#Personal Stories

Why We Need Like-minded Entrepreneurs And Role Models For Women To Flourish In Tech

post image
Pooja Goyal says while starting and running a business is hard whether it is done by a woman or a man, women do face additional systemic challenges such as cultural conditioning.

It is evident that women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) owing to a number of factors. While girls enrolling in science for higher studies in India has seen an increase, the number of women entering the workplace is much less in comparison. There is a severe lack of role models for girls and women, resulting in fewer young girls and women pursuing careers in STEM. In conjunction with this, another issue that is close to my heart is women entrepreneurship. Keeping these two in mind, I’d like to share my journey to encourage women across the globe to challenge gender norms and pursue their passion.

I describe my career as a case study in Brownian motion. While I started off by studying to be a Chemical engineer at IIT Delhi I soon realised that I loved building but not machines. I enjoyed the process of creating something from scratch, I enjoyed bringing people together driven by the same mission. Since then I have worked across continents, in different industries and companies both big and small, and founded three start-ups. I am also an angel investor and advisor to many startups and have been awarded the ‘Woman of Substance’ award.

While starting and running a business is hard whether it is done by a woman or a man, women do face additional systemic challenges such as cultural conditioning, a very small tribe of like-minded entrepreneurs and role models and societal expectation around balancing work and family. The sad part is that despite all of the talk, policy changes schemes for women, and more importantly evidence that women-led companies perform much better, they are not able to attract capital to grow beyond a certain scale.

COVID-19 made the situation worse. So, on a whim I sent out a tweet in March of last year saying making herself available to any woman entrepreneur who wanted to discuss her business ideas, challenges, and plans. Over 500 women reached out to me in the last 10 months. I have  been able to meaningfully support around 100 women and a number of friends who are passionate about the cause have joined this movement. It led to the creation of a platform which is a not-for-profit entity making funding, mentoring, and connections accessible to women entrepreneurs.

The sad part is that despite all of the talk, policy changes schemes for women, and more importantly evidence that women-led companies perform much better, they are not able to attract capital to grow beyond a certain scale.

As I look into the future and think about how I want to contribute, I want to help create a world where our education system is aligned with the needs of our children and the ever-changing, technology led world and support other entrepreneurs especially women drive impact in the world through their ideas and work.

 Pooja Goyal is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Avishkaar. The views expressed are the author’s own.

post image
Why We Need Like-minded Entrepreneurs And Role Models For Women To Flourish In Tech
post image
K-drama Actors Who Started As K-pop Idols And Where To Watch Them
post image
Actor Sanya Malhotra Wants Young Women To Take Inspiration From Her Characters
post image
“FCAT Served A Very Good Purpose”: Sharmila Tagore On Abolishment Of Appeal Tribunal