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CircuLead is a 6-week programme designed to empower women entrepreneurs building innovative solutions in the Resource Efficiency (RE) or Circular Economy (CE) sectors. The programme aims to support women leaders strengthen business models, deepen leadership skills and learn from peers through a hybrid, immersive learning experience.

The EU-Resource Efficiency Initiative (EU-REI) is implementing CircuLead programme with support from Nüshu Network, powered by Unlock Impact.

EU-REI is implemented on behalf of the EU by a consortium led by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Confederation of the Indian Industry (CII) and adelphi. 


  • Comprehensive Leadership Training: Participants will have access to a 3-week virtual self-paced leadership and gender modules. These modules are enriched with reflective assignments and offer opportunities for peer learning.

  • Interactive Sessions with Successful Leaders in the space: Engage in interactive panel discussions and sessions with accomplished leaders in the sustainability space. Learn from successful business models and gain insights from influential figures within the ecosystem.

  • Toolkits and frameworks on leadership, gender, and business: Gain access to a comprehensive set of toolkits and frameworks on leadership, gender dynamics, business strategies, and circular economy business models including impact metrics. These resources are thoughtfully curated to empower you with valuable insights and skills to elevate your leadership capabilities and deepen your understanding of running a successful business in the sustainability space.

  • In-Person Experiential Workshop: Join us in Delhi on October 30-31 2023 for an engaging two-day learning workshop. Explore circular economy business models, refine resource efficiency practices, enhance leadership skills, and craft a compelling personal brand as a woman entrepreneur. The programme will cover travel and accommodation.

  • Community of women entrepreneurs: After the programme, become part of the vibrant Nüshu Network, where you can connect with fellow women entrepreneurs and build a sense of community, offering support and networking opportunities.

  • Industry and Sector-Based Expertise:  Immerse yourself in the learnings of industry experts from adelphi and Unlock Impact, and gain insights on how to integrate circular economy principles with sustainable business practices.

  • Funder Networks: Seize the chance to connect with sector investors through live pitching sessions, potentially opening doors to valuable funding opportunities for your ventures.




Businesses with a Resource Efficiency or Circular Economy solution who:

  • Have at least 51% women ownership or are founded by a woman

  • Have at least 1 or more women in senior leadership roles

  • Are registered as a for-profit enterprise 

  • Are located anywhere in India

  • Have at least a Minimum Viable Product (MVP); ideally with proof of concept and early traction

  • Are interested in or already applying gender-smart practices in the value chain


*The programme prioritizes those located outside of metro cities with limited access to entrepreneur networks and learning programmes.

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How it works

The curriculum is designed to capacitate women entrepreneurs in topics across leadership, gender, and business to build strong, innovative models in RE and CE. The programme will be implemented in a hybrid format with virtual live sessions, and self-paced learning modules, culminating in a two-day in-person workshop in New Delhi on 30 & 31 October. The travel and accommodation costs of the participants for the in-person workshop will be covered by the programme.

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WEEK 1 - 9th October 2023 (Virtual)

Programme Kickoff​​

Imposter Syndrome

Programme introduction and overview, followed by a panel discussion with entrepreneurs and leaders in the circular economy/resource efficiency sector.

Identify triggers that initiate and/or intensify Imposter Syndrome, and challenge underlying self-beliefs and assumptions, as well as actionable tips and tools to manage the Impostor Syndrome.

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WEEK 2 - 16th October 2023 (Virtual)

Building a strong Company Culture

Building a strong company culture is particularly relevant for women entrepreneurs as it creates an inclusive and supportive environment where they can thrive.

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WEEK 3 - 23 October 2023 (Virtual)

Building your Personal Brand

Building a personal brand is essential for women entrepreneurs as it allows them to establish their identity, credibility, and influence in the business world. It helps differentiate them from competitors, build trust, attract opportunities, and showcase their expertise. “An authentic you”.

WEEK 4 - 30 & 31 October (In-person workshop in Delhi)

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To understand the basics of investment readiness and what it means for an early-stage business, and as a woman entrepreneur, how to navigate unconscious biases (or otherwise) by being prepared.

Investment Readiness

2-day in-person workshop on
Leadership & Business Skills in Delhi

The 2-day workshop in New Delhi and aims to elevate participants' leadership potential and impact through experiential learning focused on leadership skills and circular economy business models. It will also facilitate interactions with sector investors through pitching sessions. The travel accommodation costs for the participants will be covered by the programme.

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About us

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About EU-REI

EU–REI (European Union – Resource Efficiency India) project aims to foster efficient and sustainable use of resources in India. The overall objective is to support India in the implementation of the UN global sustainable consumption and production (SCP) agenda by way of adapting international standards and business best-practices on resource efficiency. EU–REI builds on the learnings from the GIZ – Resource Efficiency project, thus the policy background has given rise to the demand for this project. The EU–India strategic partnership provides its multilateral context; sectoral studies and action plans provide the situation of the four sectors targeted by the project, i.e. mobility, construction, renewable energy and resource recovery from waste. The project is implemented on behalf of the EU by a consortium led by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Confederation of the Indian Industry (CII) and adelphi.


