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CISCO and Villgro launch accelerator program for women-led climate solution startups in India

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Villgro and CISCO India Cash Grant Program have jointly announced the launch of TVARAN, an initiative that will support the growth of India’s women-led social enterprises in climate action. One of its kind in design, the program aims to expand the market presence of women-led start-ups innovating in renewable energy, water and waste management and climate-smart agriculture.
According to the World Economic Forum (source), women are more affected by climate change than men, and yet greentech is currently a male-dominated field. Moreover, it is well documented that the participation of women in climate response actions leads to better outcomes overall. However, one of the largely unaddressed challenges for women entrepreneurs remains access to markets. TVARAN aims to overcome this problem, through a focused market-entry and market expansion program to help five of the country’s upcoming women-led climate solutions.
“Powering an inclusive future for all is CISCO’s purpose. Through our partnership with Villgro, we are announcing our commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs driving climate resilience through their business. We are excited at this unique opportunity and look forward to staying closely engaged with the startups,” Harish Krishnan, Managing Director & Chief Policy Officer, CISCO India & SAARC said.
The 6-month targeted acceleration is a high-engagement initiative that is designed to finance and implement the go-to-market strategies of women entrepreneurs. Through the acceleration program, Villgro and CISCO will deploy support mechanisms in the form of financial support of INR 1 crore (up to INR 20 Lakhs per start-up), as well as support the capacity building, business planning, mentorship and peer learning, focussed towards the implementation of go-to-market strategies.
Jenaan Lilani Bhargava, Chief Operating Officer, Villgro Innovations Foundation said, “Villgro’s work with women entrepreneurs has had a steadfast focus on market access enablement. That is where we believe ecosystem support is yet inadequate, and where Villgro can add the most value. TVARAN has been born out of this belief, with the objective of increasing the market presence of women-led solutions to climate change. We are grateful to have found a committed partner in CISCO towards this mission.”
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