Hatch the hub for all things startups, recently launched KICKASS, an incubation program to support and empower women in business. The program launched in March already concluded two chapters with the third to be started soon. The program was conducted online during the COVID-19 lockdown and all the participants were provided free access.
This program was specifically designed for women in order to address both fundamental business development skills as well as gender-specific elements faced by women in business which are often overlooked. The program covered areas such as building confidence to step up as a female founder, finding your voice and building your community, improving negotiation skills, and successfully balancing work-life.
The 13 women entrepreneurs who completed the second chapter were at different stages of their respective businesses and Hatch curated the program in such a way that it addressed the diverse needs of each business.
“Rather than lecture-based teaching which only focuses on academic knowledge, a workshop and activity-based mentorship allow participants to carry out a number of activities and measure results through trial and error,” commented Naomi Gunnels, Program Directress of KICKASS with 10+ years of experience in global business and digital marketing.
“Most of the founders had an early stage business that was already generating revenue. They needed guidance in business registrations, sourcing materials, areas of finance such as cash flow and pricing as well as areas in marketing especially E-commerce. We were able to connect them with experts from diverse fields to provide solutions and guidance to address specific problems relating to their businesses,” Naomi further added.
In addition to each business showing progress despite the pandemic, the program led to profitable collaborations between participants and generated further revenue for many of the startups.
“We needed practical solutions during the pandemic and that is exactly what the KICKASS program delivered. The knowledge and experience shared by Naomi, the other mentors, and all the power women participating in the program, paved the way to drastic improvements in my startup. I was able to increase sales and my target market reach improved immensely,” said Zainab Miskin who runs Lilac Kuküns, a curated gifting service based in Colombo.
“It really helps to be in a class that supports each other. I saw a change in me, my approach to business and the feedback I received from customers turned out to be positive than before. This ‘grow by helping each other’ mindset needs more circulation as it yields a good outcome”, shared Surangi who runs Curvo101, a plus-size clothing brand.
In addition to this, Hatch also facilitates Open House, which is a weekly mentoring session that connects mentors with startup founders for support in different business areas such as marketing, HR, finance, strategy, and many other aspects. Hatch also initiated Sri Lanka’s first fintech acceleration program that is currently guiding seven startups to offer financial services for not just Sri Lankans, but also for people from the South Asian region to navigate sophisticated financial markets and remain globally competitive.
More details about the Open House mentorship program can be obtained via writing to [email protected].