In a move to encourage women-led startups, Google has announced a new accelerator program. The idea behind the accelerator program is to help startups — led by women — find the right funding, hire talent as well connect with the right mentors.
Google said that every year, it is targeting 20 startups and will support them for three months. Startups that want to join the accelerator program will have to have raised series A funding and must have women on the founding team.
The tech giant already runs an accelerator program but it’s for all startups. This one, explains Aditya Swamy, director, Google Play and Google for Startups, will help women who have the ambition to help society but “don’t have the right kind of support in terms of capital, hiring and more.”
There has been an acute shortage of support, says Swamy, for women-led startups. He says that while startups in India have raised billions of dollars, only 6% of the funding went to women-led startups. Google wants to fix this and thus the idea of an exclusive accelerator program for women-led startups.

How will Google help women-led startups?

Paul Ravindranath G, program manager, Developer Relations & Head of Google Accelerator at Google India, told The Times of India-GadgetsNow how Google will help these startups. One of the key focus area would be mentorship, says Ravindranath. “At Google, mentorship is key for our programs and we will tap into our alumni network, startups that we have helped to have a robust mentor base for these startups,” he explains.
Funding remains a challenge for startups and even though Google will not offer financial support, it will help women founders to raise funds by helping them with pitches and giving access to a network of investors, says Ravindranath.
Google has a strong network of women-led startups in other countries. Ravindranath says that under the accelerator program, women-led startups will get insights from them about the startup ecosystem as well. The selected startups for three months will get extensive support in the form of workshops, mentorship programs, and assistance related to design and UX.

What are the other key details?

In the first round of selection, Google will pick 20 startups. Applications for the program are open starting today and startups can apply for it till July 10. Google will then take a few weeks to shortlist the applicants and inform the chosen startups in the next few months.

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