Tuesday, 31st October 17: Zone Startups India’s flagship initiative, empoWer is in its 2nd year, as an accelerator program. Launched in April 2016, the 1st cohort of the program was a huge success, with 8 of the cohort members going on to raise funding in excess of INR 150 crores, over the past year.

The success of the 1st cohort, and its members vouching for the value-added takeways , was a validation for Zone Startups India to come up with the 2nd edition.

empoWer 2017 was launched on 1st September 2017, in partnership with Department of Science and Technology (Government of India), Social Alpha (an initiative by Tata Trusts), Microsoft, Amazon, ICICI Bank, PayU, CapitalFirst and FlexiLoans. The launch was followed by a full-day conference that was presided over by senior women leaders from multiple industries.

empoWer 2017 has received 376 quality applications.Zone Startups India built an evaluation committee comprising of 12 moments from its advisory council and industry experts, to finalise the 15 startups to be a part of this year’s program. After a thorough and competitive selection process, involving application evaluation and personal interviews, the following 15 startup founders have been selected for the 6-week community program.

The program will comprise of mentoring sessions, workshops, industry connects, case studies, peer-to-peer sessions, bootcamp and investor connects.

The cohort of startups selected for empoWer 2017 range across technology themes such as IOT, Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning; and industries such as healthcare, smart cities and enterprise solutions.

The empoWer Class of 2017 is as follows:

– Riot Solutions Inc., monitoring baby sleep patterns

– REVOL Inc., smart wallets

– TekUncorked, Light IOT Framework

– WOWLET, the wow toilet experience

– Tapu Sustainable Solutions, waterless urinals

– ICONICbot / Morph.ai / Bizlem, all leveraging chatbot technologies

– Cygen / PregBuddy / Periwinkle / Tactopus, all revolutionizing healthcare and accessibility

– Bitgram Technologies / Faasthelp / The Friday Code, all solving big enterprise use cases

The successful launch and application process has elicited interest from international markets, and the Bureau du Québec in Mumbai, India representative office of Government of Québec, Canada has now extended its support to empoWer 2017. One selected entrepreneur from the cohort will get an opportunity to travel to Québec, Canada for a week-long mentorship and business development program to explore business opportunities.

Dominic Marcotte, Consul, and Director of Bureau du Québec in Mumbai was extremely pleased with this partnership. He said, “I am proud to announce that the government of Quebec, through its office in Mumbai, concretely supports the 2nd edition of the Indian EmpoWer program. As a part of its international policy, Quebec aims at contributing to a sustainable, just and secure world, notably for women, and we believe that women entrepreneurship is a means to achieve this.”

“We had surprised ourselves when we received 181 applications for the inaugural cohort of empoWer. We set ourselves an ambitious target of 400 for this year, and almost achieved it, with 376 applications – which is a great pool in itself. We have a cohort member from Imphal; which is great in terms of diversity of the pool, as well as to show that the ecosystem is growing beyond Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. We believe we have unearthed some solid winners in the final cohort of 15, who will go onto do wonders for themselves and the ecosystem of women entrepreneurs. We look forward to working with the cohort, and building out empoWer as the go-to accelerator program for Women Entrepreneurs in India ” says Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Director, Zone Startups India.