About adelphi

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adelphi is Europe's leading independent think-and-do tank for climate, environment and development. We are some 350 strategists, thought leaders and practitioners working at the local and global levels to find solutions to the most urgent political, economic and social challenges of our time. As a policy consultancy, we support a just transition towards carbon neutrality and sustainable, liveable societies. Our work is grounded in transdisciplinary research, evidence-based consulting and stakeholder dialogues. With these tools we shape policy agendas, facilitate political communication, inform policy processes and support decision-makers.

About Nüshu Network

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Nüshu Network offers community, coaching, and capital for women entrepreneurs in Asia who are looking to build and grow sustainable enterprises. We believe women-led businesses build for long-term change and are an integral part of equitable economies. We back women-led businesses of all types, even those that may not qualify as hyper-growth under the lens of traditional capital, but are creating models with healthy profitability, growth, and impact. Nüshu Network is an initiative from Unlock Impact, a firm dedicated to help purpose-driven enterprises succeed.

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About Unlock Impact

Unlock Impact is a women-led gender-smart firm that works across South and Southeast Asia. We bring together experience, knowledge, and networks to help growing, purpose-driven enterprises deliver measurable impact. Unlock Impact operates through three verticals - Comms Ninja, Nüshu Network, and Villgro Philippines. Over the last 6 years, we have delivered 13,000+ hours of communications and marketing support, worked with 90+ social impact startups, and built a community of 500+ women entrepreneurs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to apply for CircuLead?

Step 1: Download the application form in Word format from the CircuLead website. You will find the application form when you click on "Download Application Form"

Step 2: Please fill out the answers to the questions in the Word document 

Step 3: Prepare the following to attach the following to your application: certification/ proof of business registration, pitch deck, company logo, photo of entrepreneur

Step 4: Once you have filled up the form, please email your completed application and attachments with the subject line: "CircuLead Application Form - [Name of Enterprise]" to

Please note:

  • Questions marked * are compulsory to attempt. Not attempting the question may lead to rejection of the application. 


Who is eligible for the CircuLead programme?

Businesses with a resource efficiency or circular economy solution who:

  • Have at least 51% women ownership or are founded by a woman

  • Have at least 1 or more women in senior leadership roles

  • Are registered as a for-profit enterprise 

  • Are located anywhere in India 

  • Have at least a Minimum Viable Product (MVP); ideally with proof of concept and early traction

  • Are interested in or already applying gender-smart practices in the value chain

*The program will prioritise those located outside of metro cities with limited access to entrepreneur networks and learning programmes


Does my company have to be registered/incorporated for me to apply?

You can apply if:

  • You have a registered for-profit company/entity

  • Have at least a Minimum Viable Product

How many hours of commitment is required for the programme?

Virtual hours: On average, 2 hours of commitment weekly to go through the self-paced video models and work on the reflection assignment over 4 weeks.

In-person workshop: 2-day in-person workshop on leadership and RE/CE business models in New Delhi on 30th & 31st of October 2023. The travel and accommodation costs will be covered for the participants.


Is the programme virtual? Do I need to be physically present for any event?

The programme has a hybrid design model within a 4-week virtual program along with a 2-day in-person workshop in New Delhi.


Are there any participation fees for the programme?

No. The programme is free of charge for all participants


What can I expect from the CircuLead programme?

Through the programme you can expect to:

  • Build your knowledge on cutting-edge tools, and tried and tested methodologies to help grow and strengthen RE and CE business models

  • Become a more effective leader by addressing blind spots, navigating gender biases and making decisions with greater confidence

  • Enhance your skills and understanding on circular economy and resource efficiency business models through insights from leaders in the sector

  • Learn from and access a community of peer women entrepreneurs going through similar learnings and challenges


Is it compulsory to attempt all the assignments and attend the in-person workshop?

Full participation in all programme elements, including self-paced learning modules, reflection assignments, reflection circles, peer discussions, and attending the 2-day in-person workshop on 30th & 31st October 2023 in New Delhi, is mandatory. Please ensure you are available for these activities through the programme.

Do I need to speak and understand English for the programme?

The programme will be conducted in English. You will need basic fluency in the language to get the most out of the programme.

How do I know if my business follows resource efficiency and circular economy principles?

  • If your business follows circular economy principles like resource efficiency, waste reduction in product design, renewable energy sources for operations, and supply chain practices. 

  • If your business promotes recycling, eco-friendly packaging, and energy efficiency.

How will the applications be evaluated?

Our team of experts will evaluate each application and select the most eligible startups to participate in the programme based on the business model and the circular economy principles incorporated in the business. Considerations will include fulfilling eligibility criteria and the scope of viability/scalability of the business venture among various other things.

My startup is at an idea stage. Can I still apply for the programme?

The programme has been designed to address the needs and challenges of women entrepreneurs in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Therefore the programme will not be able to provide support to an enterprise that is not yet operating. If you have a minimum viable product or some early proof of concept you are eligible.

What is the duration of the programme?

The programme will be spread across 4 weeks which will include 4 weeks of virtual self-paced learning modules on gender and leadership and will culminate in a 2-day in-person workshop in New Delhi on 30th & 31st October 2023. 

Will I receive any funding for my startup?

The programme is designed as a capacity-building and training programme. As part of the programme, you will receive training to get investment-ready and opportunities to connect with investors or other stakeholders. However, the programme does not provide any direct funding to the participants.

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