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Understanding Entrepreneurial Orientation

As part of a conversation around the critical aspects of program design, I caught up with Ankita Pegu, who runs the women entrepreneurship work at IIM, Bangalore. This is an excerpt from the conversation.

Supriya : Tell us what are the primary anchors of impact for the programs that you run for women and why is it important to you?

Ankita : Since the time it was established in 2000, NSRCEL has evolved continuously in terms of nurturing and promoting entrepreneurship with emphasis not just on the startups with high growth potential but also offering a wide range of support to the founders throughout their entrepreneurial journey. NSRCEL has pioneered in delivering entrepreneurship education to women from all backgrounds for over a decade now. We understand that there has been a structural shift as women have come a long way, want to do something financially productive and aspiring women entrepreneurs are no longer confined to metros or tier-2, tier-3 cities. Which is why providing all necessary hand holding from ground zero at an early stage is critical. That’s how we conceptualised our flagship program - Women Startup Program. We will be launching the 4th cohort very soon. NSRCEL also drives the Goldman Sachs 10,000 women for growth stage ventures. Both these affordable programs(free of cost) specifically for women-led ventures address all gender-specific barriers encountered by women providing a structured approach to start/scale their businesses.

S : What are the primary pillars or approaches towards designing these programs, specially keeping in mind that they are all for women?

A : Starting up becomes difficult for women as work-life balance can be a problem, they are double responsible given the day-to-day rigmarole, not like the 9-5 pm. In the absence of a structured approach around ideation, many potential good ideas may not take off. Keeping in mind the needs of aspiring women entrepreneurs from the idea stage , the Women Startup Program was conceptualised. We understand that interventions are required at every stage and hence, we have a structured blended learning, making entrepreneurial learning and implementation accessible and affordable.These interventions are structured around the needs of the entrepreneurial mindset growth so that budding entrepreneurs get exposure to different kinds of partial or full support. I would say with the kind of course structure that we have designed, we have created a strong network of women who support each other, cultivating confidence via peer-to-peer learning and are able to effectively make use of the opportunities around their ventures’ milestones. From the past 3 successful cohorts that we have run so far, we have observed that women are increasingly breaking the barriers and are also considering NSRCEL as a preferred destination to support them in their entrepreneurial journey.

What would you say currently lacks in the ecosystem for women entrepreneurs to thrive? Does the work that you do currently bridge any of these gaps?

A: I think what really lacks is making the aspiring women entrepreneurs understand the entrepreneurial environment and that women have immense talent in terms of their ability to choose and decide. And we address all of these at every stage of their entrepreneurial mindset with our unique learning model. That we understand that the learning requirement of the ones who have already started for more than a year and the ones who would like to start is different, makes us the differentiator. Last cohort was remarkably successful as despite the fact that we had to go completely online due to the pandemic, we ensured that there was active engagement throughout via our activity based sessions. We have a PAN India presence as the idea is to also expand the network by forming ecosystem clusters in other regions so as they get exposure to best support through this program.

S : In your experience, what are key points of failure in executing a program - how can other program managers navigate to overcome them?

A : As emphasised earlier, understanding entrepreneurial orientation and addressing the needs based on the maturity level of the venture is the key to success. Collectively addressing the challenges women face in entrepreneurship, creating more awareness around how to overcome them and increasing the availability of resources will help us to reduce the existing gaps. If we are able to structure our framework around these nurturing the digital and networking capabilities, it could make a big difference in creating a measurable impact.

Ankita Pegu is manages the Women Startup Program at NSRCEL, IIM, Bangalore.

You can read about her work here :

Article originally published by Supriya Panchangam on Linkedin

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