Hyderabad: When IT Minister KT Rama Rao announced the formation of WE-Hub in November 2017, little did people understand the vision of this initiative and the impact it would create. It was created to not just push the envelope of women entrepreneurship but also change the mindset towards women-led businesses. In less than five months, the incubator took shape and the application for the first batch was opened on March 9, 2018.
Since then, the incubator has helped not just Telangana-based women entrepreneurs but even women entrepreneurs from across the country to have a say at the policymaking table. In the last two years, the incubator has pushed the narrative of democratizing entrepreneurship by breaking the barrier of gender and space.
“We took a very conscious approach when we started WE-Hub, which was to not just provide women entrepreneurs a place to start their business but also change the narrative by providing more and more avenues for women entrepreneurs in the policy-making space,” says Deepthi Ravula, CEO, WE-Hub, which is India’s first State-led incubator for women.
From getting international entities to invest in Telangana and support entrepreneurs from the hinterlands of the State through its Her&Now program to collaborating with other State governments to start something similar, the incubator has truly made its presence felt slowly and steadily. It counts Apollo Hospitals Group joint MD Dr. Sangita Reddy and Mapmygenome CEO Anu Acharya – who are pioneers in the field of women entrepreneurship – on its board of directors. Other than government partners like TASK, TSIC, MEPMA, Niti Aayog, the incubator also counts international partners like US India Business Council, Australian High Commission, and UN India Business Forum among others.
“We offer programs for not just tech startups but also non-tech startups and are expanding our horizons to areas which are untouched at the moment. Going ahead, we are looking at becoming an outcome-driven incubator and looking at reducing the barrier between government and entrepreneurs. Global venture capitalists, who were earlier shying away from investing in women-led businesses, are reaching out to us. We are also planning a database of women entrepreneurs in Telangana in the next one year,” says Ravula adding that the incubator is generating revenue in the first year itself.