VIA Lady Entrepreneurs’ Wing organised a Panel discussion on ‘Women Entrepreneurship-Opportunities & Challenges’ on August 20, 2019, under the able leadership of Reeta Lanjewar, Chairperson – VIA LEW.
The eminent Lady entrepreneurs as the panelists constituted of two Startups and two established entrepreneurs. While the Startups category was represented by Anchal Suri Manda, Founder of ‘Go For Chai’ and Leena Dixit, Founder of Nativ Chefs. The established lady entrepreneurs were Meera Joshi, Director of Epsillon Cables Pvt Ltd, who also represents Laghu Udyog Bharti, Nagpur Chapter and Anuja Sharma, Director of Shamlax Metachem Pvt Ltd, who is also the past Chairperson of Indian Foundry Men’s Association Nagpur.
Anita Rao was the moderator for the panel discussion. The panelist shared their success stories along with the challenges they have faced during the course of their business.
During the discussion on competition, Leena Dixit said that for the growth of her business healthy competition will play an important role. It will help to fast spread the new concept in the city. All agreed on the fact that Healthy competition is always better to improve quality. It keeps the entrepreneurs on toes. She, however, admitted that the toughest challenge she came across was in managing the work-life balance. Leena said that technology played an extensive role in her business and her venture was completely bootstrapped. She is being incubated by IIM Nagpur & Bangalore and their support helped her immensely in her business. She strongly felt that we can get the best out of our manpower only by paying them well and by being empathetic towards them.
Now a day’s society is accepting women in the role of entrepreneur very positively. All the panelists shared the highest and lowest point in their business carrier and said that highs and lows are the part and parcel of the entrepreneurial journey.
When asked about handling investments and funding, Anchal Suri of ‘Go for Chai’ told that nowadays it’s difficult to get funding, but with a lot of hard work and patience she got funding for her startup through the government’s scheme ‘Stand Up India’. Anchal said that today society has a positive outlook towards women entrepreneurship and she was extremely happy to have a supportive family too. However, she felt that Nagpur was not exactly too great a place to do business as people are too price-conscious and they don’t look for quality and service. This made her look for newer avenues in other cities. She said that she too adequate care of her staff to earn their loyalty and like other women, entrepreneurs found it difficult to have a work-life balance. She gave a lot of credit to technology for helping her tap new markets and streamline her business.
Anuja Sharma of ‘Shamlax Metachem Pvt Ltd’ told the audience that, she feels women are more sincere and hard-working than men, and so she started employing women in her hardcore manufacturing business. The female workers at her foundry also do all the heavy jobs also and gave better results. Anuja initially found marketing her product a daunting task but due to her hard work and tenacity, she could prove her mettle in the male-dominated industry. Contrary to other panelists, she felt that having a personal interaction with clients gave better results than through technology. She dreams of seeing her company as one of the best globally someday.
Meera Joshi of Epsillon cables shared her journey and inspired the audience. She too is from the engineering field but when she started out two decades back there was no technology to rely on hence rued that she might have lost out on market. Meera lamented that customers prefer buying cheap substandard products and admitted that funding her business was one of the greatest challenges she faced. However, she complemented her family for standing behind her even though she could not devote time to them.
All the panelists shared that, they are happy that organizations like VIA are helping entrepreneurs with adequate handholding support, which helped in both starting a business as well as scaling up.
At the outset, Reeta Lanjewar, Chairperson of VIA LEW gave the opening remarks.
Rashmi Kulkarni, PRO of VIA LEW introduced the panelists. Sarita Pawar, Past Chairperson of VIA LEW welcomed Anchal Suri with floral compliments and memento, Reeta Lanjewar welcomed Anuja Sharma, Madhubala Singh welcomed Meera Joshi and Shachi Malik welcomed Leena Dixit with floral compliments and Memento. Manisha Bawankar, Secretary, VIA LEW proposed vote of thanks. Prominently present were VIA LEW Executive members namely Anjali Gupta, Vandana Sharma, Poonam Lala, Indu Kshirsagar, Rashmi Kulkarni and Yogita Deshmukh. The Program was attended by large number of LEW members, lady entrepreneurs, working women, startups, prospective lady entrepreneurs.
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