Google launched a startup accelerator programme for female founders on Tuesday, which will assist them in overcoming challenges such as finance and hiring. The inaugural batch of the ‘Google for Startups Accelerator – India Women Founders‘ will accept up to 20 women-founded/co-founded startups in the country and assist them through a three-month program.
According to Google, the programme is part of a larger plan to improve the representation of women across various sectors of India’s digitally-trained workforce — be it entrepreneurship, professionals seeking to upskill, or fresh graduates seeking to launch their careers. The ultimate goal is to make technology broadly relevant and valuable.
“The accelerator program targets Seed to Series A technology startups headquartered in India. The startups should be past the “idea stage”, with some level of customer validation and market traction with their product.”
Presently, the Indian startup ecosystem boasts of over a hundred unicorns, with 22 added in 2022, spanning industries such as e-commerce, health tech, fintech, and others. However, just 15% of these Indian unicorns have one or more female founders. The program will place a special focus on areas like access to networks, access to capital, hiring challenges, mentorship and many others which, for a variety of social reasons and low representation, prove challenging for female founders.
Google aims for Indian businesses that can grow internationally and solve challenges with advanced technology such as Al/ML or data in healthcare, education, finance, media & entertainment, gaming, enterprise, and other industries.
The blueprint of the initiative
The Google for Startups Accelerator: India Women Founders will run from July to September 2022. The selected startups will be mentored and supported in the areas of Al/ML, Cloud, UX, Android, Web, Product Strategy, and Growth. In addition, the accelerator provides deep dives and workshops focusing on product design, customer acquisition, founders’ leadership development, mentorship, and technical project support.
In the application phase, Google will review the startup’s applications to determine eligibility for the accelerator programme. Then, a panel of experts/program staff will analyse the qualified submissions and choose 30-40 businesses for an interview/pitch session to evaluate the team, problem, solution, and scalability. The selection board will then assess the shortlisted startups from the interview/pitch round for the final list. Finally, the programme contract will be sent to the definitive list of entrepreneurs to sign before the public announcement.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the accelerator programme has become entirely digital. Google will engage with the businesses selected for the accelerator and the anchor mentors at the outset of the programme to determine each startup’s difficulties and the support needed from the programme. The businesses will then go through an intensive Bootcamp covering subjects like Product, Design, Technology, People, and Growth, followed by an OKR (Objective Key Results) session to outline their goals for the following three months.
The following two months of the programme will be dedicated to assisting companies in achieving these goals by offering access to the global network, one-to-one mentorships, and 1:many sessions on demand. In addition, the startups will be paired with a Google Startup Success Manager (SSM) to help them get the most out of Google, including its people, network, thought leadership, and technology.
The graduated startups will be displayed during a Demo Day alongside Google teams, mentors, and other players from the Indian startup community. In addition, the Alumni programme and network will continue to connect with the graduated startups.