At the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration India (GHCI), six women entrepreneurs were selected to take a fully paid, experiential learning visit to Silicon Valley through ABI’s Women Entrepreneur Quest (WEQ), a business plan contest designed to encourage, showcase and recognize tech startups founded and managed by female entrepreneurs. WEQ is also supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of the Government of India and the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum.
This month, the six women flew across the globe to immerse themselves in the innovation capital of the world and learn everything they could about funding, scaling and growing their businesses. The group was led by Dr. Anita Gupta, Director and Associate Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the DST – Government of India.
“The goal of this trip is to give the six women exposure to some of the best practices of the startup ecosystem in Silicon Valley to absorb and take back to India,” Dr. Gupta explained. “Not only do they get mentorship support, they also gain confidence around pitching to investors. They’re also learning networking tips and connecting with mentors — these are the missing pieces in the Indian startup ecosystem, so this trip aims to fill some of those gaps.”
Here are 5 highlights from this memorable WEQ trip.
- A meeting with the Deputy Consul General at the India Consulate, who helped three of the women entrepreneurs secure business networking leads right away.
- Lunch and networking with Dropbox employees, who spoke to the women entrepreneurs about the company’s rapid growth and the wins and challenges they’ve experienced as Dropbox has scaled into a global business.
- Coaching session with Meera Kaul of the Meera Kaul Foundation on building a startup, pitching to investors and polishing communication skills. Meera and other speakers gave the entrepreneurs helpful advice on building confidence through body language and why “nothing teaches you more than failure.”
- An entrepreneurship boot camp on “Funding Your Business” at the TiECON 2016 conference in Santa Clara. The entrepreneurs also attended the two-day conference and were able to connect and learn from peers, investors and subject matter experts.
- ABI’s Women of Vision Awards banquet, an evening of celebration and inspiration for the women entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs enjoyed some quality time with ABI President and CEO, Telle Whitney!