Meet the winners of the 2016 Digital Women Awards – women who have shattered the glass ceiling, followed their dreams, build their ideas and turned innovators.
These spectacular awards are focused on women entrepreneurs who have achieved success by launching a business or a venture in the digital world. Our world – driven by digital – is changing the business landscape every day. Every woman is a leader and most of all she is more of a ‘real’ model than just a role model. We have inspiration among women building digital empires from home, those spending hours teaching young children of the neighbourhood to those who run assembly lines at manufacturing units with a 9 to 5 job.
The mobile phone and the world of apps are empowering not just consumers but also several business ideas many of which are led by women. We at SheThePeople.TV strongly believe that recognizing this wave of empowerment of businesswomen is critical to the future of digitally skilled women workforce in India. This will not only lead to more jobs but also promote organisations which will set new standards in the digital sectors.
WINNERS IN THE CONTENT CREATION CATEGORY
1. Malini Agarwal- This popular blogger needs no description. Malini, who also won the award for Best Website, started a Bollywood, fashion and lifestyle blog ‘Miss Malini’ in 2008, and was one of India’s first celebrity bloggers. According to SimilarWeb, the website receives over 3 million users per month. The blog covers all the latest Bollywood news, interviews with celebrities and all the glamorous parties! “We’re your best friend, and we’re never too tired to go out,” the website boasts.
2. Suchita Salwan– She won the award for Best Website. Salwan is the Founder of Little Black Book, a curated culture and lifestyle guide for Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Gurgaon. Salwan started the site in 2012, while she was working at BBC. She says that as a young adult, she found it difficult to find out about cool stuff that was happening in her city, which is why she decided to fill the information gap by starting LBB.
3. Ruchita Dar Shah– Founder of First Mom’s Club, Ruchita won the award for Best Community. Ruchita started out by creating a Facebook group for moms to connect with each other. The response was so overwhelming that the community soon grew into a full-fledged website and app.
“With members across 60 countries, it’s nice to be acknowledged for the work the community is doing helping one another using entirely user generated content. It’s peer to peer at it’s best and on behalf of FMC, I’m excited to win this,” she told SheThePeople.TV
4. Aditi Mittal– The comedian, who won the award for Best Digital Comedy Star, needs no introduction. She is known for her stand-up comedy, and her hilarious tweets and youtube videos, which often garner over a million views. Her shows often centre around the ridiculous stigmas women have to face. Her videos on bra shopping and sanitary napkins are a must watch!
5. Tracy D’Souza– She is the channel head for The Viral Fever’s Girliyapa, and won the award for Best Digital Comedy. Girliyapa has produced some hilarious videos on issues women face. Videos such as ‘Girls Buying Condoms’ and ‘Period Song’ show women openly speaking about topics which are considered ‘taboo’ in a lighthearted and funny way. The messages of Girliyapa aims to build awareness and mitigate the shame surrounding these topics.
6. Shivya Nath- She may just have the best job ever. Nath, who won the award for Best Individual Blogger, is known for her travel blog, ‘The Shooting Star’. Nath gave up her corporate job three years ago to embrace a nomadic way of life. She has hitch-hiked along Romania’s northern countryside, lived with a Mayan community in Guatemala, journeyed along Canada’s great wilderness by train and swum with black-tip sharks on Malaysia’s east coast. Her blog is a real treat.
“My aim has been to create aspirational and actionable content, so that more Indian women can experience the liberation and self-confidence that comes through meaningful travel. I’m thrilled that this award validates travel as a lifestyle for Indian women,” she told SheThePeople.TV
7. Pranshu Bhandari- She has won the award for the most Innovative Idea in the Content Creation category. She is the founder of CultureAlley, which has developed Hello English, an interactive, mobile-based application that allows speakers of 16 vernacular languages to learn English on their phones. She was on the Forbes India 30 (under 30 list) in 2015.
WINNERS IN THE DISRUPTOR CATEOGRY
1. Shantala Bhat – She won the award for Niche disruptor for founding Gamatics.in. Gamatics is a marketplace for high-end sports equipment. It also has an analytics platform, wherein coaches can measure athletes’ performances.
2. Kanika Tekriwal – She is the founder of JetSetGo, India’s first marketplace for hiring private jets and helicopters, and has won the Innovative Disruptor Award.
“The digital womon entrepreneur is going to change the way the world lives — what we are witnessing is just the beginning,” Kanika told SheThePeople.TV
3. Aditi Avasthi- Avasthi won the Disruptor award for Maximum Business Impact. Her company, Embibe, seeks to help coaching institutes prepare students for entrance exams such as the JEE, BIT SAT, NEET, AIMS.
Winners of the Digital Women Awards
The company’s analytics engine provides feedback on a host of factors—the average time a student spent on a question, what concepts were consistently answered wrong, etc. It can predict students’ final scores, said Avasthi.
“Embibe has single-mindedly believed in the power of data science and tech to transform education,” she told SheThePeople.TV
4. Saumya Vardhan- Vardhan won the award for Best Service Disruptor. Her company, ShubhPuja aims to organize the unorganized religious services sector.
“Being a Digital woman entrepreneur has enabled me to break the norms by scientifically and technologically revolutionizing the traditional puja industry,” Saumya told SheThePeople.TV
Her website makes finding pandits easier and also allows Hindus from around the world to schedule and participate in rituals customized via Skype, Facetime etc. According to the website, you can now ‘connect to God in one click’.
