Kolkata: US Consulate General, Aroh Foundation, Nexus Start-up Hub organize boot camp, pitching event for 20 women entrepreneurs
The U.S. Consulate General Kolkata, in partnership with the Aroh Foundation and Nexus Start-up Hub, organized a boot camp and Shark Tank Style Pitching Event for a group of nearly 20 women entrepreneurs on Friday in Kolkata.
The women entrepreneurs from West Bengal, Sikkim, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Meghalaya will be part of the U.S. Department of State’s Global Development Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative “Academy for Women Entrepreneurs” (AWE) Finale.
The program was hosted at the American Center Kolkata from September 27-29, 2023.
The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) established the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) as an exchange program in 2019 to empower women with the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch or scale successful businesses.
Implemented in nearly 100 countries since 2019, AWE has empowered an estimated 25,000 women entrepreneurs around the world with the skills they need to reach their full economic potential.
As a U.S. government exchange program, AWE connects women with U.S.-style learning and expertise to advance business acumen and build stronger ties among women entrepreneurs in different markets.
These twenty women entrepreneurs selected from the previous three cohorts of AWE from the five states were provided with skill-building training on evidence-based entrepreneurship (Market Research), Business Model Innovation, Technology Adoption, Entrepreneurial Finance, Essentials of Business Plan, and pitching techniques during the acceleration program. Each entrepreneur presented their Start-up Elevator Pitch to the jury members who were the stakeholders from Government Seed fund Cells, Startup Incubators and Angel Investors who agreed to review their pitches and extended support to the program to evaluate them for potential future fundings.
Addressing the entrepreneurs in the Valedictory session, U.S. Consul General Melinda Pavek said, “The U.S. Consulate in Kolkata has continued to adapt programs to support entrepreneurs in our region. We aim to promote the U.S.-India spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship with a focus on women’s economic empowerment. The United States believes strongly in women’s empowerment through entrepreneurship and stands firmly for women’s equality and inclusion.”
She said, “During the last 18 months, women entrepreneurs trained under AWE 1.0 and 2.0 have raised cumulative funding of 50 million rupees and counting.”
Neelam Gupta, Founder President of AROH Foundation said, “Encouraging and supporting women in entrepreneurship is not only a matter of gender equality but also an investment in the economic and social development of societies. We make efforts to remove barriers, provide mentorship and funding, and promote equal opportunities, which go a long way to empower our women to succeed as entrepreneurs and contribute to economic growth, innovation, and social progress”.
Harkesh Mittal, Chairman of Startup India Seed Cell Committee was the Guest of Honor at the finale event.
The finalist participants will join the strong AWE network that will support participants’ access to peer-to-peer mentorship, business partners, and scaling opportunities with businesses in the region and in the United States.
At least five women entrepreneurs will receive incubation support in one of the leading incubators, and a stipend awards worth $5000.