WhatsApp and NITI Aayog have announced a partnership today to support the growth of a robust ecosystem to promote women entrepreneurs in India. Under this partnership, WhatsApp, in collaboration with NITI Aayog, will announce an annual calendar of events aimed at capacity building of the women entrepreneurs and evolve specific programs aimed at addressing challenges being faced by women entrepreneurs. The initiative would target the registered users of WEP.
WhatsApp will also partner with the Women Transforming India (WTI) Awards 2019, flagship initiative of NITI Aayog. WhatsApp has decided to provide support amounting to US$100,000 for the WTI winners. The WTI Awards, which NITI Aayog organises in partnership with the United Nations, recognises stories of exceptional achievements by women who are breaking the glass ceiling and challenging stereotypes through businesses, enterprises, and initiatives aimed at solving key societal challenges.
WhatsApp’s evolution from everyday messenger to a business enabler is helping bring digital empowerment to India’s entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs contribute significantly to the growing digital economy in India, though women make up less than 14% of total 58.5 million entrepreneurs in India due to various challenges including access to digital tools, and limited funding options. Partnerships between private companies and public sector help accelerate digital inclusion and give much needed access to funding so more women can achieve their business potential.
“It’s our honor to partner with NITI Aayog to help support the future women business leaders of India,” said Will Cathcart, Global Head of WhatsApp, at a small business event in Delhi. “Small businesses are the backbone of a strong economy and I am proud of the role WhatsApp can play in helping build the next generation of India’s women entrepreneurs.”
Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, said, “India has one of the most vibrant startup ecosystems, and the next big disruptions will be driven by women-led enterprises, with digital medium being the biggest enabler. This partnership with WhatsApp underlines our mutual commitment to support the aspirations of women entrepreneurs in India.”