Women entrepreneurship is no longer just a buzz word but a celebrated reality wherein more and more women are starting out in diverse sectors.
This although praiseworthy a lot more needs to be done in terms of building an eco-system that enables these women led startups to thrive and prosper. Keeping this in mind and with the auspicious occasion of the Dussehra festival Vizag Industrial Scan in association with APIS (AP Innovation Society) and TiE AP chapter organized a webinar titled Fostering women led startups– Enabling an eco-system for women entrepreneurs.
The webinar witnessed some great insights on how the perception towards women owned businesses has changed over the years and what opportunities lay therein.
‘When I started out things were soo different that people dint even know what an event Management Company is let alone women entrepreneurship. We were one of the first event management companies not only in vizag but in the country’ said Dr Meenakshi Anantram an inspiration from the city of Vizag.
A master of ceremonies, author, poet, motivational speaker, Dr Meenakshi has been a pioneer in the event management space.
Having started out 27 years ago this AU gold medallist has turned her Rs 5000 investment into a Rs 5 crore company. She asked women to identify their key strengths while capitalise on being natural multi-taskers.
“Today I have turned my Rs 5000 investment into a Rs 5 crore company. Life is like an event. Experience your life like an event. You should be your own anchor. You should be your own hero.”
Dr Meenakshi Anantram
She also urged women entrepreneurs to look at MSME policy to see what is available for them. ‘There are certain clauses for helping women entrepreneurs start out’ said Dr Meenakshi.
“Today women startups have many things going for them from government support to professional programs that assist them in starting out” said Ms Lakshmi Mukkavilli, managing director of Patra BPO services, a leading IT firm in Visakhapatnam.
A subsidiary of the California headquartered company, Ms Mukkavilli started Patra’s BPO Indian operations from scratch.
“We started with just 4 people in 2005 and today we employ 3200 people across 3 cities” said Ms Mukkavilli who is also ITAAP’s president designate. Hardwork, persistence and a never give up mindset were some of the key points highlighted by these women leaders.
“If you are passionate about a goal, just go at it. Never give up. We too faced many challenges from infrastructure issues to manpower etc. but we still went through. Once you succeed you will forget your challenges/ups and downs” said Ms Mukkavilli.
Concurred Dr Meenakshi “Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of hardwork”. She also emphasised on the importance of family support.
“We started with just 4 people in 2005 and today we employ 3200 people across 3 cities. We too faced many challenges but we kept going. Once you succeed you will forget your challenges/ups and downs.”
Ms Lakhsmi Mukkavilli
MD, Patra BPO
“Your family is your first team” said Dr Meenakshi.
She advocated women to stand up and take the lead. “Life is like an event. Experience your life like an event. You should be your own anchor. You should be your hero” said Dr Meenakshi.
Talking on challenges Ms Sai Pragna highlighted that women should not let obstacles hinder them.
“I operate out of a remote place in Andhra Pradesh with limited connectivity yet am able to run my party supplies business successfully” said Ms Pragna. And if you thought women were just starting out in seamless and undemanding sectors think again. An environmental science student Ms Srinija Aparna Kotamraju has a team of environmental professionals that provide services to many mining and construction companies.
“Just due to the nature of the sector I work in, we as women face many constraints in our day-day operations from traveling to difficult terrains to interacting with male dominated workforces, etc.” This however hasn’t deterred her cause. “I want to convince these companies that they should be following environmental compliances” said Ms. Aparna.