Nagpur: Entrepreneurship Forum of Vidarbha Industries Association recently held a Panel discussion by Women Start Ups on ‘How I Started a Successful Business’.
The elite group of panellists were Deepshikha Thakur of Agora-The Flea Market, Kavita Saraf of ‘Miraki’ a Holistic Healing Centre, Rashmi Kulkarni of Navitas LED Lights and Bhawana Janabandhu of B.J’s creations
Deepshikha Thakur a mother of two, shared her success story by stating that gender should never be the focal point of Entrepreneurship. According to her, women have certain advantages over men, when it came to Entrepreneurship, due to her resilient nature and multi tasking abilities. She started her career as an Event Manager but gradually shifted to Event Designing, looking at the potential it offered. She started her Event Agora –The Flea Market along with a partner, which has taken Nagpur by storm and has several successful editions so far. According to her, Nagpur is a developing city and people are receptive to new Entrepreneurial ideas. According to Deepshikha, before any women decide to become an Entrepreneur, she should understand the purpose behind it, the reason why she wants to be an Entrepreneur. According to her before starting a business, one must do the homework thoroughly and should gather maximum information taking the help of technology. The Global trends should also be taken into account, to get a head start. According to her it is better to take up Business a career after attaining certain maturity because it gives better results. Deepshikha stressed on Entrepreneurship to be a team work and that she believes in gender appropriate work distribution. According to her for long term success you must be true to your product. She quoted her mantra for success to keen understanding of money matters and to the adage that ‘Success or failure should never be taken personally as each one is a passing phase.’
Kavita Saraf narrated her start up story by stating that she owned the hugely successful Gondwana Gallery and was earning a tidy sum when she was struck by what she termed as ‘existential crisis’ when she found out that she felt a void inspite of all the success she saw in her career. Slowly it dawned to her that she felt a strong pull towards Holistic healing and addressing mental health issues and thus was born ‘MIRAKI’ her holistic health centre. She soon started conducting Training sessions, Parental workshop and counselling sessions for distressed teens. Kavita feels that any work you do should be an expression of yourself. According to her women have more potential than men, but one should not get carried away by success or failures. You must trust yourself as you have more potential than you can imagine. On should never give up and should always treat success as a journey and not a destiny. Kavita swears by good books to be the best motivators for Entrepreneurs and says that exiting a business is the starting point of another new business.
The third panellist a Software Engineer, Rashmi Kulkarni never imagined that she would become an Entrepreneur some day. Till her marriage she was working in various software firms and always thought that her career was pretty chalked out. It was only after marriage that she started assisting her Husband and Mother-in-law in their business. It was her first exposure to Entrepreneurship and slowly she gained confidence to branch out on her own. She set up her own venture ‘NAVITAS’ to manufacture LED lights. Rashmi faced all sorts of teething troubles initially including stiff competition from established competitors but she never gave up. She had to travel extensively to promote her products and many a times lose out on orders due to her lack of business acumen. She faced all challenges bravely and with true grit and perseverance could set up a health market for her product. Today roughly 75% of the orders for LED lights, are bagged by her company. Her Entrepreneurial mantra has been ‘take challenges head on’ and learn all the principles of management be it Marketing, HR, Finance, Inventory, anything. Rashmi’s success mantra is ‘ Be honest , Be positive’. She feels that women have an advantage over men, that they are more trusted by the clients.
Bed ridden for four years with the deadly Rheumatoid Arthritis, the Entrepreneurial journey of the fourth panellist Bhawana Janbandhu owner of B.J’s Creations is nothing short of a miracle. When her family were disheartened, Bhawana did not give up. She fought and emerged victorious from her ailment and went on to earn a PG Diploma in Textile Management and underwent several training courses to hone her skills. Today, Bhawna is into a profitable business of Fabric Painting, Warli Art, Tribal Art, Flower and Candle making etc. She has extensively employed women in her work shop and also imparts free training to women in the rural areas to make them self sufficient. Bhawana has participated in several exhibitions nationally and internationally and her creations are a rage among the young buyers. According to her it is only passion which takes an Entrepreneur very far. She also made a mention of the several Government schemes for the Women Entrepreneur and how it makes funding that much easier. She strongly felt that parents should not force girls to get married and then do what they want, but should be supportive as in the case of sons.
Earlier, Dr Suhas Buddhe welcomed Kavita Saraf & Deepshikha Thakur, Ashit Sinha welcomed Rashmi Kulkarni and Akash Agrawal welcomed Bhawana Janbandhu with floral bouquets.
At the outset of the program, Dr Suhas Buddhe, Hon. Secretary VIA in his welcome address stated that VIA always looks to empower Entrepreneurship and is working to promote women entrepreneurship in particular.
Akash Agrawal, Chairman VIA Entrepreneur Forum in his opening remarks stressed on Entrepreneurship to be the need of the hour, as we are witnessing growth but there is joblessness among the educated. According to him only Entrepreneurship can solve this problem and for women this is the best profession due to the flexibility it offers and the technological advancement which supports Entrepreneurship.
Ashit Sinha Mentor VIA summed up the proceedings by promising to start an Incubation centre for women start ups in VIA very soon and also said that VIA aims to tap the hidden potential among millions of Housewife, which is a national waste.