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SHEROES
21 Nov 2015 . 7 min read

The Entrepreneurial Disruption


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I am not a Feminist. I have been plagued with student issues, employee issues, consumer issues all my life, but never ever thought of gender as a limiting factor. I have accepted challenges and assignments which men shied away from, in the public sector environment, and later on faced “We told you so… “ sneers, in case a problem arose. I have returned home using public transport at 1.30 am, but did not ask a male colleague to drop me home ( nor did they volunteer). I have prioritized work over home, remained accessible to the team 24/7 – all because it was the only logical thing to do in the given scenario, not a sacrifice. If the teams I worked with, saw me as a mother figure to turn to for solutions, it was a management style, not a gender role that I was playing. I faced glass ceilings for non-affiliation to certain lobbies or camps, not for a gender bias.

Sheroes attracted me as a club, not because they help Fleximoms, but because I met people who are in entrepreneurial ventures — People who refused to report to less capable people, people who refused to accept a lower pay after a break. That these wonderful and courageous people happen to be women is only incidental.

The annual Sheroes Summit 2015 took place at Eros Hotel in Delhi on 18thNov’15. The growing influence of the entity was visible with the kind of sponsors that they attracted. The live role-models of ‘Sheroes’ (She+Heroes for the uninitiated) poured their hearts and minds out, as only women can. To say that the audience was inspired would be an understatement, they went back ‘fired up’, and with a ‘soul progression’, as some participants put it.

  1. ENTREPRENEURS AND GENDER NEUTRALIZATION

The first eminent speaker referred to women as those who form the backbone of the work environment, keep things running, and yet, work more for job satisfaction and a congenial work environment, and less for pay and position. It set a different tone to my thought process.

The IT industry provides work-from-home and flexi-time opportunities to all, not just women. But, what makes the ‘female sabbatical population’ (as it is called), attractive to the industry leaders is not being dedicated, capable and experienced, but LOW COST resources. Not fair, but will continue as long as it suits all stakeholders.

The onus of ‘gender-neutralization’ of the work place lies on women, as much as it does on men. The women in the professional world have reached there, because they were above AVERAGE. Stop settling for less, and stop being poor negotiators. Ask for your worth, even if it is a part-time or contractual work assignment.

Re-skilling is essential for those who are changing careers, or returning after a break. The world has moved ahead, while you were away.

Ms. Sangeeta Murthy Sehgal, Consultant, Coach and Care-Giver put it beautifully in the following words.

phoenix

2. ENTREPRENEURS AND DIGITALIZATION

The byline for the event was “ Women make Digital India”.

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Yes, for sure, Ms. Smita Mishra ( Founder, PoolWallet).

  1. Freelancers are seen as the next ‘disruptive workforce’, as companies may want to engage with service providers only for specific assignments.
  2. Freelancing with multiple assignments compensates for the lack of a career path and a competitive CTC.

Another nugget from Raj Kundra, Founder, Best Deal TV.

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3. ENTREPRENEURS AS CO-OPETITORS

I have come across the spectre of imagined future competition, killing all meaningful interaction in groups. These are groups of people in different settings, who are aspirants to the same business or profession. The individuals come from diverse backgrounds, with a well-defined set of skills and expertise, and will ultimately, develop niche markets of their own. Ivory towers cannot compete against structured groups. Hence, take care of your own interest, but with a long-term view.

Ms. Kanika Tekriwal, Co-founder and CEO, JetSetGo expressed it as follows :

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4. ENTREPRENEURS AS SOLUTION-PROVIDERS

I came across a rather comprehensive definition of solution providers :

A solution provider is a vendor, a service provider or a value-added reseller (VAR) that comprehensively handles the project needs of their client from concept to installation through support. This process normally involves studying the client’s current infrastructure, evaluating the client’s needs, specifying the mix of manufacturers’ hardware and software required to meet project goals, installing the hardware and software at the client’s site(s). In many cases, the “solution” also includes ongoing service and support from the VAR. Source 

This is applicable to consultants in any field, not just the manufacturing industry. Ms. Smita Mishra, Founder, PoolWallet echoed the views of Vineet Nayar, when she said

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5. PART-TIMING CHALLENGES

Tata Second Career Internship program is an initiative to involve the sabbatical population, with experience and competence. GenPact has  announced some programs of a similar nature. There could be a few more. But the fine print needs to be checked carefully.

If  you are a senior professional looking for part-time work options, be realistic about the clients that you target, or jump headlong. If you have done it once, you can do it again, in a different environment, with different “ Terms and Conditions”. You are better equipped to face the challenges now.

Jasminder Singh Gulati, Co-Founder & CEO, NowFloats was candid in his expression.

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6. ENTREPRENEURS AND THE Artistic Keeda 

If you are blessed with a talent, the world is a stage, all yours to conquer, but not without its challenges. The two Sheroes – Ms. Neeti Palta, Stand-up Comedian and Ms. Sonam Kalra, Musician both have quit an advertising career to find time for their life purpose, their true calling. It was the “Keeda” in the mind.

A ‘Keeda’ is an anxiety in the mind, that keeps you moving in a particular direction, till you have achieved the goal.

7. ENTREPRENEURS IN A NICHE MARKET

Like many others, I have been bitten by the bug of ‘giving back’ ( quite literally J) too. But, are there takers or a defined market for your knowledge and expertise? The size and nature of the market that you deal with changes. The nature of work is more expansive, and the size of the market smaller. Try different combinations of the two, till you develop a niche market for your services or products.

Mr. Vijay Shekhar, Founder & CEO, PayTM, summarized it well.

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So, all you missionaries out there, take the world head on, but fully armed with knowledge and skills. There are several resources to help you. Just choose the right ones. You are viewed as a promising, but very gullible target group.

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SHEROES
SHEROES - lives and stories of women we are and we want to be. Connecting the dots. Moving the needle. Also world's largest community of women, based out of India. Meet us at www.sheroes.in @SHEROESIndia facebook.com/SHEROESIndia

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