Problems Women Entrepreneurs Face While Starting Up

Missing women at work in India

“Entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted,” says Madhulika Mathur, Founder WeddingSutra. And, with this thought in mind we went to several women entrepreneurs to know about the problems they faced in their journeys. Here is what they have to say:

Personal learnings

“Never let anybody tell you that you’re too young to be an entrepreneur,” are the words of Aafreen Ansari co-founder MyChild App. Her app provides parental suggestion and keeps a track of your kid’s activities to know if he/she has any mental or learning disorders. At the age of 19, a college dropout Aafreen along with her friend Harsh Songraset set course on the road of entrepreneurship.  Aafreen shares, “As a young entrepreneur, the biggest challenge was to establish a trust that even though we are young, we are determined to stick to this idea.”

She further added, “The most difficult one was to make our parents understand that we’ve grown up enough to handle a venture. They took some time to accept. Since we were under 20 years when we started up, people thought that we might get bored and our passions will wear off. So to make them believe otherwise, we had to work day and night and make this product that the world will believe in.”

Patience, subtlety and clarity of thought are the three most important factors in being a successful entrepreneur.

The Virtual world can be tricky

While Aafreen found it tough to convince her family, another woman in the business, Madhulika Mathur, had to fight a bigger battle to find her feet. “In the middle of the nuclear winter for Internet companies, we founded WeddingSutra on the strength of the idea and the conviction that what we are creating is a quality business — a user-generated resource for couples planning their weddings,” she claimed.

Madhulika elaborates, “WeddingSutra was founded in March 2000. Think about where the internet was then. The consumers had just started buying PCs for home, the internet still came from dial-up modems, there were no smartphones, instead, there was ICQ and chat rooms and a single photo took five minutes to load. It was also the year of the dot-com bubble, which had been building up for the better part of three years, slowly began to pop. Valuations plummeted. Stocks went south. Companies folded. Fortunes were lost and investors ran from digital businesses. Challenges were there from the start in a country where people’s appetite for risk is low and startups traditionally were not seen as attractive places to work.”

Three core skills according to Madhulika that help you become a successful entrepreneur are:

  • Curiosity
  • Ability to juggle
  • Resilience

SURVEY: What challenges do women entrepreneurs face?

Being original

Suchita Salwan, founder of Little Black Book says, “For me, the big challenge has been to show the original ideas, and a fresh approach to local discoveries works. I don’t want to emulate something that five other people are doing, or pick other successful ideas and adapt them for India.”

That we understand the perspective, requirements and approach of a very very significant audience, is what makes us, as women founders, create more effective and efficient products, that can target a larger audience.


Renuka Shah, Founder of Jalebi, which offers various design products/services, customised eco-friendly stationeries like waterproof notebooks, plantable seed paper notebooks, etc., says, “I knew that managing my one-year-old kiddo and the venture together would be hard to sustain but I didn’t give up. The products we made sometimes need to have live seeds embedded in the paper. The process of having it done perfectly is the toughest. In case of any misstep, something goes wrong the entire concept goes in vain.”

Finding the right team

Bhavya Aggarwal, the founder of ZipBoard, says, “Entrepreneurship is exciting because it is challenging. The biggest ones for me have been finding trustworthy people to work with and keeping your focus and confidence in the early days.”

Read More Stories By Ria Das