media, connect with customers using its platforms, promote and advertise through YouTube and AdWords, and even monitor performance through its analytics tools.
WEOW has another distinction. In contrast to many of its ideas that take shape in its Silicon Valley campus, WEOW, an outcome of Google’s targeted business diversity programme for women entrepreneurs, has been incubated entirely in India. “India has one of the largest number of women entrepreneurs across the world, around 1.3 million, which makes it a perfect place for us to pilot this initiative. In addition, we see that many women have taken a break from their careers to balance home and work and have set up small businesses too,” says Keerthana Mohan, diversity and inclusion manager at Google.
The key difference, when compared with other social networks, is that WEOW organises regular workshops where entrepreneurs interact face-to-face and exchange notes. “We have participants from across the country and we’ve conducted on-site events in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune. Participants can also connect with us via hangouts,” says Mohan.
Neela Kaushik, runs gurgaonmoms.com, a community for mothers in Gurgaon who are managing their home-based businesses and her own digital media agency. “The biggest advantage of joining WEOW is the kind of visibility our businesses get. My business is in the bootstrapping stage and I cannot afford to advertise through conventional media. Registering on WEOW costs nothing, but the reach and branding is much higher. My business has acquired great visibility and the effect is viral,” says Kaushik.
Bangalore-based Archana Doshi an IT professional-turned-entrepreneur has been running archanaskitchen.com since 2007. She says, “There are many entrepreneurs who may know that a website ensures online presence, but do not know how to connect with customers, or how to use social media to tap business opportunities. At these forums, we teach them to deploy these tools effectively and use the enormous reach of the Web.”
WEOW has its sights on smaller cities too. “We wish to expand our reach to Tier-II cities and rural areas. Our long-term goals are to create a self-sustaining community of women entrepreneurs who collaborate