Role of Women Entrepreneurship Towards more Inclusive Economic Growth

19 Case Studies of Women Entrepreneurs

By Mridula Velagapudi

All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author. © Mridula Velagapudi Published by Mridula Velagapudi v_mridula@yahoo.com Powered by Pothi.com http://pothi.com Disclaimer: The data information in this book was current till 2010 and makes no representation of accuracy and completeness. It is for reference only. It is not intended to be relied upon or be a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly author does not accept any liability for any loss which may arise from any reliance on the data in this book or its contents or howsoever arising.

To The Womanhood And The Spirit of Entrepreneurship

I would like to thank all the Women Entrepreneurs who have shared their experiences with me so candidly. This book is the culmination of the cooperation which I received from all these enterprising women. I would also like to thank my little daughter Ishanvi, who is two and a half years old, and has co-operated so well by keeping herself occupied with coloring, painting and play-dough while I wrote.

Table of Contents
The Home-sprung Models
Preen The Passion................................................. 27
Jyoti Ramnath, CraftMy Gift

Capture The Household Services Pie.................. 33
Tiffanie Kinder, Nanny Connections Manjiri Gokhale Joshi, Maya CARE

Address The Niche Segments
Outsourced CMO Model...................................... 57
Sudha Kumar, Prayag Consulting

The Outsourced CFO Model................................ 67
Anjana Vivek, VentureBean Consulting

Morph Your Skills Into A New „Avatar‟.............. 79
Anju Maudgal Kadam, Unitus India

The Emerging Segments & Trends Online Collaboration In Verticals
Niche E-commerce And Web 3.0......................... 91
Chandini Harlalka, Artflute.com

Tweak The Supply-Side In Your Business Model................................................... 100
Pallavi Keshri, Eyaas.com

Present The Alternative...................................... 109
Maura Chari, Wellnessocean.com

Job Site For A Vertical – Women With Career Break................................ 119
Kachina Chawla, Gharkamai.com Maneesha Sarin, Gharkamai.com

The Emerging Segments & Trends The Start-up Revolution
Exploring New Definitions................................ 138
Nandini Hirianniah, The Morpheus

The Recession Proof Corner Education Industry
Integrate „The Change‟ Into Traditional Format...............................................153
Dakshayini Kanna, Treamis World School

Tutoring the New Skills – Cashing On the Niche Demographically............................... 161
Manju Rai, FACET

Embracing The Environment Level Challenges
Waste Management............................................ 171
Poonam Bir Kasturi, Dailydump

Responsible Consumerism................................ 183
Aparna Bhatnagar, Green And Good Store

Cause Haun, See Kai Run Selma Avdicevic, Woolly Boo

E-learning............................................................ 214
Deepa Bhat, Mybeehive.in

“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity! But I made it! Don‟t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them” – Madam C.J. Walker [December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919] An African-American Businesswoman, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

Recently I read the speech delivered by Steve Jobs [Steve Jobs‟ Convocation Speech (Stanford); delivered 12 June 2005, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA]. Till date it has been the most inspiring article from an entrepreneur‟s point of view for me; especially the third story narrated in that speech. The first paragraph of that story goes like this: When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33years, I’ve looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. The speech goes further to say, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs‟ speech has a strong message for everybody. If you ask yourself the same question and you honestly get „no‟ as answer for whatever you are doing [whether being a homemaker or a working woman, or a working woman balancing home and work], then you need to rethink about what you want to do. No one would deny that the flavor of freedom is the best. There is nothing better than working for yourself and making your life more meaningful beyond the boundaries of home and family. There are numerous books written on entrepreneurship. I have decided to

focus on the women entrepreneurial stories. The objective is to compile the real-time experiences of the women entrepreneurs, who have carved out a success path for themselves. It is aimed at understanding the basis behind their achievements and failures – how have they overcome various obstacles and integrated the pieces to chalk out their business strategies. I am presenting the stories/entrepreneurial journeys as interviews, so that you get a first-hand understanding of the entirety of starting up a business. I have focused the interviews on some of the threads which run common in all types of entrepreneurial ventures. They also carry significant weightage as building blocks [some subjective in nature and some objective in nature] for the entrepreneurial phenomenon. These blocks are Ideating, Finding a Co-founder, Funding and Striking a Balance between Family and the New Venture. Dealing with the subject of women entrepreneurs is not meant to show any gender bias! Neither it is about women‟s liberation. The urban India has come a long way from that. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that when compared with men, women have to overcome and embrace more obstacles and responsibilities in order to fulfil their entrepreneurial dreams. Therefore, I have chosen to write about their entrepreneurial stories in order to boost the morale of many aspiring entrepreneurs. This book should inspire any aspiring entrepreneur equally – man or woman. The term Entrepreneurship itself has been extended into many fields to include terms, such as Social Entrepreneurship, Political Entrepreneurship and even Mompreneurship. So, when I say Women Entrepreneurship [or Woman Entrepreneurs], the focus is to present the different kinds of ventures that they take-up as startups and also to show the importance of their coexistence in the business world. Generally, the women entrepreneurs take up the areas, which may get ignored in the glamour of a perceived

