Women’s Entrepreneurship Day 2021: How the ladies are powering India’s economic growth like never before!

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Updated: November 20, 2021 10:43 AM

The influx of women into the workforce over the past half century and their meteoric rise in senior managerial roles and professional careers is one of the major developments of contemporary society.

women EntrepreneurThe market is equal for all and there is nothing that a woman can’t do.

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me?” — Ayn Rand

Societies in which women can’t realize their full potential stand to lose out tremendously on achieving economic growth, gender equality, innovation, as well as livelihood creation. The influx of women into the workforce over the past half century and their meteoric rise in senior managerial roles and professional careers is one of the major developments of contemporary society. While many Indian women have entrepreneurial aspirations, the current socio-economic atmosphere has been an unparalleled enabler in making them take the first step down this path. With the proliferation of literacy, affordable higher education options and growing awareness, today we witness a large number of unicorns having women co-founders and success stories like the recent Nykaa IPO shine a spotlight on the ladies, women entrepreneurs have more than proved capable of building and scaling successful ventures.

Women’s Entrepreneurs Day is celebrated every 19th November in more than 150 countries around the world. It was started in 2014 by Mz. Wendy Diamond, after she volunteered with the Adelante Foundation which provides microcredit to low income women in Honduras. Upon her return to the US, she wanted to create a platform to help with similar causes. The first edition was observed in 144 countries that year.

Women entrepreneurs can contribute to the economy as job creators, which is a space woman, are rapidly taking to across India. One of the major growth factors for this has been the power of women in small businesses who are leveraging the internet and using digital media to reach millions of customers.

Financial Express Online spoke to a few women entrepreneurs to understand their journey, challenges and advice to their sister entrepreneurs.Ms. Ketika Kapoor, Cofounder and CEO, ProEves, shared “My journey as a woman entrepreneur started with motherhood. Juggling between personal and professional lives, I realized that without the right childcare support system it would be difficult for women to continue working after motherhood. With a motive to introduce a platform that can help working mothers and parents realize their full potential and achieve some much-needed childcare and early education support, my then colleague, and now co-founder – Divya, launched ProEves. It was a challenging task to fulfill this ambitious goal to bring transparency, flexibility, assured quality and credibility to a largely unregulated market. But with hard work, dedication and courage, we can proudly say that we have become the fastest growing aggregator of preschools/daycares, and the largest corporate childcare benefit management partner.In my personal opinion, we as women are very critical of ourselves and our achievements. It’s important we don’t apply this self-limiting bias to ourselves and pat ourselves every day for things we have done and plan to do!”

Ms. Priyanka Sehgal, Founder of Sparkles, says that “Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, being a woman entrepreneur is hard and being a woman entrepreneur in the Dating/ Relationships category is even harder! I think the startup ecosystem has the largest number of separations. There’ve been challenges and just when you think you’ve kept it together, something else falls apart. But you keep moving. We are warriors, fighting every day for our dreams to make other people’s problems go away.

I’ve always believed in following my dreams but backing it up with research. Build and test, there are no shortcuts. Nothing can replace the years of toil and struggle. Entrepreneurship journey will be fraught full of uncertainty, but not knowing is also your biggest strength. It needs to be harnessed, and when you are ready that means you will succeed.”

Undaunted by corona, backed by sheer resoluteness and perseverance, Sakshi Pokharna is taking Women Entrepreneurship to new highs.

At the young age of 30 years, leaving her established profession and starting a brand new business that too storytelling, about which the common man does not even know, was a great challenge in itself. She knew she was taking a huge risk. But Sakshi Pokharna took this risk with determination and started a media consulting firm called Mediatricks Multimedia Private Ltd along with her mother-in-law Dr. Babita Pokharna. This company is a Reputation Management Company and it does the work of brand building of the people. Sakshi works across a range of different sectors, providing a customised service to each and every one of her clients, thus enhancing their brand’s performance.

Starting on a small scale, it is surprising that in less than a year, this company has served more than 100 people in building their brand. Today big celebrities, film stars, politicians, businessmen, public figures and other important personalities are in Sakshi Pokharna’s client list. Sakshi’s company has even helped ordinary people to build their ‘Brand Value’ in the digital world and this work is in continuous progress. With her dedication, perseverance and creativity, Sakshi who started from scratch has certainly achieved many milestones along her professional journey.

Ms. Adetee Agarwaal, Founder, PinkAprons, stated that “My entrepreneurial journey is equivalent to the roller coaster ride, but I believe in living every moment to the fullest. Afterall, we are learning every day after working for our own organisation to make it big one day. My role has been that of a captain, of a restless ship, that is trying to reach the shore but giant waves and massive rocks are stopping its movement. But I am proud of our PA team, a family of 500+ home chefs and 20K+ customers, who believe in PinkAprons vision, and support me wholeheartedly to make sure that ship reaches the shore, eventually. During the period of my entrepreneurship as a woman, I have witnessed one of the major challenges that is the mindset of the society towards women entrepreneurs. There is a myth that women can’t launch a startup, run it efficiently, and grow it. But, no regrets, because what matters at the end of the day is results, and that our startup is achieving. I believe it is important to trust your own capabilities and believe them too at the same time. Seek help and assistance, but don’t depend on them. Seek advice from family, friends, and relatives but do what you are supposed to do to make your dream come true. And trust me, dreams do come true, she concluded.”

Pallavi Agarwal, Founder of goSTOPS said, “An avid traveller myself, I love exploring new locations and experiencing new cultures. The seeds of my entrepreneurial journey were planted during one such trip to Europe in 2012, when I experienced backpacker hostels for the first time. Thus, the idea of goSTOPS was incubated in my mind, and it is exhilarating to have created a brand that today enjoys a growing number of footprints across India.

As an entrepreneur, it has been both personally and professionally fulfilling to be able to create jobs and sustain livelihoods. Not just for my team at goSTOPS and the stakeholders we work with, but also the entire ecosystem we have set up at 27 locations so far, and expanding. I have built a domain where scores of indirect employment opportunities are generated by us via the guests at our properties, as tourism gives a major boost to ancillary industries. We focus on bringing off-beat locations into the map, and this helps connect them with visitors looking for fresh experiences. It creates a significant impact with far-reaching ripples, right from generating economic benefits to contributing towards reducing pollution. Off-beat locations help disperse the crowd from popular locations to different areas, thus limiting the transformation of a location into concrete jungle.

The market is equal for all and there is nothing that a woman can’t do. However, it isn’t always easy to break out of the patriarchal mould that both a man and a woman in India is raised in. But there are always examples of strong woman who have broken the norms and paved the way for future generations. Women bring in a range of unique skills and talents in every role they undertake. The women entrepreneurs of today are setting an example by blazing a similar path. They are great at building a robust network of support and financial aid that is critical for entrepreneurial success and upliftment of an economy that is growing.

My advice to women thinking of becoming entrepreneurs is they must believe in their own capabilities and work towards building the necessary aptitude and resilience. There will be challenges, and mistakes will be made. But forge ahead, even if it is one step at a time.”

Ms. Nupur Khandelwal, Co-Founder, Navia Life Care stated that “I started my professional journey working in Corporate and worked for almost 4 years in different companies in various roles. My journey so far as co-founder of Navia Life Care has been extraordinary and the learning’s are incomparable. Running a company is demanding and challenging. However, what has always kept me going is the impact that we’ve been able to create in the healthcare ecosystem, by digitizing thousands of doctors and hence touching the lives of millions of patients.”

Conclusion

Women entrepreneurs need to understand their strengths and once realize their own potential, they can create miracles! All we need to do is to support them and empower other women to achieve great things.

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