CISCO & Villgro to Support Women-led Climate Startups

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  • Acceleration program to be set up for five of the country’s upcoming women-led climate solutions
  • Will get up to Rs 1 crore as financial support, and access to Villgro & CISCO’s network of technology, industry and business experts and investors

Villgro and CISCO India Cash Grant Program recently announced the launch of TVARAN, an initiative that will support the growth of India’s women-led social enterprises in climate action. This joint program is uniquely designed to expand the market presence of women-led start-ups innovating in renewable energy, water and waste management and climate-smart agriculture.

It is noteworthy that the program will help five of the country’s upcoming women-led climate solutions, with a 6-month targeted acceleration to finance and implement the go-to-market strategies of women entrepreneurs.

Harish Krishnan, MD & Chief Policy Officer, CISCO India & SAARC stated: “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 businesses. We are excited at this unique opportunity and look forward to staying closely engaged with the startups.”

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The statement mentioned that through this 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.

Climate action-focused start-ups founded/co-founded by women with at least 50% shareholding, can apply for TVARAN.

Chief Operating Officer of Villgro Innovations Foundation, Jenaan Lilani Bhargava 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.”

The official statement quoted a World Economic Forum report which said that women are more affected by climate change than men, and yet Green-tech is currently a male-dominated field. With the realization that the participation of women in climate response actions leads to better outcomes, TVARAN aims to help women entrepreneurs get easy market access.

Touted as India’s foremost social enterprise incubator, Villgro was established in 2001, to make “innovative, impactful businesses succeed in Health, Agribusiness, and Climate Action.” Villgro was awarded the Top Incubator Award by the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (GoI) in 2020 and the DivHERsity awards in 2022.

US-based CISCO is a worldwide leader in technology and computer networking products. It is a digital communications technology conglomerate corporation headquartered in San Jose, California. The India Cash Grant program identifies new ways to solve challenges and partners with civil society agencies and key stakeholders to collaborate.


 

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