„Corporate Culture‟; not that the entry to those areas is limited to women only. Just like women, even men can explore such opportunities. Hence, I say that this book should be inspirational for both men and women – equally. Let us come out of a deadlock here – the deadlock, which almost immediately shoots up the question of whether a particular piece of work [a book, an art work, or any publication], which highlights the „woman‟ aspect in it, is actually sex agnostic or not. I would encourage the readers to think broadly. I would encourage you to ascend higher than the narrowly debated topic and give importance to the fact that women have very different organizational skills and have different leadership and management styles. It is noted that with more than 3 women in top management positions, companies tend to have better ROI and ROA. Gender Diverse Management is for business cases these days. Women‟s leadership and management styles accentuate on better decision-making: not only in board meetings but also in identifying the entrepreneurial opportunities. [This will become more vivid when you read the sectors in which women have ventured with their startups]. In pursuit of my own passion, I have included a section on „Why Women Entrepreneurship?‟ It brings forth the scientific approach to understand the importance of women entrepreneurship. Hence the objective of choosing Women Entrepreneurship is two-pronged. The primary objective is to inspire more women into taking up entrepreneurship as their career and add wealth and value both for themselves and for the society at large. What can be better than presenting the entrepreneurial stories of the women for inspiring the women? The secondary objective of choosing Women Entrepreneurship is to encourage any aspiring entrepreneur both man and woman equally. There is now enough evidence, which proves that entrepreneurship is the sure way to economic development. It doesn‟t matter

how big or small an entrepreneurial venture is, or which field of entrepreneurship does a venture addresses to. The crux of the matter is that it is the collective phenomena of entrepreneurship, which contributes to the GDP growth, job creation and ultimately wealth creation for the economy and the society as a whole. At the same time the irony of the fact is that the smaller scale entrepreneurs and many classified fields of entrepreneurship do not get as much emphasis as their bigger scale, traditionally defined entrepreneur counterparts do. The role of media in making all kinds of entrepreneurial stories, as visible as possible, is important. This is crucial from the point of view of encouraging more entrepreneurial and innovative thinking, to bolster competitiveness. Once again, what can be better than presenting the entrepreneurial stories of that section of our society [women] who, in general would have had to make more trade-offs, face and embrace more obstacles and responsibilities than men? Most of the women entrepreneurs featured in this book are first generation entrepreneurs. Nearly all of them are within the five-year of starting up their businesses. On reading this book you shall be able comprehend the outlook, which has helped in incubating these start-up ventures. This book applauds the spirit of women entrepreneurship without necessarily judging success as the outcome. You may have come up with ideas many times, but due to lack of insight about different aspects of running a start-up, you actually never take-off. This chronicle should give inspiration and direction to you. You should be able to draw the inferences, understand various start-up scenarios and should be able to weave and knit business models and strategies for your own entrepreneurial stints. This book should be able to show you how to nail down an entrepreneurial opportunity. Every interview is preceded by a short opportunity analysis. I believe these analyses will morph your

analytical ability to spot opportunities as you live your life. I emphasis here on - weave and knit business models and strategies for your own entrepreneurial stints. Why? Let me explain more by defining entrepreneurship.1 Entrepreneurship is the act of being an entrepreneur, which is a French word meaning “one who undertakes innovations, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods”. This may result in new organizations or may be part of revitalizing mature organizations in response to a perceived opportunity. The most obvious form of entrepreneurship is that of starting new businesses [referred as Startup Company]; The very fact that you innovate, identify gaps and then take the leap forward into making your own business, it should be clear that you will not have set or defined rules, as you will be getting into a new and unexplored territory. The risk will be huge. But also be aware that risk and return have a direct correlation; higher the risk, higher the return. It is foolhardy to plunge into anything which has high risk. On the contrary if you educate yourself about high risk endeavours, you should be able to judge various parameters and put them in right places to a great extent. Such an endeavour then becomes a calculated risk and draws the odds closer in your favor. When you are starting your own venture, a „quality‟ pre-launch groundwork will help get a better grip of the whole venture. This in itself is a complete process, what I call as Step 2 of your entrepreneurial journey, which is a 3-Step process. Step 1 is the „idea conceptualization‟ stage. Step 2 is „validation of the idea and preparation of a fool proof [as far as possible] business plan‟ stage and Step 3 is the „execution‟ stage. I believe that all 3 steps are equally important, step 3 being the key for your entrepreneurial journey. I am presenting the Step1 here; Step 2 and Step 3 are beyond the scope of this book.

Some people are born entrepreneurs. They are the opportunity sniffers. It all comes very naturally to them – identifying an opportunity and taking risks. But it is not so with everyone and just because of this you should not let a potential discipline of Entrepreneurship get ignored by you. I believe if Art, as a discipline, can be taught, so can the Entrepreneurship also. You know that “Ignorance is bliss”. You may have the right frame of mind to adopt Entrepreneurship as a field for the rest of your career, but you need to understand the techniques and art of nailing down an opportunity to be able to conceptualize a potentially lucrative business idea. The entrepreneurial stories presented in this book, will draw your attention to the Step 1 of the entire journey. I will also emphasize here that you should know yourself if you want to be an entrepreneur. Remember, you need to like the nature of your venture to be able to sustain through the rollercoaster ride of an entrepreneurial journey. You should be passionate enough to keep the fire burning in you, especially when you go through the lows in nurturing your business, till it reaches a basic sustainability level. So, it‟s important to know yourself - your interests and skills, and then take up the task of entrepreneurship. I have tried to cover diverse sectors: some existing and some completely new emerging as a result of evolution in technology and growth-fuelled changes in our socio-economic setup. These cases should guide you right from how to be innovative in thinking – how to use innovation as a tool to understand and identify an opportunity, include differentiation, excel in execution and hence live through your dreams. As Thomas Edison has said: “I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others...I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.” I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

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