For Revathy Roy, necessity became the reason for entrepreneurship. A husband battling coma, and the responsibility of providing for three children meant that she had to become financially stable. And so she converted her most useful skill-driving, into a business. 47 years of work in industries such as Print Media, Manufacturing, Womens empowerment projects, Education, Non Profit and Government bodies, and being on Mentoring Boards of various Institutes as part of their e-cell came in handy here. And so For-She Cabs, a cab service exclusively for women, with women drivers was launched, after which she Co founded Viira Cabs. She now has two new ventures- HeyDidi! which is India’s first all female delivery service and Zaffiro Learning which provides two wheeler training to girls. In an exclusive conversation with SheThePeople.TV, Revathy talks about converting challenges into opportunity.
The ‘drive’ to becoming an entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship was a choice because I had no option to do anything else. Getting a job at the age of 47 was very tough so I decided to do something which I could do with my own skill. Which was driving. So I started the first ever taxi service driven by women for women. And I did that by becoming a taxi driver myself. Then started two companies sold them successfully and decided to do two wheelers as well.
Taking care of three children with no money in hand, husband in coma, I was determined to fight it out. Surviving was the inspiration.
HeyDidi! and Zaffiro Learning: The latest ventures
Hey Didi and Zaffiro Learning work in tandem. The concept behind Zaffiro Learning, which is a company started by myself and Jagdish Gothi, is to be able to skill the girls with riding two wheelers and assure them that they can make a living out of it, they will then ride on the HeyDidi platform by becoming delivery girls like for flipkart, Amazon, pizza stores etc.
It is largely a women’s encouragement initiative to engage and enlarge the team as a force in the form of riders for the instant parcel delivery on scooters specifically targeted to the urban women. Female labour force participation in India is a mere 29%* Of these participants, many are employed in low-skilled and low-paying professions. Zaffiro Learning provides these women with the skills and training to be licensed drivers, helps to procure the vehicle, and places them on the job, hence making them self-reliant and independent.
HeyDidi delivers from food, medical reports, cakes, cheques and even grocery in Mumbai, which one can order by downloading an app on mobile. It was launched by HeyTaxi on International Women’s Day as HeyTaxi’s women’s empowerment initiative, becoming the first all female delivery service. We would like to see thousands of girls skilled and doing this job across all cities in India. HeyDidi aims to train and employ 10000 girls to ride scooters and provide instant parcel service on the HeyDidi platform – across 20 cities in 3 years.
Bridging the employment gap
An aspiration of owning a vehicle and riding on it to make a living, the gap is there. The age is of online deliveries and there are not so many people doing this kind of job. We should be quick to capture it and get thousands of girls to do this job and earn a living.
To quote Eleanor Roosevelt “a woman is like a tea bag…..you never know how strong she is until you dip her in hot water” that’s what women are.
Base operations funding is a challenge
It’s boot strapping right now. But with the Govt schemes for skill development we will not have a problem at least in training.
Biggest challenge for an entrepreneur: Putting things in place
For an entrepreneur the biggest challenges are execution because no one has done this before and of courses funding, you need people to believe in us. And here we are dealing with people from the below poverty line.
The need for survival was the inspiration
My need to survive and bring up my boys after losing my husband has been my inspiration. Taking care of three children with no money in hand, husband in coma, I determined to fight it out. Surviving was the inspiration.
Entrepreneurs need to have an open mind
Perseverance, belief , risk taking and empathy very important. You also have to have the ability to listen and take advise.
Women are strong entrepreneurs
A woman is a multi tasking person. There is no doubt about it, and if stakes it on her mind she can achieve anything, to quote Eleanor Roosevelt “a woman is like a tea bag…..you never know how strong she is until you dip her in hot water” that’s what women are.
One word of advice