Wireless Women for Entrepreneurship & Empowerment

Wireless Women for Entrepreneurship & Empowerment (W2E2) aims to create ICT-based micro-level social enterprises owned and managed by women. In an effort to create an army of grassroots-level women entrepreneurs, W2E2 provides required infrastructure (including a computer, printer-cum-scanner and wireless Internet connectivity) to 50 women selected under this project in five locations of India —  Baran in Rajasthan, Chanderi and Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh, Ranchi in Jharkhand and Tura in Meghalaya.

Launched in 2014, W2E2 is an initiative that has emerged out of the umbrella project of Wireless for Communities that provides low-cost, high-quality Internet connected in rural and remote locations of India.

Through W2E2, DEF aims to contribute to an enabling Internet environment that is gender inclusive. Therefore, W2E2 promotes Internet-based social enterprises and entrepreneurship among women as change agents for social and economic empowerment. Activities under the project also help boost traditional skills among women in cluster-based environments, subsequently enabling them to reach markets and ensure improved livelihoods for their households and better sustainability for their produce/services.

For the purpose, selected women are given a six-month training  in digital literacy and their capacity is built to own and run their individual enterprises. Three months into the programme, they were engaged in Helping Women Go Online (HWGO), a Google-sponsored initiative, a more elaborate project to help women receive digital literate to get online. These women are also supported in setting up their micro-enterprises by providing them infrastructure — such as hardware, software, ICT vocational skills, digital tools and wireless Internet connectivity — to strengthen their entrepreneurship skills and status. And the results have been overwhelming. While some women aspire to grow their enterprises, others want to share their knowledge with peers and youngsters in the community. But they all are heading towards a more informed and better equipped future.