In the dynamic realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI), visionary women entrepreneurs are playing a pivotal role in shaping the future. Through their ventures, these trailblazers are not only breaking barriers but also addressing crucial aspects like diversity, ethics, and inclusivity in AI development. In an interview with SheThePeople, Payoshini Saraf and Mridvika Raisinghani of SAMA, share their entrepreneurial journey and aspirations for their groundbreaking initiative leveraging technologies that focus on bridging the gender diversity gap in the urban workforce.
As seasoned professionals and mothers with over 36 years of collective work experience, Payoshini and Mridvika noticed the alarming decline of Indian women in the workforce. Motivated by the glaring gender gap, they embarked on a mission to address the issue systematically. Payoshini reflects, "As working women and mothers ourselves, we knew firsthand how important it is for women to have careers."
The Genesis Of Their Work
SAMA's innovative AI tool utilizes predictive modelling to capture data on women employees. Mridvika explains, "Our diagnostic tool processes a complex dataset to predict the risk level of women falling off from the workforce." The Analytics Dashboard then provides organizations with insights to enhance their culture, policies, and infrastructure. The Solutions Hub recommends targeted interventions and an Intervention Attribution tool tracks program impact.
Reflecting on their entrepreneurial journey, Payoshini emphasizes the significance of purpose, family support, and mentorship. Key milestones include the overwhelming response to SAMA's launch, securing the first paid client, and joining an entrepreneurship incubator.
Their Contribution To Workforce Conversations
The company actively engages in conversations around the crisis of female workforce participation. Payoshini notes,
"We build conversations around the crisis we are facing and share best practices to tide over it." They represent SAMA in prestigious panels, contributing to discussions on workforce analysis and data-driven approaches in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Social media plays a pivotal role in building a community around SAMA. Payoshini acknowledges its impact, stating, "We use our channel to educate and bring awareness around the many aspects of this complex problem." They rely on organic reach, anticipating the value of performance marketing in the future.
With a team of six, including experts in product, UX, learning and development, research, and gender specialization, Payoshini and Mridvika highlight the importance of building a strong team as the foundation of their business. They remain a bootstrapped business, focusing on building a revenue-first, sustainable model. While seeking funding for expansion, they sustain themselves by managing expenses judiciously and actively seeking revenue opportunities.
In their initial six months, the company has generated revenue from three paying clients.
Payoshini shares, "More exciting things await as we send out multiple business proposals and have 50+ ongoing client conversations."
Reflecting on qualities essential for success, Payoshini emphasizes listening to the market, marrying the problem rather than the solution, adapting to changes, and finding joy in the journey itself.
Future Plans And Goals
SAMA's long-term vision is to increase women's representation in the workforce. In the short term, they aim to continue creating inclusive environments for urban white-collar working women. Their goals include expanding into blue-collar and gig workers, and ultimately, addressing diversity across various spectrums.