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WE@Headstart was conceptualized in April 2015 and its vision is to provide support for women entrepreneurs in four ways – inspiration, information, mentoring and funding. The WE Mentoring Session for Women Entrepreneurs marked a glorious start for the WE Hyderabad chapter on 22nd Oct 2016. The volunteers of Headstart Hyderabad Chapter put together a splendid meetup that was nothing short of magical for all the 8 attendees and their 4 mentors.

All the Attendees and Mentors were carefully curated from numerous applications received. Mentor-Mentee mappings were made with a lot of thought and the team made sure that the Mentees would gain a lot of tips, suggestions, mentorship and support for their respective startups.

The session kickstarted with an inspiring keynote speech from Ms.Monika Misra of iKeva, also the venue partners for the event.

“If you are an entrepreneur and your gender is a woman, you have to be louder to be heard. Most of the barriers women entrepreneurs face today are intrinsic. Forums like WE give you a comfortable & neutral platform to express yourself, where you are sure that the other person is not judging you, but is helping out.”

– Ms. Monika Misra, Founder & GM iKeva

Each of the 4 Mentors, Ms. Lalitha Yanamandra, Ms. Harini Prabhu, Ms. Purnima Kamble and Ms.Sheela Panicker encouraged the attendees with their success stories.

The attendees and their Mentors were then divided into groups of 3. Three mentees to one mentor for a session of 45 minutes. Three such sessions took place with a snack break in between.

Even though the meet-up was coming to a close, the vigor and enthusiasm of the attendees were mind-blowing. Each of them had gained valuable lessons & guidance with what their startups needed help with most.

Here’s what the mentees had to say:

“We specialize in creating highly customizable, budget friendly travel packages for our clients. Being an avid solo traveler myself, I identify with my client’s travel needs and design the packages accordingly. We are a highly active community on social media and have an engaging fan base. What I needed help with the most, was converting engaged fans on social media into paying customers. The sessions helped me a lot. Mentor’s experience in digital marketing was very valuable and most of my pressing questions were answered. Overall, it was an awesome experience and I am looking forward to more such initiatives by WE.”

– Shilpa Gaur, Founder WeekendThrill.com

“AlterGyaan is a suite of mobile apps that enables people to easily communicate in a new language without having to learn the language. We do this by maintaining a large list of phrases that are used everyday in various scenarios. Using our apps, customers can look up these phrases and find the translation immediately. Scaling up these apps and reaching new customers are the areas I needed guidance on. My session with the mentors was amazing. They provided me with numerous insights on marketing and ways to get mass downloads. I have a lot of new ideas now.”

– Priya, Founder AlterGyan.com

“SplurgeOnCollections is an initiative to create beautiful interiors. We enable people to ‘try out’ new furniture virtually in their homes and then buy. This project stems from my passion for architecture and interior design. Through this initiative, we aim to support the ‘Make in India’ initiative and list products made by rural women entrepreneurs. What I needed help with most was the technology necessary to execute this project. All the mentor sessions were very helpful. Their valuable suggestions enabled me to focus effectively on tech and also on strengthening the supply chain.”

– Surabhi Jain, Founder SplurgeOnCollections.com

Mentors had an amazing time too. Here’s what they say:

“I loved the zeal of all the entrepreneurs. Amazing crowd. It’s good to see women boldly stepping into business categories other than fashion.Our economy needs a lot more women leaders. The gap that we see with most women entrepreneurs is the hesitation to grow and come out of their comfort zone. We should have more of such events to address that. Overall, it was great being here.”

– Lalitha Yanamandra, Head Enterprise Delivery, SEAI at Capillary Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

“It’s a pleasure be associated with WE. This is a great initiative because it gives a platform to lot of women who otherwise would not have been able to access this kind of mentorship. This initiative gives a platform for women to share women related issues and help one another grow.”

– Purnima Kamble, Partner – Fox Mandal & Associates.

“This was a well spent Saturday. I thank WE for inviting me as a Mentor. The screening of the startups was very well done. All the entrepreneurs were very passionate, knowledgeable in their subjects and had relevant questions. It’s great to see non-conventional ideas buzzing and I had a great time sharing knowledge with them.”

– Ms. Harini Prabhu, COO – What’s In A Name.

“The WE Mentoring Session for Women Entrepreneurs was an amazing event. I got to meet many amazing entrepreneurs and heard their inspiring stories. This initiative by WE is applaudable as their initiative support & cater to women entrepreneurs. I now have tons of new ideas for articles. Looking forward to more such events.”

– Sowmya, Journalist for Namaste Telangana

The mentoring session ended with lots of gyaan absorbed, friends made, high spirits and a proud WE team that had gloriously pulled off its first initiative in Hyderabad. This marked the very beginning of many more to come.

About the Author:
Jayasri Nagrale is a volunteer with Headstart. She is the founder of Yeloni and Lightious. She can be reached on Facebook. When not working on her startups, she is loves playing with her puppy Zen