Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs application process

The application period has closed. Those admitted or wait-listed for the program have been notified via email.

Announcing training, mentoring, and support for aspiring women entrepreneurs (AWE)
Addressing the needs of Indian student innovators interested in starting enterprises
Mentoring, workshops, and travel to the US, for exploration of the potential of start-up ideas
Female students at Indian universities are invited to apply for the spring 2018 program

businesswoman thinking

The US Department of State has engaged The University of Texas at Austin to provide entrepreneurship training, mentoring, and support for female students currently enrolled at Indian universities. Students may apply for admission to the program, noting an idea that they would like to explore in terms of commercialization. Ideas may be based on scientific or technological research undertaken at university, innovation created by the student independently, or innovation of others that students believe they could support.

The program will provide three integrated experiences to help students understand the potential of their specific business ideas and the challenges of moving forward:

1. Following an orientation session, students selected for the program will take a six-week (April 3 to May 11) online course called “Innovation Readiness.” The course will require approximately four hours of time per week, including time viewing online modules, completing assignments, and engaging in conversations with a mentor. Students will be mentored via distance and will have a weekly skype call with their mentors. Taking the online course should be compatible with completing ongoing university coursework, as the course can be accessed from any location at any time.

2. Following completion of the online course, students will meet for an intense weekend workshop (May 18-20) at the Nexus Startup Hub at the American Center New Delhi. (For participants residing outside of Delhi, transportation to and lodging in New Delhi will be provided.) At this time, students may choose to collaborate on promising enterprise ideas or continue to work independently. The workshop will emphasize practical next steps and analysis of potential market opportunities and challenges. Instructors from The University of Texas at Austin as well as mentors from the Delhi community and experienced female entrepreneurs will work closely with participants.

3. In June, students will join, for two weeks, a program in Austin, Texas (Jun 19-29, with air travel beginning the evening of Jun 17 and return to India by Jun 31). Working in collaborative teams with University of Texas students, Indian and American students will explore commercial opportunities for the group’s Indian innovations in both India and the US, as well as other markets. American students may continue to advise Indian students on opportunities later in the summer. Travel expenses will be covered by the program.

Following successful completion of these three steps, participants will be expected to (a) stay in touch with their American counterparts during the month of July for updates on opportunities and (b) present their findings to a group of entrepreneurs and mentors at the Nexus Startup Hub (in person or via video/Skype) and to report periodically to Nexus managers on progress related to their innovations or their career development.

Timeline for the 2018 application / selection process:

  • February-March: Opportunities to attend meetings about the program
  • March 16: Priority date for completed application forms received via email
  • March 17-20: Limited rolling admissions may be considered as space permits
  • March 23: Notification to women accepted or wait-listed for the program
  • March 29: Information session at Nexus for those accepted or wait-listed (also webcast) and their parents
  • April 2: Commitment letters due

Qualifications to apply:

  • Female student currently enrolled at an Indian university
  • Graduate or undergraduate status
  • Eligibility for US visa and travel
  • Ability to describe a specific idea for commercialization
  • Ideas may be based on
    • university / student research or
    • other innovation that the student has the ability to support

Applications will be judged on student motivation, student readiness to take an idea to market, and viability of the potential business.

For more information email