Startup accelerator 5ideas has launched a networking and mentoring platform forwomen termed as Founders in Heels. The initiative will back women entrepreneursprimarily in tech-enabled industries.
"Besides lack of confidence, lack of access to knowledge and networks is the biggest challenge faced by women entrepreneurs," said Pearl Uppal, co-founder of 5ideas and former head of fashion e-tailer Fashionandyou. The platform will provide women entrepreneurs with access to peers, investors and industry experts who can help them become successful she said.
There is a growing recognition world over that women face greater hurdles when attempting to turn entrepreneurs. In countries like India the challenges are more acute. Only 26% of women have access to the banking system while in countries like Germany and Australia the access to banking is almost 100% according to a recent global survey. Internationally too women entrepreneur-focused platforms are emerging.
Most prominent among these is San Francisco's Women 2.0, a venture that provides content, community and conferences for aspiring and current women innovators in technology.
In India, design entrepreneur Ruche Mittal started Her Entrepreneurial Network (HEN) India in 2011 as a network through which women founders can collaborate on projects, help each other with contacts and share knowledge and inputs. The network today boasts of over 1200 members, who run businesses in areas ranging from herbal beauty products to IT Services.
Founders in heels, said Uppal, will now focus on getting successful women entrepreneurs and senior corporate executives on board as mentors. The platform will also hold regular multi-city meetups, the first of which will take place next month.
This is the second initiative launched by 5ideas. In April, the accelerator announced the first close of its seed fund. The fund has since made an investment in big data startup Dataweave.