The Tech Panda Salutes the Women Who Mean Business
Happy International Women´s Day to all our readers.
Indian women have come a long way in business, from starting small cottage industries to becoming global conglomerates. They have had to fight their way every inch of the way, and they continue to do so in many areas. The Tech Panda spoke to six brave women leaders, who are shattering the glass ceiling every day.
Nishtha Yogesh, Founder and CEO Hunar Online Courses
“I have always wanted to build businesses,” says Yogesh, who started interning at local businesses, when she 12 years old. After completing her Chartered Accountancy course to get a better understanding on the financial aspects of businesses, she also attained a master’s in entrepreneurship from Babson College in Boston. Hunar is an online learning platform, that aims at empowering women across the country by helping them learn new skills.
The process of finding a problem, solving it and building a business has always had my interest and heart
“I started my first business when I was 22 years old. I don’t really know when and why I decided to become an entrepreneur, but the process of finding a problem, solving it and building a business has always had my interest and heart,” she says.
Romita Ghosh, Founder MedSamaan
MedSamaan, a WE HUB incubated startup, is making medical devices accessible, so that healthcare is inclusive for every Indian. WE HUB is a startup incubator exclusively for women entrepreneurs, initiated by the Government of Telangana.
As a child, Ghosh had always wanted to be an innovator, even before she was familiar with the term ‘entrepreneur’. But destiny had a different plan for her. Diagnosed with cancer at the age of 13, she went through an intense struggle – excruciating physical pain and depression for the next two years.
Having felt the hopelessness in patients as a cancer-survivor myself, MedSamaan is my way of alleviating suffering and creating hope
“However, as I kept seeing the multitudes of patients lining the floors of the Tata Memorial Hospital, some of whom were in the terminal phase, I increasingly realized that I was fortunate that my parents could afford my chemo and radiation therapy, and more importantly, that I was still alive.
She decided that if she survived, she would definitely do something to help poor patients who seemed to have resigned to hopelessness, penury, and despair.
“Having felt the hopelessness in patients as a cancer-survivor myself, MedSamaan is my way of alleviating suffering and creating hope. Since the last decade, my startups have been in the field of healthcare impacting several lives,” she says proudly.
Surbhi Guha, Co-founder Sortizy
Sortizy, another WE HUB incubated startup, combines technology with home-kitchens in India. Guha, who has been open and curious about experiences and learnings, joined a consulting firm as a business strategy consultant after her graduation, which gave her career a head-start. Meeting like-minded people, they formed a group to brainstorm the problems they were facing in managing their home kitchens. Soon, the group decided to risk their stable corporate jobs and delve into solving the problem whole-heartedly.
The skillset that entrepreneurial experience offers, both professional and personal, can help you in all other aspects of your career as well as life
“I was open-minded and curious about exploring various learning opportunities, and a startup is a place where one’s learning curve can be exponential based on how passionate one is to learn. The skillset that entrepreneurial experience offers, both professional and personal, can help you in all other aspects of your career as well as life. Joining the corporate world after graduation gave me a head-start. But when this opportunity knocked my door, I knew it was going to be worth taking this risk, thus I chose entrepreneurship. So, my motivation for entrepreneurship was curiosity, problem solving, and learning experiences,” she says.
Shikha Verma Thutheja, Founder Studio Uniforms
Incubated at WE HUB, Studio Uniforms is an online and offline platform that offers a wide variety of fabrics and custom design options to select and view on a 3D model, assisted by a design expert. Thutheja´s love for dressing up got her into the prestigious NIFT, Hyderabad. After graduating as a fashion designer, she chose to start on her own instead of taking up a job, inspired by the business family she grew up in, where she watched her parents grow as entrepreneurs.
“I always dreamt of having my own fashion company, my own brand label, like most other successful designers and hence started my design studio, specialized in customised men’s wear, which fulfilled my creative urge,” she says.
I realized that I wanted to offer value for money clothing and reach out to other geographies with my design solutions and offerings
However, repeated demand and request for designing and manufacturing of professional work wear made her realize that there was a gap in the market.
“I realized that I wanted to offer value for money clothing and reach out to other geographies with my design solutions and offerings. Thus, the entrepreneur in me started a startup. From designing clothes to designing my venture, I have come a long way in this journey of entrepreneurship,” she adds.
Soniya Kundnani, Co-founder Newsreach
Newsreach, another WE HUB incubated startup, is creating a news ecosystem of original and hyper-local content by empowering the offline local news publishers/reporters. Kundani reveals that she gained inspiration from an ambition to be called a social entrepreneur.
I have always experienced that a small change gives a big impact, and keeping that in mind, I wanted to do something which impacted lives
“I have always experienced that a small change gives a big impact, and keeping that in mind, I wanted to do something which impacted lives. The desire to impact lives and being called a social entrepreneur is what attracted me to entrepreneurship,” she says.
Aneree Satra, Founder of QuickSO
This Mumbai-based startup is a smartphone platform that helps manage construction sites, an unlikely area for a woman to venture into. Satra, who is an architect by profession, started her journey by practicing with renowned architects and drew inspiration from her father, who is also in the construction industry.
My father always said, ‘What you’re studying is different, what happens is different.’ And I was always on the same pace as the industry because of him. So, it was quite early that I started handling his projects
As she proceeded from designing to management, she realized that the construction site management demanded all her time with problems like inventory management, co-ordination and communication. She decided to do something about it, and QuickSO was the result.
“My father always said, ‘What you’re studying is different, what happens is different.’ And I was always on the same pace as the industry because of him. So, it was quite early that I started handling his projects,” she says.