Women form almost 50% of the population. Every day poses a new challenge for them, but the new generation women have overcome all to reach great heights in the society. There are no special traits needed to make a woman a successful entrepreneur, in contrast to their male entities. The qualities needed to build a business are the same regardless of the gender.
'Necessity is the mother of invention', goes the saying and women entrepreneurs are not the ones the lag behind. Personal experience, views, market demand are some of the factors that lead women entrepreneurs to come forward and create different solutions to management, organisation and business problems and in the process create new jobs for themselves and others.
Dominic Rebello of AD&C, in honour of the spirit of womanhood, spoke to a cross section of women, all who believe that women entrepreneurs are going to rule the roost in the coming years and are truly an inspiration and role model for others...
What quality does it take for a woman to succeed as an entrepreneur?
Women entrepreneurs must leverage their inherent empathy, the ability to carry people along and their natural bent for converting adversity to opportunity. Women are nurturers and can harness competitiveness – both their own and that of others – to produce positive results for business. Traditionally society has looked to women to create societal value systems, women need to carry this role to business as well as create an environment of transparency, fairness, ethics and integrity. Additionally like any other kind of entrepreneur, a successful woman entrepreneur needs laser sharp focus, meticulous attention to detail and total commitment to delivering valuable experiences.
Meenal Sinha , Founder and CEO, meetingsandoffices.com
Deciding to be a woman entrepreneur itself is the bravest decision to make. And then sticking with that decision, come what may. If you have family support, even better. So, yes 200% commitment, persistence, patience, seeing and creating opportunities, smart-innovative work, not taking `maybe' for an answer. Keeping `quality' and `execution' as a benchmark to set the bar higher every time. I like a Yes or a No. It's simple and effective for direction. You have to love what you want to do, and know to do, with a passion as good and strong as being in love with yourself and your work.
Ethel Da Costa, Founder-CEO, Think Geek Media
It’s amalgamation of sheer passion, dedication, hard work, focus and ability to reinvent oneself.
Radhika Mukherji, Co-founder & CEO, Happydemic
Innovation, uniqueness and addressing a key human need are important qualities for any new venture. For a social entrepreneur, a strong commitment to one’s personal values that are rooted in compassion and integrity are very essential. For a woman, one needs to add in an extra strong dose of patience and persistence.
Lynn de Souza, Founder Social Access
The most important quality would be multitasking. We woman already master this one, we play multiple roles of being a daughter, wife, a mother and a working proffessional and we do a fantastic job at it. I take pride in being a working mom because I know the many roles I can play and still come back home wanting to be a homemaker post work. To succeed as an entrepreneur do not give yourself any extra brownie points for being a woman businesswomen. I am no less than any of my men counterparts when it comes to taking business decisions and treat myself on the same ground. So treat yourself as an entrepreneur who has to succeed come what may and you can do it with elan!
Nidhi Batra, Co- Founder & Director of Nirvana Excursions
Where do you see the potential for start up woman entrepreneur five years down the road?
The canvas for women entrepreneurs is expanding daily. Women are beginning to discover more and more spaces where their natural aptitudes are advantages. From technology to engineering, to finance, to manufacturing to services, there is no space where women have not already created indelible footprints. What started as a trickle has turned into a much more significant stream of women inspiring more women into enterprise. This will only increase over the coming period into a deluge. Women have the natural bent for creating and nurturing valuable enterprises, the next five years will see them assume that role in far greater proportion.
Honestly, with the entire wind that’s happening for feminism, nobody really differentiates between a start-up that has been founded by a woman or a man. I think 5 years down the line the atmosphere for any kind of start-ups, be it women or men oriented, are going to be very conducive. With the government supporting and the policies coming up supporting start-ups I think it just doesn’t matter if its women or men oriented. Even today when I walk a corporate floor or when a man walks a corporate floor, we’re taken as seriously as each other.
According to a year end 2016 survey, around 670 funding deals worth $2 billion were closed in India. Of this 670 startups, 21 were female only founders, 93 male and female founders, 556 male only founders. Approximately 14% funding went into startups with male and female co-founders, while the rest 83% went to those founded by men. Guess what percentage of these deals were bagged by startups with women only co-founders or a solo woman founder? A frightening mere 3% !!. Self funded entrepreneurs like me are pitted against those heavily funded through investor sources. This shows that gender disparity exists even in the business environment, and it's a hard fought for battle. I'm told investors fear that women entrepreneurs are more likely to prioritise their personal life over work. Our abilities are doubted because you are a woman. Complete nonsense. If there's a man on the team, the investor conversation changes entirely. I've personally seen this myself during my investor pitches. I believe it is a bias, and it has to change soon. Perhaps women entrepreneurs can force this change? Five years down the line, the economy and government has to endeavour harder to give women equal field and funding opportunities to participate in Nation building.
Ethel Da Costa
The potential and the future is bright as more and more services are opening up for women entrepreneurs – from financial assistance to technical and managerial support and now even support services for home related tasks
Lynn de Souza
The potential is humongous. Like I said we are engineered very well and can multi task at a lot of levels whether professionally or personally. The start up industry is highly competitive and perks of being in one are very lucrative, I think a woman with a zeal and spirit can do a lot in here if only moving ahead with ultimate confidence and prudence. Already a lot of women are leaving their mark in start up sectors and five years down the road it might just get bigger and better
Your personal success mantra?
‘Deliver valuable experiences, success will follow’ and ‘God is in the details’.
The only thing standing between you and your goal is the nonsense stories that you keep telling yourself that you can’t do it or you can’t achieve it.
Razor sharp focus, long term vision and longer working hours. The bigger the dream, the harder the grind to get there. But get there we (I) will. People usually talk about work-life balance. I don't see the lines anymore, as work is life and life is work. It's a journey of growth, learning and passion. Geek On!
Ethel Da Costa
The best is yet to come.
Lynn de Souza
My failures are my bigger strengths than my successes. Because when you think I have lost the battle I'll come back fighting harder. Give up is not a word that exists in my dictionary so when I am down I'll make sure my spirit, positive attitude and learning from my failure define my next success story.