Starting Up in Lucknow: Catching up with women entrepreneurs
Yes, my friends. We are talking about the nawaabi city of Lucknow, which has recently been declared on of the first 20 potential smart cities by the government of India. It is one of the most promising entrepreneurial hotbeds in the country, keeping in view its state of infrastructural development and government interest. SheThePeopleTV recently conducted a detailed effort to identify young women entrepreneurs who are not just running their own business, but are also bringing that element of innovation in the business idea, solving an existing problem in the process. These women are young, brimming with the novelty and infectious enthusiasm!
Reading about their businesses would surely inspire you. Here are these women, their ideas, challenges of setting base in a city like Lucknow, and the change they wish to see and be.
Pallavi Bishnoi (Real-Time Renewables)
Pallavi is helping recycle 2 million litres of water everyday, and is making money off it! Having done the same for companies across the western world including countries like the States, Norway and Europe, she is now helping individuals, businesses and institutions recycle the water that they waste, through structures and solutions with her business Real-Time Renewables. This is how she feels about being a women entrepreneur in Lucknow:
Regarding women entrepreneurs in Lucknow, I would want people to applaud the talent and the insight we bring to the table, not just the face behind it. I don’t want an “inspite of being a woman” tag pinned to my success, I’d rather have a “because she’s a woman” tag. I’ll wear it proudly.
Shrishti Sahu (Aqaya)
Hailing from a business family, this futuristic entrepreneur took the route of community-led business initiatives where bringing her tech and managerial knowledge and skills, she is helping build sustainable solutions for the ‘next billion’ yet to come online. Talking about the city and the environment, she says:
The youngsters need not migrate to other cities anymore, as there’s tremendous potential to innovate and disrupt traditional models using technology. Think about how you can transform Lucknow and be one of the early enablers of the change that the city is on the verge of witnessing. Biggest opportunities lie in huge scale problems, and I can’t wait to see how the city will change in the next five years. I’m very optimistic and excited about entrepreneurs, especially women who will step forward and become real changemakers!
Arti Vaid (Buttercup Bungalow)
This woman found an opportune space for her a bakery at a popular restaurant and cafe lounge, and made best use of the opportunity she got. Without any formal training in baking, she is able to prepare the best fondant cakes, pastries, waffles and all things English. What makes her business unique is her constant drive to innovate and come up with new items that keep her clients wanting to come back for more, quite literally!
My biggest challenge has been retaining my staff specially chefs. I really don’t know how we could improve this but either the chefs I train run away after learning or someone poaches them from me.
Dr. Nidhi Tandon (The Skin Art Clinic)
Having done her Masters from Mumbai, she worked with the social sector before she came back to her roots to provide a service for which people had to travel to metropolitan cities and sometimes, even abroad. With knowledge and expertise gained through immense exposure that Nidhi put herself through, she has brought about a first of its kind skin clinic that provides non-invasive effective body solutions. As far as her entrepreneurial challenges are concerned, here is what she says:
Being an entrepreneur is tough especially for women as I feel the challenges are much more , as we have to balance our home and work at the same time. Lucknow has a very bright future as women here are very progressive in their thought process and they are coming out of their shell and they want to make their own mark..We need people to appreciate the fact that women can be good entrepreneurs and encourage them.
Shweta and Komal Nag (festivefeel.com)
When these sisters realized there weren’t any weren’t any affordable venues to buy festive jewelry (online or in Lucknow), the sisters started this beautiful online store, where they have personally picked pieces from across the nation. Young and vibrant, the platform is user friendly and any person from any age group is sure to find something that meets their needs. Their collection of rings is my personal favorite.
This isn’t their first startup, they also run a branding and design studio which they started in 2014. On the situation of the entrepreneurial window in Lucknow, here is what Komal had to say:
We already have lot of women entrepreneurs in Lucknow who went against the tide to make their dream true. More and more women are realising their dreams. I feel there is lack of mentors and funds in Lucknow which if addressed can really help lot of people.
Here’s hoping that these women are able to shatter these age old practices and add the entrepreneurial energy that the city truly needs!