Jaipur, 20th May, 2022.

GIZ India’s Project Her&Now has been working to create a more enabling environment for women-led businesses in India since 2018. Acting upon the learnings from their work on-ground with over 800 women entrepreneurs across Tier II & III cities in India, Her&Now today announced the launch of its Women Entrepreneur Network in Jaipur, Rajasthan, in partnership with Startup Oasis, their local implementing partner. The Women Entrepreneur Network – AWARE – is the All Women’s Association of Rising Entrepreneurs, and is led by the entrepreneurs who were a part of the Her&Now support programmes.

GIZ Her&Now’s support programmes in Rajasthan for three years have highlighted the need to create and validate an effective framework for women’s entrepreneurship in the region. The aim was to get the businesses stabilized and formalized with the entrepreneurial and enterprise transformation in the region. With the launch of the women entrepreneur network, AWARE, easy access to business knowledge and skills, credit and market linkages, infrastructure, mentorship, etc. – are provided to the women entrepreneurs on one platform.

The network launch in the state is the first step to creating a structured ecosystem to connect and collaborate with peers and mentors, equip women entrepreneurs with key business skills and market opportunities, and empower them to become financially sustainable. Speaking about the network launch, Julia Karst, Head of Project Her&Now, GIZ said, “We are proud to launch AWARE – a network of and for the women entrepreneurs of Rajasthan. This is a milestone for women entrepreneurs in Rajasthan. The AWARE platform will empower women entrepreneurs to learn from each other and explore valuable partnerships to thrive. It will act as a point of contact and support, a connecting platform and a voice for women entrepreneurs in the state. Through working with AWARE network, we aim to create an enabling environment for women-led enterprises in Rajasthan and help accelerate the growth of their businesses. “

The Project Her&Now was implemented in Rajasthan from July 2019 to September 2021 where they received 396 total applications from cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Kota, Ajmer, Alwar, Jhunjhunu, and Rajasmand.

Stating the network’s vision, core team members, Meeta Mathur, Founder, Big Ladder,and Neerja Palisetty, Founder, Sutrakaar Creations, say, “The objective of the AWARE network is to build a strong-knit community of women entrepreneurs in the state. Through this network, we want to encourage business growth and collaborations among the members and provide them marketing avenues, and networking and immersive learning opportunities to grow. We also aim to advocate for gender responsive policy environment for women-led businesses.”

AWARE is an invite-only community with more than 100 members already. Formed with support from GIZ and Startup Oasis, CIIE, it is a network that brings together women entrepreneurs from diverse sectors and at various stages in their entrepreneurship journeys. It encourages women entrepreneurs by organizing several on-ground workshops on social media marketing, growth strategy, brand storytelling, etc. The member entrepreneurs connected with the network have diverse portfolios and run businesses in fashion, handicrafts, textiles, design, marketing, education, skill development, fitness, technology, etc.