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Women's Day: Stars in their own right

Helping women entrepreneurs grow

‘Investing in them fosters economic growth and stronger communities’

March 07, 2019 07:28 pm | Updated March 08, 2019 09:27 pm IST

Participants of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women programme at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.

Participants of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women programme at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.

Over the last few weeks, Malini Gowrishankar, who is the co-founder of an experimental travel company, has been spending the better part of the day in class. She is one among 55 women entrepreneurs who are part of the first cohort of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. For three weeks, they received one-on-one mentoring by industry experts and entrepreneurs who help them apply their classroom learnings and develop their business growth plans.

Ms. Gowrishankar’s company is one of the established companies with a women’s travel segment. “Every day, I discuss the day’s learnings applied to the business context with my co-founder, and collate our ideas. Mainly, as business owners, we do not get this valuable time and space to take a deep breath and get a bird’s eye view of the business landscape,” she said. After the programme ends, she plans to focusing on plugging inefficiencies. “We are eventually looking to franchise our business,” she said.

This first batch started their coursework in January and received 15 days of academic instructions on marketing, finance, strategy, and branding. Participants are from diverse sectors, including agriculture, financial services, healthcare, education and training, and media and entertainment.

Sonjoy Chatterjee, Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs in India, said that the programme was founded in 2008 on the understanding that investing in women entrepreneurs fosters economic growth and stronger communities. “The ongoing program seeks to empower women across India and globally to grow their businesses, support the economy, and be leaders in their communities,” he said.

Many participants said the programme has helped them understand how they can transform their businesses. Tilottama Shrinivasa, who founded Peach Engineering, which offers advanced engineering services, consultancy and mentoring, in 2004 when she was in college, said, “With two degrees in mechanical engineering, I only looked at the technical side and nothing else. I realised I really needed to get at least a basic understanding about the business side of the company before my partners and I take any meaningful decision on what direction the company should take. Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women has completely transformed how I look at my business” she said.

Goldman Sachs has also launched a free online programme to reach out to women entrepreneurs all over the world. Mr. Chatterjee said that they found that 70% of graduates reported higher revenues, 60% added new jobs, and 9 in 10 women pay it forward by mentoring others.

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