our horizons are.”
– Nikita Agrawal, female urination device innovator

“The program team provided important feedback, and the weekend speakers were inspiring. I can feel a new confidence in myself after this experience.”
– Kanika Saxena, graywater treatment innovator

“The two-day workshop in Delhi was awesome. We got to know about how to make progress in any situation and how to describe our products effectively. I really look forward to coming to Austin and having more exposure to ideas, innovation and inspiration.”
– Snehal Jadhav, organic fertilizer innovator

During Part 1 of the program, participants took an online course on technology commercialization and worked with UT Austin student and staff mentors to characterize the potential value of their innovations.

Part 2, an intense weekend program at Nexus, occurred on May 18-20. Participants arrived ready to present the value propositions that they had developed with mentor support. Feedback from the audience of innovators and IC² and Nexus managers helped the students improve the clarity and impact of their pitches and to further refine market targets and commercialization strategies. Additionally, the weekend provided opportunities for the women to work in collaborative teams, to conduct interviews for market validation, and to hear the journeys of successful female entrepreneurs growing their businesses through the Nexus program and IC²’s XLr8 AP incubator in Andhra Pradesh.

During Part 3 of the AWE program, the Indian women will travel to Austin for two weeks to join students from UT Austin and Luleå Technical University, Sweden. Here they will build business models for the U.S., Asian and European markets. The students will learn about the impact of “context” on business models by building a model and a competitive matrix for their innovation for each of the three different markets. Finally, students will perform a competitive assessment of all three regional business models and make a recommendation of the most promising market in which to launch the business.

Stay tuned for exciting updates from this AWEsome program!

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