TomorrowMakers

Women Will, Amazon Saheli and Facebook Pragati are helping women change their lives.

How Google, Amazon, and Facebook are uplifting Indian women entrepreneurs?

When you empower a woman, you empower the entire nation. Women, especially in rural India, do not have access to education and financial tools, nor do they get family support to become self-sufficient. To help women entrepreneurs in India take control of their finances and include them in charting India’s growth story, big companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook have launched some key programmes. These initiatives are geared towards encouraging women to believe in themselves, by inspiring them and giving them the tools they need to succeed. Read on to learn more about them.

Google’s Women Will

Google’s new initiative Women Will is designed to help women entrepreneurs in India, specifically in the rural areas. It mentors, supports, and guides women who wish to become financially independent. It does so by helping women turn their hobby or existing talent into a business. Whether it is cooking, tailoring, salon services, knitting or pottery, the scheme teaches women to turn their talent into a flourishing business. It provides ‘how-to’ tutorials and accelerator programmes in Hindi and English that teach women to create a business model, manage the business, build partnerships, and grow them to enable a steady source of income, and if possible provide employment to other women. Women Will also works with Internet Saathi, another Google India initiative to bring more people into the digital era. The goal of Women Will is to support one million women entrepreneurs in the country.

Related: 10 Bank loan schemes for women entrepreneurs

Amazon Saheli

Amazon Saheli is an online platform for women entrepreneurs to sell their locally produced products to Amazon customers across the country. It provides opportunities to women small business owners to set up their stores and benefit from the digital economy. The programme collaborates with organisations such as Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and Impulse Social Enterprise to encourage women to take the entrepreneurial route. Amazon has created a dedicated storefront called ‘Saheli Store’ where women can come on board to sell their products – from handicrafts to clothing to home décor to handbags. Amazon Saheli not only provides the platform but also helps out by taking care of the logistics and fulfilment. What’s more, Amazon conducts training workshops to help these women entrepreneurs learn the ropes of online selling and build the capability to grow their business.

Related: Government schemes that can help women entrepreneurs in India grow their small businesses

Facebook Pragati

A CSR initiative from Facebook, Facebook Pragati supports women-led non-profit organisations that work towards empowering women entrepreneurs in India. The initiative incubates and accelerates such entities so they can drive entrepreneurship among women, educate them, and fast-track digital literacy. The aim of the initiative is to help women gain financial independence by giving them access to digital platforms, promote inclusion, and contribute to India’s growth story. Facebook Pragati plans to award a grant of Rs 50 lakh each to four such organisations to help them scale up their work and solve problems faced by women entrepreneurs. The initiative also provides hands-on support to non-profits in the areas of technology, marketing, and human resources. It facilitates learnings from industry experts, as well as Facebook leaders, to help them drive sustainable growth. How women entrepreneurs can look at COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity