UN Women and WE HUB to Catalyze India’s Fashion Industry


The #IndustryDisruptor Challenge provides entrepreneurs of all genders with female-benefitting enterprises in India the chance to tackle sustainability issues in the fashion industry.

[Press Release]


NEW DELHI, INDIA – State-led incubator WE HUB will now be able to economically empower more women in India through its collaboration with the joint European Union-UN Women program WeEmpowerAsia.

The cooperation will bring together startups passionate about gender equality and eager to contribute to a more sustainable industry through the Industry Disruptor Challenge. Its purpose is to help enterprises scale and co-create products or services that positively impact or provide solutions for environmental, social and gender equality or economic challenges as well as access international supply chains.

UN Women‘s WeEmpowerAsia Regional Head Katja Freiwald expressed her excitement about the initiative, which will enhance India’s female entrepreneurial ecosystem and promote innovation that the fashion industry of the future will require. “Unlocking the potential of female-benefitting startups will not only generate a multiplier effect for economic development but is a driver of women’s empowerment.”

WE HUB, as the ecosystem partner of the Challenge, will provide technical support to The DO School in designing the curriculum for the final 20 winners. The unique 3-month support program will cover business development strategy, market access, mentorship and access to WE HUB’s robust peer community. 

The call-for-applications for this Challenge is open until June 21, 2020 and interested entrepreneurs can apply here.

To meet the minimum eligibility criteria of the challenge, the start-ups:

  • Should be female-led or owned or have a majority female team with a product or service that benefits women.
  • Should have a viable solution in the market and ready to scale.
  • Should operate in a fashion-related field or the broader retail industry.
  • Should be active in India (i.e. registered or operational in India) and entrepreneur should be 18 years or older).

The final set of chosen start-ups will receive a host of benefits to ensure their strategic growth, including: 

  • A unique incubation and mentorship program to help your venture contribute to a more sustainable and equitable fashion industry and insight on how to collaborate with corporate partners.
  • Opportunity to increase revenue and overall reach.
  • Connections with like-minded, passionate peers in India.
  • Access to the UN Women network to leverage the venture, make new connections, and raise awareness.
  • An online learning and support program.
  • A bootcamp together with representatives of corporates.
  • Individual coaching to develop and implement your solution.

As a group, UN Women is an entity dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment. It has four strategic priorities, one of which is for women to have income security, decent work and economic autonomy.

WeEmpowerAsia is a key initiative that translates and articulates UN Women’s commitment under the Women’s Economic Empowerment focus. With funding and support from the European Union, it runs in seven Asian countries including India.

For more information about WeEmpowerAsia, visit http://weempowerasia.org.


For further enquiries, please contact:

Suhela Khan
Country Programme Manager, WeEmpowerAsia India
UN Women
Email: [ Click to reveal ]

About WeEmpowerAsia
WeEmpowerAsia is a joint programme of the European Union and UN Women aiming to increase more women who lead and participate in private-sector businesses in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam, thereby advancing inclusive and sustainable growth along with stronger links between European and Asian markets through gender-sensitive trade and supply chains. The programme is strongly anchored in the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) and contributes to seven United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDGs 1, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 17.

About UN Women
UN Women is the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, the organization was established in 2010 to accelerate progress on women's rights worldwide. UN Women's efforts are based on the fundamental belief that every woman has the right to live a life free from violence, poverty, and discrimination, and that gender equality is a prerequisite to achieving global development.

About the European Union
The European Union is made up of 27 member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development while maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms.