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Social innovation enterprise founded by IMD alumna is Top 3 finalist at Swiss venture awards

A social innovation venture founded by EMBA graduate Smita Suchde Gruetter has come second in the 2023 >>venture>> Startup Competition in the not-for-profit category, recognizing the work done by HEMLATA to empower young women from India’s lower socio-economic strata as role models to transform communities and inspire change.
June 2023

HEMLATA, which aims to help young women from India’s underserved populations complete higher education at accredited colleges in India as well as equip them with vital life skills, was selected as a Top 3 finalist out of 336 organizations that entered the competition. Following a day of final pitches to jurors, HEMLATA was awarded second place. 

“There is no doubt that this award is a recognition of HEMLATA’s purpose and passion to unlock the potential for young women as role models to lead with dignity and transform their communities. Thank you, Venture, for providing HEMLATA this opportunity to highlight our work,” said Suchde Gruetter, who completed her EMBA at IMD in 2016. 

Each HEMLATA scholar receives tuition, lodging, meals, a laptop, and even a stipend for pocket money. In addition, each is accompanied by a mentor from outside of India to allow for different perspectives, and receives coaching to help them with problem solving, interpersonal relationship skills, empathy, and coping with stress and emotions.  

“That’s a fantastic recognition of your efforts and impact.”

IMD President, Jean-François Manzoni

As of 2023, HEMLATA has collaborated with IMD coaches, headed by Susan Goldsworthy, Affiliate Professor of Leadership, Communications and Organizational Change, to support the scholars and their mentors in their life skills journey. 

“I particularly liked the holistic approach in providing scholarships and support to young Indian women with high potential, including coaching by IMD specialists, and I was very impressed with the ambition, vision and passion of the founding entrepreneurs,” said Peter Wuffli, Chairman of the philanthropic impact investor elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization, who was one of the jurors in the competition. 

IMD President Jean-François Manzoni congratulated Suchde Gruetter for being selected as one of the three finalists in the not-for-profit category. “That’s a fantastic recognition of your efforts and impact,” he said.  

Launched in 1997, >>venture>> is the leading competition for up-and-coming entrepreneurs in Switzerland. The competition empowers young innovators to develop their business ideas into startup companies. 

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