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3 Indian women entrepreneurs to fly to US on AIRSWEEE fellowship

twitter-logoPTI | September 23, 2019 | Updated 20:31 IST

(Eds: Adding quotes, details) New Delhi, Sep 23 (PTI) Three Indian women entrepreneurs were on Monday selected as part of a fellowship programme that will allow them to visit the United States and get hands-on experience on the working of globally successful firms, officials said. The All India Roadshow on Women's Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship (AIRSWEEE), a TiE Global's marquee programme, is supported by the US Embassy in India. It seeks to not only economically empower women but also promote gender equity and boost their self-confidence. The winners are Zaiba Sarang (29), Shraddha Sinha Khare (40) and Tharakeshwari Palanisamy (39), according to AIRSWEEE team which had announced the fellowship last year. The winners of the fully-funded fellowship were announced on Monday during the opening session of the three-day 'Women Entrepreneurs Conclave 3.0' here. "These three entrepreneurs were selected from a pool of 30 shortlisted candidates (AIRSWEEE Scale Up Fellows) who in turn were chosen from a batch of 575 entrepreneurs from over 90 cities across 20 states since the inception of the programme," Seema Chaturvedi, chairperson of Project AIRSWEEE, said. These three fellows will now travel to the US on a fully-sponsored trip and represent all the mentees who have been part of the project since it began in September 2016. "They will fly to the US in November and the fellowship period will be for 10 days. Each fellow will be shadow of a top official of a globally successful firm to understand the nuances of innovation," Chaturvedi told PTI. The three winners will travel to different cities in the US depending on the nature of work their start-up involves and the matching company where they will get the hands-on experience from, she said. Counsellor for Cultural Affairs at the US Embassy here Conrad Turner said the funding for the fellowship will come from the grant given to TiE Global by the US government. "Each one of you who are part of this project is a winner. And, these three entrepreneurs will go to the US to learn from the industry, but this trip will also help them de-stress from all the strain undergone over the mentorship period," he said after announcing the winners. Ramesh Abhishek, former secretary, the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) in the Union government, said entrepreneurship itself is a challenge and being a women entrepreneur is an even bigger one. Asked about the impact of economic slowdown on start-ups, he said, "Entrepreneurs should take this slowdown as an opportunity rather than a threat as there is a great scope for innovation by them". Also, there are about 20,000 start-ups registered with the DPIIT, he said. Project AIRSWEEE's goal is to empower women especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities by promoting an entrepreneurial mindset by providing women with the knowledge and tools. The three winners were ecstatic after their names were announced. Gwalior-based Khare, whose venture is Instant Rasoi, said she was feeling proud that the trio will represent the mentees in the US. "I am feeling overwhelmed and proud. AIRSWEEE transformed us and we are now paying it forward. In Chennai, where my venture Ganya Agro Products is based, we mentor women in slums to prepare them to do self-help business," Palanisamy, who hails from Coimbatore, said. "We are also breaking a few stereotypes associated with women by our achievements, which is important," Mumbai-based Sarang, who runs iThink Logistics, said. As many as 450 entrepreneurs were selected as part of the (AIRSWEEE) 2.0 in 2018 and 125 from its first edition in 2016. The AIRSWEEE said over 500 members have signed the "Dignity Pledge" to support women entrepreneurs. PTI KND DPB

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