Women for Equality on Women’s day
Last Saturday, I had the good fortune of attending the ‘Women Power 2016’ even organized by Zone Startups and TheMentorpreneurs. The high energy event was graced by many successful working women and discussions were about the challenges women face in today’s entrepreneurship scenario and how we could overcome these limitations. Following are some of the tips I noted in that event:
The ‘Aha!’ idea that gets people spreading the word
Mahesh Murthy, Founder of Pinstorm and Managing Director of Seedfund, one of the first speakers of the event, encouraged women entrepreneurs to think deeper and create a product that gets people talking about it. He talked about Facebook, redbus, whatsapp, projects that have become successfully only because the users became their brand ambassadors and insisted on their friends and family to get on board.
According to Mahesh, the term valuation just means, the amount that you and I agree on and nothing more than that. He advised entrepreneurs to pursue value instead of valuation.
Since Mahesh is a potential investor, many members in the audience asked him, what are the factors he considers while deciding to invest in a business. He listed out the following:
1. He doesnt look for people with major academic achievements. He thinks that people who have made it big, did not have many degrees by their name.
2. He looks for people who are ‘jugadoos’, people who get the work done, no matter what.
3. He looks for people who can smile and get along with team, even when things get tough.
4. He does not believe in designations.
5. He looks for people who can work without egos.
6. He looks for people who dont have a Plan B. People who don’t have a plan B, give their everything to Plan A.
Persistence is the key
Revathi Roy, Social Entrepreneur, Pioneered Asia’s 1st women’s taxi service, narrated how difficult it was for her to train women as cab drivers and that in the first two years, she had trained only 10 woman cab drivers. But for her, perseverance was the key. Visiting the slums, training women to drive, as well as protect themselves, fighting government regulations were just some of the challenges she faced. Learning from those experiences has now encouraged her to start her newest venture, ‘Hi Didi’, an all women, delivery on scooter, service.
Women for equality
Shweta Shalini, SpokesPerson -BJP, Founder-Fortune Cookie Marketing Solutions, Managing Partner-Realtimewave India, spoke about equality of both sexes. She insisted every one to move away from stereotypes that portray men in darker light and that if women cant have it all, then neither do men have it all. Men have their own set of challenges and it is even more important for us now to have a discussion about equality keeping both men and women in the same pedestal.
I can do it
Angela Kurien, Delivery Project Lead at IBM, made a very valid point when she said, as soon as you think someone is better, you take five steps back for yourself. She emphasized the role self confidence plays in our day to day challenges. She advised women in the workforce, to say ‘I can do it’ to every task that comes your way. She also encouraged women to ask for help wherever required and that you are not alone. Once empowered, Angela recommended, women to share their experiences with other women and work towards empowering others.
Failure is another step towards success
Ritu – Founder of Obino, started off with asking the audience about their ventures. Many people got up and talked about what they do. But the one guy who stood out of them all said that he was representing his wife at the conference and was there to understand how women think. It made everyone laugh. That is when Ritu pointed out that this guy stood out because he answered the WHY you do what you do, instead of just what you do. Any idea stays with us more if the WHY is answered.
Ritu also warned the new starts ups that they dont tell you how much starting a new venture hurts an entrepreneur . The new owner of a business, takes his business to bed and wakes up with it. Knowing that it will hurt, it will be painful, prepares an entrepreneur to face the challenges head on. Having said that, she also encouraged starts ups to not give up when it gets tough.
Ritu stressed the importance of cashing in on the networking events. Instead of just being part of an event and exchanging business cards, Ritu emphasized the importance of doing your homework before arriving at the event. Know what your objective from the event is. Do you need clients from the event, or are you looking for people to hire or are you looking for investors. Once your goal for the event is set, then arrive at the event and ask for the relevant data and contact information from the event sponsors.
The event gave an insight into many successful businesses and the challenges they have faced to get there. It is important to not fear setbacks and failures and keep charging towards the organizations goals, no matter what.
I would like to conclude, that Women’s day shouldn’t just end up being another event where you exchange cards and feel happy for the moment. Instead, for the empowered, accomplished women, it is time to promise ourselves to not see another woman as a threat (which we have traditionally done), instead, look for opportunities to mentor, women, who still haven’t developed the skill to stand up for themselves, to put their opinions on the table and to lean in.
Happy International Women’s day!