WE Hub incubates 914 women-led startups

Deepthi Ravula, CEO, WeHub

Deepthi Ravula, CEO, WeHub 


The first-of-its-kind State-run incubator plans to set up facilities in each district of Telangana to support rural women entrepreneurs to start up, scale up and accelerate across global markets

WE Hub (Women Entrepreneurs Hub) is India's first and only State-led incubator to promote and foster entrepreneurial skills among women. Since its inception on March 8, 2018, it supports women entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, solutions and entities focusing on emerging areas in technology and allied sectors. It also encourages startups from under-explored and unexplored sectors.

On Women's Entrepreneurship Day (November 19), WE Hub reiterated its commitment to eliminate financial and societal barriers for women and help them succeed in their enterprises. "The State-run platform helps the women entrepreneurs across the country to start up, scale up and accelerate in the global markets," WE Hub CEO Deepthi Ravula told The Hans India in an exclusive interview.


How many startups are being incubated at WE Hub? How many have been incubated so far? What is the overall number?

At present, there are 84 startups being incubated at WeHub, apart from around 125-130 women whom we support in scaling their enterprises. So far, about 914 startups have been incubated at WE Hub over the past four and half years. Till now, we supported over 6,200 women having innovative ideas and not yet registered with the DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) as startups.

Majority of the startups at WE Hub are in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and food processing sectors, constituting almost 50 per cent. While there are 25 per cent startups in the textile/ handloom and garment production/ processing sector, 13 per cent are in healthtech/ lifesciences, 9 per cent in socialtech and the rest of them in varied other sectors.

Women Entrepreneurship Day is a reminder to us for the amount of work to do. Our aim is to create a supportive community for aspiring and existing women entrepreneurs where they can interact with venture capitalists for funding, connect with corporates for scaling their business, get advice from mentors to fine-tune ideas and benefit from technical mentoring.

Till now, what is the overall funding received by the startups incubated at WE Hub?

The startups nurtured by WE Hub have raised over $10 million (Rs 82.85 crore) till date. This includes bank linkages, equity funding and Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS). Many startups have received investment commitments. However, we consider it as funding only when that hits into the bank accounts of the entrepreneurs.

As a State incubator, we don't look at big valuations for the startups, but we see what value they will generate and how many job opportunities they will create. Our primary goal is to promote and foster women entrepreneurship by way of incubation, access to government and building a collaborative ecosystem.

Are there any startups at WE Hub in the unicorn race? Also, please specify some of the successful startups at WE Hub...

WE Hub -incubated startup Hunar Online Courses is in the race for unicorn status. This online learning platform aims at empowering women across the country by helping them learn new skills and become financially independent. Their app offers more than 100 pre-recorded online courses in the areas of fashion, food and beauty, which is available in Telugu, English and Hindi.

Due to lack of time, guidance and burden of responsibilities, many women are unable to even step out of their homes. With Hunar, they have learnt the skills from the comfort of their homes, where they are also taught how to start a business. During the last three years, the startup has trained nearly 15,000 women. Among them, over 2,000 have been earning around Rs 30,000 a month.

Other successful startups at WE Hub are Abby, Arms4.Ai, Artfills, Storybox, Laurik, and Kinderpass. We work with several exciting tech startups that are working brilliantly. Our focus has been to make sure that more and more startups become brands of themselves. A lot of companies when they start out turn propellants for the local economy.

We want every startup at WE Hub to be successful as a unicorn or soonicorn. More importantly, they should be recognisable brands manufacturing in the State.

Are there any plans to set up WE Hub facilities in tier-II cities of Telangana?

The State government has been guiding us to have support centres within the closest geographic location where the women entrepreneurs are from. We are working with a mindset of bringing services to people. We already have great infrastructure placed in Hyderabad; we will be setting up smaller facilities all over the State to be accessible to more women from rural areas.

As women have a lot of systematic and travelling challenges, we have planned to de-centralise WeHub further to spread across the State. Instead of making them come here, we are going to their places. As of now, we are working on expansion of WE Hub at Karimnagar, Sircilla, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Kamareddy, Khammam and some Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) areas.

Let us know about the tie-ups made by WE Hub with various organisations to support the startups?

In the recent past, WE Hub has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with World Trade Center (WTC) Shamshabad to provide entry to women-led startups into the international markets. It has also signed MoUs with global communications platform Truecaller, UK's fintech platform Tide, and Dhruva College of Fashion Technology.

Post pandemic, how startups at WE Hub are performing their business?

Covid-phase was difficult for all the startups and we noticed some of them have shut down. Our work has increased post pandemic in a good way. We have motivated many women to pursue entrepreneurship. There are a lot of inherent and inflection points that happened with people and they realised the significance of being entrepreneurs.

How is WE Hub supporting the startups to export their goods to international markets?

Globalisation is a key thing that we want to do at WE Hub. Any startup that comes to us, we make sure that it is building a standardised consistent product. We also give exposure on the financial readiness and compliances that are required to export to different markets across the world. We work very closely with the Telangana Industries and Commerce Department, which gives guidance to the startups to be export-ready.

How WE Hub is attracting enthusiastic women entrepreneurs across the country?

WE Hub provides women startups/ entrepreneurs access to mentoring, funding and markets through business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) modes. We have been supporting the women entrepreneurs from early stage, right from registering with the DPIIT as recognised startups.

WE Hub works with a mission to ensure that all women entrepreneurs in the country have access to technical, financial, governmental and policy support required to startup, scale up, sustain and accelerate across the global markets.

WTC Shamshabad-WE Hub Startup Series

The startups nurtured by WE Hub have raised over $10 million till date. The State-led incubator don't look at big valuations, but it sees what value the startups will generate and how many job opportunities they will create

(This is the first interview of WTC Shamshabad- WE Hub Startup Series, a collaborative effort of World Trade Center - Shamshabad and WE Hub, the incubator for women-led startups, to showcase startups founded by women entrepreneurs)

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