Women’s entrepreneurship over the years has shaped itself into a powerful narrative in India. With a massive push from the government, women are also coming up in a big way to define what business means to them and how they take it up. In a panel discussion on how women entrepreneurs are leading change, Aakriti Bhargava of Boring Brands spoke about starting her venture and their journey, “The sheer experience of working with startups is what got me to start out on my own. Over the years we have worked with 250 startups and the journey has made me learn so much. Today, I realize that lots of things in your own entrepreneurial journey will make you uncomfortable and those are your areas of growth.”
Today, I realize that lots of things in your own entrepreneurial journey will make you uncomfortable and those are your areas of growth. - Aakriti Bhargava
Aakriti Bhargava started her venture in 2009 when startups had not even become a buzzword. She talks about starting with bootstrapping her company and exhausting her own savings in it, “The company’s sheer purpose is to serve the people who are associated with it in the right way. With that mindset when I thought of raising funds, I realized that to sustain the company you don’t need funds. However, if you need new areas of growth that is when funding helps and it is now that we have entered tech. And we want to grow within the country and abroad as well. So bootstrapping can make you understand three key things—where to put your money, how to make hard decisions and how to fire the wrong people.”
- A lot of things in your own entrepreneurial journey will make you uncomfortable and those are your areas of growth.
- Bootstrapping can make you understand three key things—where to put your money, how to make hard decisions and how to fire the wrong people.
- Funding helps grow the vision of the company, see the potential and make decisions in the right direction.
- You must know what your business is and what it stands for. You must not compromise on the core value.
Apeksha Jain, who started The Gourmet Jar in 2012 and then got funded two years back, scaled her business to the next level and took her employee base from a five-member team to 50 people. On funding, she said, “Funding has helped me grow the vision of the company, see the potential and make decisions in the right direction. Initially, I was bootstrapped for three years and it helps you a lot to make the right decisions and the hard decisions because you have limited resources. And the funding lets you set up a team to grow and for that you need the capital. In FMCG manufacturing industry, it is a very capital intensive industry and I could have stayed small and profitable but because we have a vision to become a leading gourmet brand in the country, we went for funding.”
Funding lets you set up a team to grow and for that you need the capital. -Apeksha Jain
Women today are in all sectors and huge numbers are in the FMCG and the beauty industry which also caters to women itself. Earlier, beauty industry, while it catered to women, was largely male-dominated. Talking about entering this space and bringing natural products on the table, Bindu Sharma of Vya Naturals said, “We worked with a lot of International brands in the skincare business and realized that there was a huge gap in the market for the consumer who is moving towards natural substitutes.”
With her innovation in the beauty industry, Sharma brought in a different perspective to skin care and is leading change one product at a time.
From providing services to food to beauty to now the aviation industry, women are everywhere and changing the gender ratio and the industry itself. Kanika Tekriwal, who founded JetSetGo, talked about how she took on the aviation sector and private jets in a country that looks at it as a luxury.
“You did not need the iPhone until Steve Jobs invented it and kept it in front of your face saying you need to buy this phone and created a market for it. Our journey has been nothing short of similar. It has been a very hard journey of changing the perception of the people that private jets are not really a luxury but a tool to enable and empower you,” said Tekriwal.
You did not need the iPhone until Steve Jobs invented it and kept it in front of your face saying you need to buy this phone and created a market for it. -Kanika Tekriwal
While women entrepreneurs are building markets and evolving with them, the real change happens when the gender stops to matter in the larger context and yet their contribution carries on. And these women are precisely the examples of the kind of changemakers that India’s future generations deserve.