5. Aditi Prasad – Prasad won the Tech Disruptor award for her company, Robotix. The company uses Robotics as a tool to develop STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills. They provide robotics education programmes in K-12 schools by combining a customized curriculum, integrated into the school’s programmes, with innovative robotic technology from around the world. The USA division has a robotics product, PHIRO, for children between 4-18 to learn problem solving, coding, robotics and computational thinking.
6. Sakshi Talwar – Her company, Rugs and Beyond, aims to organize the fragmented carpet weaving industry in India. Talwar who won the Creative Disruptor Award started her e-commerce company so that she could connect local carper weavers to customers around the world.
“Rugs and Beyond truly supports local weavers and talented craftsmen in their endeavour to produce the finest handmade carpets in the world. It is so important to empower these weavers, especially women who put in their heart and soul to make these One-of-a-Kind Rugs” Sakshi told SheThePeople.TV.
WINNERS IN THE SOCIAL IMPACT CATEGORY
1. Rubina Nafees– Rubina won the Facebook Social Impact Community award. She is the CEO of SAFA, an NGO which aims to empower women in urban slums by providing them with skills training.
On winning the award, she said, “Being an NGO, any award has the weight of extra responsibility. Awards do help us to leverage ourselves to the next level and add more validation to our work.”
2. Richa Singh– Singh is the co-founder of YourDost, an online counselling platform. She won the award for her use of Data and Technology to create social impact. More than 200 experts are registered on YourDost, and users can chat with an expert in real time. The platform aims to be a one-stop shop for users’ personal wellness.
3.Kalpana Rajesh– The entrepreneur who started Pelli Pooja Jada, a business which provides floral hair accessories for women, won the Social Impact Award.
“No recommendations, No Page-3 or political networks, No huge investment! Nothing can stop Digital woman from achieving her dream,” she said on the power of the digital medium.
4. Sneha Kamat– She won the Social Impact award for her venture SheCanDrive, India’s first car driving training centre for women. She started the venture in order to address some of the problems women face while learning under male teachers. Teachers often do not take them seriously, and stereotype women drivers as not being as competent as men. With her venture, Kamat makes sure that women drivers are imbued with a sense of confidence which ultimately leads to them becoming better drivers.
5. Aditi Gupta– The founder of website Menstrupedia won the award for most Innovative venture in the Social Impact category. Her website tries to educate women about periods and tries to eliminate the stigma around menstruation. Her team develops friendly and entertaining content, such as comic books and blogs, to help girls learn about how to stay active and healthy during their period.
WINNERS IN THE E-COMMERCE CATEGORY
1. Radhika Aggarwal- The founder of India’s first managed marketplace, Shopclues, won the award for Best Marketplace. Aggarwal’s company employs 1,000 people, ships out 3 million products on a monthly basis, and serves over 9,000 locations in India.
2. Rashi Menda– Menda won the award for Innovative Community. Her company Zapyle, enableswomen to buy and sell luxury fashion. According to the website, the idea is to get users to adopt the idea of a ‘revolving closet’. Menda aims to make luxury fashion affordable and to help women stay abreast of every new fashion trend.
3. Neetu Bhatia– Bhatia is the Co-founder of KyaZoonga, which she founded in 2007 along with her brother Akash Bhatia. The company provides ticketing services for sports and entertainment events and has operations in India, the US, UAE and Caribbean. Bhatia won the award for Best Service Offering in the e-commerce space.
4. Nidhi Agarwal- Agarwal won the Unique Idea award for her e-commerce fashion company, Karyaah. The company’s USP is that it offers 18 sizes of clothing, designed to suit the specific needs of Indian women.
“Digital Women Entrepreneur Awards is a great way to celebrate her courage, hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. It is testimony to the fact that relentless hard work cannot fall short of recognition and is hugely empowering,” she commented after winning the award.
5. Rashi Sanon– She also won the Unique Idea award for her business, Heads Up For Tails. The e-commerce platform aims to provide a one-stop shop for dog owners to access everything they might need for their pets! She decided to start the premium pet products line after becoming a pet parent to her Labrador, Sara.
She spoke about how powerful the digital medium can be:
“A year into my business, my husband was posted overseas. The only way I was able to drive my own business was because of the digital platform – as despite sitting overseas, and being a one-person startup, I could use the power of digital to build my brand,” she told SheThePeople.TV
6. Sabina Chopra– She is the Co-Founder of the famous travel portal, Yatra.Com. She won the award for Best Platform. The platform enables consumers to book flights, hotels, trains, buses, homestays and more on its seamless interface. It has over 7 million monthly users.
WINNERS OF THE MARKETING AWARD
1. Mitchelle Carvalho– She is the founder and Director of digital agency, CogMat. The company has operations in Hong Kong and Mumbai, and serves clients such as Siyaram Silk Mills, and wealth management company, Angel Broking, among others. It will soon expand operations to Bangalore and NCR.
“I smile every time I see a woman entrepreneur upload photos of her products on Facebook or a Whatsapp group because I know she now has the power to reach out to a larger base of people and inch forward towards realising dreams of running her own business in a fraction of costs compared to traditional marketing,” she told SheThePeople.TV.
2. Kinnari Gala– She founded Thin-I, an agency that promises to take care of a company’s Advertising, Branding, Communication and Designing — all in one place.
“As a women entrepreneur, one of my key focus is women’s empowerment. I believe, if we give a woman freedom to express, she will rise up with her wings gloriously spread and do things beyond imagination,” she said on winning the award.