Age, gender no stopper in the startup race

Last updated 7 Jan 2016 . 3 min read

Women CEOs Bank On Their Inbuilt Strengths

Call it the think pink trend. Women entrepreneurs are putting their own feminine stamp on the frenetic and very macho world of start-ups in India.

As more and more women join the start-up gold rush, management tactics, nose for business niche and personnel policies are beginning to be impacted by their `leadership by instinct' approach.

The new generation of women entrepreneurs don't want to be more like men. In fact, they prefer to do things differently and a start-up en vironment allows them elbow room to do so.

The first stereotype that these women start up bosses are shattering is that of battling a gender bias. Take 38-year-old Swati Gupta, CEO & founder of industry, a B2B e-commerce portal. “Being an entrepreneur is itself a huge challenge but I have not experienced many instances of where being a woman substantially adds to them,“ she said. “There are some challenges related to managing work life balance that do come from being a wo man, but our investors, talent and stakeholders have shown huge confidence in industry buying. Once the initial relationship is built, the interactions are by and large gender agnostic,“ she added.

Indeed, many of these first-gen entrepreneurs believe that being a woman boss of a start-up has its advantages. “For one, entrepreneurs in general tend to be very authoritative and control-driven but you also need to be collaborative which women are better at,“ said Shaifali Agarwal Holani, founder of home services company EasyFix.

Besides, a woman at the helm also means that people management in the organization will be a bit different.“Women are very instinct driven,“ said on-demand home service portal co-founder Debadutta Upadhyaya.

What helps is that this time round the start-up rush has also features serial entre preneurs who have earned heir spurs in a much tougher business environment earlier. Take 38-year-old serial entrepreneur Sairee Chahal, founder & CEO of whose first start-up was ounded back in 1999-2000.“Women need to stop looking or validation outside and focus on being persistent,“ she said. “As for talent, if you of er flexibility, the chances of getting good women talent is very high.“

Indeed Chahal sees an ageist rather than a sexist bias in the start-up world today.“There is an ageist bias and 35-plus is too old so in many ways being a woman and pushing 40 means both age and gender are stacked against you,“ she said.

But as more and more women join the start-up band wagon, this will change. And women are willing to go the extra mile to make sure they don't miss out on funding or business opportunities.

Click here for the original story in Times of India, Chennai edition 07 Jan 2016

TOI-7th January,2016
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