The main aim of the Wireless Women for Entrepreneurship & Empowerment (W2E2) program is to create women’s micro-level social enterprises based on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and develop women entrepreneurs supported by wireless Internet in 4 backward districts of India and contribute to an enabling Internet environment and Internet for gender inclusion and women empowerment.
The objectives of the program are:
- To promote Internet-based social enterprises and entrepreneurship among women as change agents
- To have Internet and ICT for gender inclusion in social and economic empowerment
- To boost traditional skills among women in cluster-based environment, help them reach markets and ensure sustainability
Background support to the Program
The program is based on the strengths of the existing programme activities under the ‘Wireless for Communities’ (W4C) program, a joint initiative of Digital Empowerment Foundation and Internet Society. The W4C program provides low-cost high-quality Internet connectivity in remote unconnected and rural areas of India.
While it is apparent that W4C locations would have broadband available for usage, it is important to boost the usage wide across the regions. This is possible only through the showcase of Internet’s use for business and sustainability so that the maximum number of entrepreneurs takes advantage of Internet and shows its strength as required for social and economic development. On the other hand, it is also important to explore how mobile and other wireless based Internet connectivity like through data card impacts the usage of Internet if adopted for the day-to-day usage and creates demand for Internet usage.
Following are a few selected case studies of trainees under the W2E2 programme who have successfully started using computers and Internet to improve their livelihood. Some of them aspire to become entrepreneurs while others want to spread the knowledge they have gained wide across their community.