All it takes is an idea!
The incubation centre of Women Entrepreneurship Hub We Hub is coming up at Ambedkar Open University wellplanned premises that will provide space for startups and support in terms of technical, financial and business expertise to promising enterprises
The incubation centre of Women Entrepreneurship Hub (We Hub) is coming up at Ambedkar Open University – well-planned premises that will provide space for start-ups and support in terms of technical, financial and business expertise to promising enterprises.
Meanwhile Deepthi Ravula, CEO of the women Hub, who also is the Joint Director with Department of Electronics holds fort at the makeshift Begumpet office with her small yet energetic team, and together they are getting ready to provide incubation to the first batch of 25 start-ups.
“When the Telangana government set up T-Hub, it was primarily technology oriented; but when we started the We Hub we knew we had to expand the scope. We are heartened to see that hundreds of applications arrived from across the board. Amongst the shortlisted ones are those that work with dried vegetables, handicrafts and the ones who are into AR/VR. The major idea was to get women to come and take charge of their business,” shares Deepthi, who plunged into the interview amidst hectic schedule.
Pranati, a team member, who came back from the US shares her experience of forcing women out of their comfort zones and encouraging them to take responsibility. “We had conducted MSME workshop and were very clear that the women have to come alone and attend, yet there were husbands accompanying the wives, brothers tagging along with sisters. And we asked all of them to wait as women went in to attend the workshop. It was interesting to note how the men were congratulating themselves for being so magnanimous in allowing the women of their houses to take this up.”
“I hope men stop taking credit for what the women are capable of doing. In fact, it takes a lot to recognise the power within the women. They should come, become leaders and be successful. IT Minister KT Rama Rao Garu understands this well enough. Hence, when I joined he had told me that my major responsibility was to ensure women make a seat for themselves in the policy making of a company. What we have are companies, some in partnership with the husband or brother and a few others that are solely owned by the woman. The bottom line is women should have 51 % and above stake in the company,” relates Deepthi.
Varun, the Incubation Manager who comes with the experience of having worked with BITS and IIIT shares the process of selection, “Some came in with just an idea, some with the prototype ready, and a few in the growth stage. We studied each application individually, put them in separate buckets, and selected those with prototype ready for the incubation. About 68 of the others needed funding and we are helping them create a business plan and financial model needed to apply for a loan. We are in touch with SBI to help the firms get necessary financial help.”
The CEO chips in, “We wish to create an eco-system. Some of the women simply come with an idea while a few others have everything figured out beautifully – Sales, Marketing Strategy, IP and Branding. So, one rule or program to fit all is not a possibility. We sit with each one of the selected start-ups, spend time with them, understand their challenges, road blocks and strengths and figure out a way to make it a success. We also provide expert assistance in operations, tech development and product development, retaining employees etc., so that the women can concentrate on sales and marketing.”
“Women entrepreneurship is not a solo cause. We have partnered with organisations like NAARM (Agritech), IIT Hyd, Task, CCMB etc not just to help us look into the applications but give technical expertise where it’s needed, and we provide the business support,” she adds. With a small, but eclectic team coming from various backgrounds, with varied experience of working in different fields before coming to India, and the knowhow of working with government for two years, Deepthi packs in an effective punch in taking We Hub forward. “I have come like a student and I am constantly learning,” she says.
“If you are a woman and have an idea. Walk in. Be fearless in asking questions and seeking help. Above all, be open to learning,” points out Deepthi to women with ideas and a passion to become entrepreneurs.