KOCHI: Why can't women launch startups? asked Nirmala Padmanabhan, associate professor, Department of Economics, and also the nodal officer for Teresian Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Cell (IEDC). Hence, St Teresa's College decided to do something about it and as part of the endeavour launched the Teresian Innovation and Business Incubation Centre (TIBIC).
TIBIC was officially launched on Thursday on the sidelines of the Startup Yatra boot camp that was held at the college.
According to Nirmala, the aim of St Teresa's is to promote entrepreneurship culture among women. "Ours is the only women's college in the state to have a business incubation centre. We are most definitely the only one to aggressively promote entrepreneurship not only among those who have a technical background but also among students belonging to other streams like arts and science," she said. Whenever we speak of startups, it can be found the teams are mostly led by men, she said. "From among the 100 or so startups, the number of women-led startups can be counted in single digits. This needs to change and that has to happen right on the campus," she said.
According to a student member of the core team of TIBIC, the incubation centre at the college will mentor women from financially backward communities.
"Even those women who had ended their career to take care of their families will get an opportunity to rediscover the businesswomen inside them. We have an understanding with the Kudumbashree and also the Startup Mission regarding this. Recently, five teachers of our college were trained in mentorship by experts from Startup Mission," she said.
These teachers, in turn, will guide the students in mentorship, she said. "An MoU was signed with SSZZEE designers on Thursday regarding incubation of the startups. They are the first incubatee of Teresian IEDC," she said. "Women who want to set up a business of their own will be helped not only in getting their ideas off starting blocks but also in expanding their businesses too," she added.