Google launched WeOW initiative 18 months ago to help women entrepreneurs of tier-I cities to connect, grow their online presence and utilise Google products to launch and scale their businesses. After the inclusion of tier-II and tier-III towns, Google will eventually extend this initiative to the rural areas since 45 per cent of internet users come from non-metros.
As per Google’s estimates, the number of women entrepreneurs in India is 1.3 million; the third highest in the world after US and China. Rajan Anandan, managing director, Google India said that, the overwhelming number of women entrepreneurs in India inspired Google to launch WeOW, which was as a core business decision rather than a diversity decision. "Imagine the impact these women can have on the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We tell them: 'Get your business online. We will build it for free',” he added.
A few Googlers from Hyderabad conceptualized WeOW in 2011 based on the idea that, how the internet can empower women, how these entrepreneurs can sell online, and how they can connect with the customers. The concept grabbed the eyeball of the leadership team of the company who eventually launched it. “WeoW offers education and training and helps creating a community where the women entrepreneurs can support each other,” said Anandan.
As of now, WeoW has 2,000 deeply engaged entrepreneurs. Seeing the success rate, the company is now taking the programme to Russia and Singapore where it is being tweaked keeping in mind the maturity of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Talking about the target from tier-II and tier-III towns, Anandan informed that, the company has not yet set any, even though, the possibilities are immense. "We have the capacity to handle large numbers and will reach out to the women entrepreneurs in new geographies through word of mouth. We actively look at connecting with entrepreneurs already in the area.”