Selection of the participants for the ‘Empowering Women through Entrepreneurship Program’
Open Online Courses, for a long time, have received the type of attention that is mostly inferior to the mainstream mode of offline teaching and learning. While the “anytime-anywhere-learning” mantra certainly caught the attention of many, it still did not help in increasing the number of learners who were dedicatedly stuck with a course till the end. Thus, the global average MOOC completion rate has remained as a single-digit percentage. However, IIM Bangalore has created a new record with a massive 48% completion rate in its online course delivered as part of a Women Entrepreneurship Program, hinting at the immense possibilities to tap in the digital learning space.
This massive participation was recorded as part of the “Empowering Women through Entrepreneurship Program” launched by National Commission for Women (NCW) wherein IIMB’s action-oriented online course “Do Your Venture: Entrepreneurship for Everyone” was used for training the participants in Entrepreneurship. Ideated and designed to promote economic independence among women through Entrepreneurship, the program received applications from women from across the country and is delivered in two phases – Online Training by IIMB and then Mentoring by India SME Forum in the second phase.
Out of the 6000+ applications received 1780 applicants joined the first batch, which began in April 2021. After 7 weeks of rigorous training in entrepreneurship, the course ended on June 15th with 1299 learners successfully completing the course and 855 business plan submissions from early-stage, women-led businesses spanning across sectors. This rate of completion can be attributed to the active involvement and participation from learners resulting from having a tangible goal to focus on, having a dedicated course team for support, having a motivated group of peers to inspire, and mostly- from having a strong business idea to believe in!
The second batch which started on July 16th saw a total of 929 participants of which 560 learners qualified for the course completion certificate and 354 lean canvas submissions were seen. Mentors from NSRCEL evaluated all the Lean Canvas submissions and provided their personal feedback to the trainees before they move to the second phase.
India SME Forum being the mentoring partner selected the most prospective and viable businesses among these participants for incubation and business acceleration of their ideas/ start-ups. The entire training/mentor-ship is being offered to the aspirants free of cost. ISF shortlisted 230 & 155 women entrepreneurs on the basis of their evaluation with IIM Bangalore and personal interviews conducted by ISF for the first and second cohort of mentees respectively. Each woman entrepreneur undergoes 6 hours of mentoring (4 hrs for group mentoring and 2 hours for 1-1 mentoring) with regular assignments and feedback forms. 4 group mentoring sessions for Batch 1 have been completed and 1-1 mentoring will begin next. For Batch 2, three group mentoring sessions have been completed as of now. Session-wise feedback from mentees is also taken by ISF.