Google India has recently launched the Women Entrepreneurs on the Web (WEOW) program to create an online presence and community for women entrepreneurs in India. WEOW is currently being piloted in India and serves to offer best practices and learnings to a community of women-run businesses.
The times, they aren’t a-changin’. Well, when it comes to women’s equality in the workplace, they’re changing more slowly than they should. What have you heard about the new Women Entrepreneurs on the Web program? Nothing? Google it. I’ll wait.
I name drop the search engine because the aforementioned initiative (also known as WEOW) was launched by Google just yesterday. It aims to provide a more prominent online presence for women entrepreneurs in India using a five circle approach that starts with building a foundation on the Web, catalyzing collaborations and ultimately connecting them with customers. This is purported to result in women’s organizations being elevated and more visible, giving a new spin to the acronym SEO: Search Entrepreneur Optimization, anyone?
According to a press release that hasn’t yet made much of a splash in the news, Google says it “realized that [women] were true entrepreneurs who were not afraid to try new things, yet many were unaware of various products that can be used to leverage the full potential of the Internet… The large number of women entrepreneurs in India made it a natural decision for us to pilot this initiative.”
Co-launched by Pooja Srinivas, an associate manager at Google India, the initiative has already registered several domains this month, including WomenEntrepreneursOnTheWeb.com. (Ownership was transferred to Google once the site went public.)
WEOW is being piloted exclusively in India. Part social network, part support system, it’s built around a community of women-run businesses (or businesses who have at least a female co-founder) to provide collaborative learnings covering various Web technologies, engaging with customers, promoting business and optimizing the online space. Not to mix up brands too much, it’s sort of an eBay for social innovation.
Should this program be brought to America (and with entrepreneurial leadership like the brilliant Marissa Mayer at Google’s Mountain View campus, there’s no reason why it won’t–unless it totally flops), the social media community may find themselves in an interesting situation. How does this come across to you: Is Google hoping to further curate the Internet–from the inside of unique businesses currently offline? Or does this initiative help level the playing field for women entrepreneurs?
I’ll refrain from commenting because it’s just too new and too fascinating in its current nascent stage. I will be following WEOW’s progress, and document developments. Given the smaller scope and scale of so many businesses (especially those founded in rural areas), this could, at very least, bring women entrepreneurs into the building where the glass ceiling is only still cracking.