“There is a huge shopping complex near where I live and very few of the stores are owned and run by women. Do you know why? It’s because there are no toilet facilities in that complex.”

– a participant from WINCUBATE Foundation Training

“Our incubator is located off the city limits, near the highway, with public transport unavailable after 7 pm. Sometimes even I find it difficult to go back after late meetings. We never realized that could be deterring so many women from accessing our incubation services.”

 – a participant (female) from WINCUBATE Advanced Training

WINCUBATE was born out of the realization that women experience the world differently.  Women create, build and manage businesses differently and it’s crucial that the entrepreneurship ecosystem acknowledges that difference and incorporates it in the way it designs and delivers support programs for women. And that is what we called Women Centric Incubation (WCI).

As a 3-stage process, WINCUBATE begins with a Foundation Module that introduces women centric incubation to participating incubators and helps them visualize the various components of a women centric incubation program. Read more about it in part 1 of this blog here. The big question we continuously strive to answer ‘Will it work for the women entrepreneurs my program aims to serve?’

At the end of the Foundation Module, most participants wanted to understand Women Centric Incubation more and build their own WCI programs. The biggest reason that emerged was the challenge they faced in reaching out to women entrepreneurs and ensuring adequate representation of women in their existing cohorts. Many shared that the representation of women in their current cohorts was not more than 20% .  

“After this training, we realized that it’s not just our cohort that lacks representation from women entrepreneurs, but also our incubator team has no female member. We want to change this immediately.”

– a participant from WINCUBATE Foundation Training

WINCUBATE Advanced Training

This is a set of 7 modules that enables an existing incubator to design and set up its own women centric incubation program. Based on the self-evaluation process that the participating incubators undertake after completing the foundation module, a recommended plan is shared with them. The recommended plan takes into consideration their readiness to undertake a WCI program and includes advanced training modules that they are most likely to benefit from.

“I realize that all these days we were just replicating the same processes in every program without assessing what our target group wants. This is the first training program that has focused on the importance of understanding our target segment.”

– a participant from WINCUBATE Advanced Training

We understand that women entrepreneurs are not one homogenous group but a collection of several heterogenous sub-groups. Advanced training modules are designed to support incubators working across these various sub-segments of women entrepreneurs. Using a modular, template-based, human-centric approach, WINCUBATE advanced modules enable incubator teams to design programs and build solutions that improve the representation of women in their cohorts.

“After attending the foundation module, we delayed the launch of our WCI program. We wanted to design the program while attending the advanced modules. Our entire team attended the WINCUBATE advanced training and we are happy to announce our WCI program launch soon.”

– a participant on completion of WINCUBATE trainings

From the first batch of Foundation training, 2 incubator teams with 6 participants successfully completed the advanced modules and are ready to launch their WCI programs. On a scale of 6, the average score for overall learning experience was 5.64. In the words of one of the participants:

“This training has not just helped us set up our WCI program but also given a new perspective to our existing programs. It has changed the way I understand women’s entrepreneurship.“

The WINCUBATE pilot trainings have demonstrated the need and relevance of bringing a gender lens to the way the entrepreneurship ecosystem designs and offers its support programs. We are ready to launch the second batch of advanced trainings. In the next financial year, two more batches of foundation training are planned. Stay tuned for updates here.


Kimberlé Crenshaw, Civil Rights Advocate

Author Profile

Nidhi Gupta graduated in Commerce from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi in 2001 and went on to do her Business Management with specialization in Finance & HR from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar, India. After working briefly in the corporate sector, she co-founded Dhriiti – The Courage Within – a not for profit working to inspire entrepreneurship and creating impactful enterprises with a focus on women.

Nidhi has an experience of over 16 years in designing entrepreneurship models for impact. She is a passionate advocate of women entrepreneurship and has worked for over a decade in building women-led enterprises in both rural and urban communities. She led the design and implementation of women focussed business acceleration programs with The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women in India.

Her recent paper on “Entrepreneurship models for women led nano businesses in beauty & wellness sector” is under review.

Currently, she is leading the model design for women centric incubation programs in association with Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE).