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Women Entrepreneurship

EMPRESSARIO …An Entrepreneurial Insight

FEBRUARY ‘2013 Vol. VII Iss. 1

IMT Hyderabad


Prarambh Speaks “This is not a goodbye; this is a see you later.” -

Anonymous

This is an intriguing line that perfectly reflects the current emotional state in the campus. The first batch of IMT Hyderabad is due to graduate in a few days’ time. An atmosphere of mixed feelings, filled with nostalgia, anxiety and hope. Most of them are feeling happy and content after getting an opportunity to work for corporate biggies. And there are some, who have taken the risk of stepping into the shoes of being entrepreneurs. The other set of students are those of the first year, who would be leaving for their Summer Internships, a long and grilling period of learning at the hands of the industry experts. Again, a few of them would be going to the extremes of getting into projects involving entrepreneurial work in social enterprises and various other organisations. So, this being the last newsletter before the institute closes for the summers, we wanted to bring forth an issue which was light and concentrated more on learning from others. On the same lines, we had a major event on campus, Ortus 1.0, the Entrepreneurship Conclave. Successful entrepreneurs from various fields took time out of their busy schedule and share their personal experiences and views with us. Budding entrepreneurs were enlightened with various aspects of the entrepreneurial journey and perspectives. We were fortunate to have a couple of women entrepreneurs too on panel. A mixed bag of questions was put in front of the panel, which were answered in a very lucid manner. Like previous issues, we continue to get contribution from other institutes, which show that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive in young minds. In this issue, we also have words of wisdom from the senior and out-going team of the E-cell, which officially handed over the baton to the new team at the conclave. We wish the members of the senior team a heartfelt thank you for all their support and guidance, and best wishes for their future and prosperity. As we all reflect on the learning ahead, we leave you here with some of the memories of the year gone by in form of collage of snaps. We bid you goodbye and good luck for the summers and hope to see you after the summers with an energised mind and spirit. Till then Happy reading

Team Prarambh

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ORTUS 1.0

Pillars of Entrepreneurship ( Rohit Seth, IMT Hyderabad ) “When you get into business and you do not have the money to run your business; what actually will happen is that you will devote your whole attention and focus on how do I pay myself and how do I pay others working for me. And that’s when you kill the quality factor and that’s it, you are over. In my mind, quality had to be the most important thing” was the reply given by Mrs. Bala Mukkamala, Director of Involute Automation, when asked a question on the “Quality versus Sustainability for Entrepreneurs”.

It was an elaborate discussion on how to overcome the challenges faced by startups at Ortus 1.0, The Entrepreneurship Conclave, hosted by Prarambh, The E-Cell of IMT Hyderabad. Mrs Bala Mukkamala was a part of the group of distinguished guests at the conclave which included Mr. J A Chowdary, the Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Talent Sprint and Founder Chairman, Hyderabad Angels, Mrs. Aruna Kappagantula (Co-Founder, Bamboo House India) and Mr. M.V. Somasekhar (Technology Manager, NSIC Ltd). The guests shared their personal experiences on how they went about their own Entrepreneurial endeavors and how one should ideally approach towards building a business in the initial phase and how to confront the various issues that they would have to confront. All the guests agreed that Entrepreneurship requires a lot of grit and the will to get through the difficult initial phases and having the passion, belief and the finances to make an idea work. Most

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of the startups that fail are because of lack of funds and the drive to make it work, rather than the substance in the idea. While Mrs. Bala Mukkamala talked about the need for the owners to have the financial muscle to feed their team for three years for the business to survive, Mr. J A Chowdary stressed upon the importance of getting out of their comfort zones for entrepreneurs and challenging themselves with a kind of work they are uncomfortable with, so that they sweat to make it work. If a business becomes easy, it is time to harvest. There was huge emphasis by the majority of the panelists on getting the right team in place and dividing responsibility and trusting your people with the work assigned to them. The equity sharing criterion needs to be defined before one gets into business into the business and if the business partner leaves, then one needs to have the attitude to move on and not let it reflect on the operations. The theme of the discussion was also focused on how do women entrepreneurs face the frills of managing a business and having two women entrepreneurs on the panel helped students understand this side of the story. The panelists had the view that initially the women may get preference and capital raising may be easier but in the long run only the business model and the enthusiasm to give the best possible service to the customer matters. The students were advised to work in the industry they want to go ahead in, for a considerable amount of time to get the required exposure and to build the finances needed to launch the business. The government’s perspective was provided by Mr Somasekhar who enlightened the students upon the IMT-H|Prarambh

procedural requirements that need to be fulfilled for starting a business. He also discussed about the essentials that the NSIC looks at in a startup before funding them and the about help provided to tech startups.

It was a great opportunity for the students of the institute to learn and clarify from people in the industry who have been there and done it all. Especially for the girls who were advised to keep a balance of work and family to make it work. The event was concluded by an official passing of the baton of responsibility of Prarambh to the new junior team, for the next year.

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ENTRESPEAK Bala Mukkamala ( Director, Involute Automation)

( Tanay Kotriwala & Anshika Rai) Ms. Bala was suddenly at the helm of affairs at Involute Automation after her father’s sudden demise. She realised the importance of renewing the focus on the core of the business – catering to manufacturers. A significant share of responsibility was now on her and the focus had shifted to providing solutions not products, interacting with people and bridging the skill gap with engineers. From this, emerged the need for a training school to make engineers work-ready within a minimum of 3 months. She was accepted into the four month program of ISB which provided further stimulus for the Involute Institute of Industry Training. She formed her own business plan for the training institute and tested it on a pilot basis to see how it worked out. Her advice for beginners: Entrepreneurship is an attitude. An entrepreneur is hell bent on his idea. There is an undying desire to prove himself... you have to give yourselves totally to the idea. She continued further by elaborating that for any business it takes a minimum two to three years to kick start. No business idea fails because it’s good or bad. It is only a matter of what is done right that is the reason behind such a few number of successful start-ups. She went on to describe certain inherent attributes in an entrepreneur He/She is forthcoming, patient and has an ability to accept failure. IMT-H|Prarambh

PRARAMBH: How do responsibilities, equity?

co-founders

share

Bala: Decisional hierarchy in a business should be of foremost importance. Deciding who will be in the driver’s seat is imperative and future decision making hinges on the same. Rules and guidelines must be set in tandem with the business philosophy to ensure accountability and responsibility. PRARAMBH: How do you convince talented youth to join the start-up considering that they may be monetarily motivated during the initial years of their careers? Bala: In my company we have not got interns but we made sure we roped in people with credible work experience and have expertise in relevant areas in the past (In our case Training heads from TCS, Production In-charge from an automotive firm etc). In the initial years your ideation process is hazy and the path ahead is still being charted. What matters at such a juncture is how well you are able to showcase the potential of what the company could be in the coming years to the prospective employees and what will their role be in achieving this potential. At the end of the day your excitement and belief in your concept is infectious and will be the final trigger for his decision to work with you.

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PRARAMBH: In entrepreneurship, success is transient. Were there times when you felt that this was not forever, and an exit strategy should be set in place? Bala: The differentiating factor between a businessman and an entrepreneur is that the latter considers his venture as his own progeny and like any parent nurturing is second nature for you. Apprehensions always exist in the initial stages but

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the fact that the business is a going concern will always be present at the back of your mind. As the session ended, she emphasised the need for students to gain experience before starting a venture of their own, to bridge the gap between the course curriculum and skills which are required to successfully run your start-up and to team up with people who have the vision to share your dream.

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WOMEN RNTREPRENEURS

THE CORNERSTONES ( L Kranti Kumar, AMITY BUSINESS SCHOOL,NOIDA) The time has finally come for us to stress on the fact that women entrepreneurs are a positive potential that is currently untapped in many societies. It is vital for us to remember that women can make significant contributions to the economy and society. National economies are losing out when a substantial part of their population cannot compete equitably or achieve its full potential. If countries could unleash the potential of women entrepreneurs, the effects on employment and the economy, on the health and well-being of families, on girls and role models, and on gender equality would be enormous. Surely entrepreneurship matters. Its benefits are many, from rewarding problem solving, organizational, and leadership abilities, to fostering creativity and engendering empowerment. Not the least of its merits is the significant boost it gives to the economy. Its very true that greater female economic independence promotes geopolitical stability and world peace. If so, it might just be time to firm up that business plan you’ve been dreaming about. IMT-H|Prarambh

Studies have shown that successful Women entrepreneurs start their businesses as a second or third profession.Because of their previous careers, women entrepreneurs enter the business world later on in life, around 40–60 years old. As women are now overtaking their male peers when it comes to education, having higher education degrees is one of significant characteristics that many successful female entrepreneurs have in common. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_entrepreneu r) Supporting entrepreneurship is undoubtedly a positive and practical choice, however there are many women across developing countries who don't receive any encouragement or support. As a result, these women are unable to pursue their dreams and a major source of growth is left untapped. "Limiting women's economic potential is for every country like leaving money on the table. It doesn't make sense, especially when we are still struggling to grow our way out of the economic crisis.” -HILLARY CLINTON

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It is vital that governments and organizations work to support women entrepreneurship and promote growth. However there are many issues that need to be addressed. Women face a myriad of social, economic and structural barriers which prevent them from succeeding in their pursuits. A high proportion of women entrepreneurs in developing countries operate in the informal economy, which restricts the potential for their business to grow. Also, women also typically lack access to training and access to business development services that would help them expand. Due to a low rate of financial literacy and a gap in financing for women entrepreneurs operating beyond the micro level, many women also have difficulty accessing the appropriate loans that they need to develop their businesses. Even if women do secure loans, many struggle to manage them.

We all very well know that half the world is woman. Educating a woman means educating a family. These two popular sayings underscore the critical and timeless roles women play in society. These aren’t entrepreneurial myths; they’re reallife examples of women-led ventures taking shape right now. The beauty of it is, unlike with getting women into corner offices of corporations, these ventures don’t require any shifts in corporate culture. In the developed world, the rule of law supports women’s rights to pursue their efforts and maintain the wealth they create. And hence, a nation should maximize all the potential it has by promoting the spirit of women.

Indeed, women entrepreneurs also lack effective networks that can support learning and leveraging of resources, such as knowledge, business advice and mentorship. Because much of business culture is male-dominated, women tend to be excluded from such circles. Lastly, women lack the support from their peers and communities to pursue their entrepreneurial pursuits. Many societies still discourage women from going into business, and there are few positive role models for women entrepreneurs to inspire them to push ahead despite the odds.

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ENTREFEATURE

A STYLISH FOOT IN THE DOOR (Kriti Dua & Sankalp Parihar,Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai) “You choose your friends by their character and your socks by their colour.” -Gary Oldman , English screen and stage actor

Ever wondered if a mundane and ordinary looking idea like selling socks could ever become so much fun? Well, the thought sneaked into minds of two young womenSeema Seth, 33, and Pooja Mehta, 28, and they beautifully metamorphosed it into their entrepreneurial venture- Footsy.in. Incepted in February 2012, this colourful e-commerce start-up caters to people who believe in trying out unconventional styles and believe that ‘socks are a reflection of one’s personality’. The founders who were then working as designers for other brands got together and resolved to start a product-led business of their own.

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Sock it up – Working Model Their current focus is on expanding their product catalogue. Main operational model includes design and manufacture of own products like socks and woollen snugglers and they also curate products from International brands. Footsy is transforming into a sought after brand for sock-a-holics all over the country. Their offerings range from socks, legwarmers, handmade snugglers to shoelaces, in scores of patterns and designs.

Marketing By using a young, catchy and playful name – Footsy, which is also a flirtatious game played using feet, they have carefully positioned

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themselves in the minds of the young consumers who form the cream of their target market. They are also creating value and building social capital by leveraging social networking. It is, undoubtedly, one of the most effective forms of promotion in today’s community. Targeting the enthusiasts that are active on face book and twitter, they are utilizing the rapidly changing digital landscape to as much as possible. Funding and response Footsy is a completely self-funded venture. According to the founders, Mumbai caters to 80% of the orders placed at the socks portal. With men no longer stuck with a fetish for blacks and blues, they’ve noticed that men in metros are more open to experimenting with vibrant colours and styles in socks. It is no longer just a playful activity of childhood where kids pair 2 different socks just for fun. The distinction between feminine and masculine colours had blurred and everyone is vying to wear something nice, bright and cheerful. And Footsy has found itself a whole new segment of customers. User Experience Aspiring to provide springs to every one’s steps, Footsy is a bunch of warm and solemn people. There is a personal touch to every service they provided and they share a personal hand-written message thanks all the customers for making a purchase. The note is delivered along with the socks to their customers. All the emails and messages are replied promptly and all the activities are accelerated once the purchase order is received.

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Challenges: As the start-up is set on a growth trajectory, it is exposed to a large of challenges. Keeping the customers happy and ensuring sale throughout the year is one big challenge. In parts of the country other than the metros, people still consider socks as part of their ‘undergarments’ and prefer keeping them hidden under their jeans, trousers, shoes, etc. Being operated by a two member team, there is also a high amount of effort that goes into taking stock of inventory, packing products, getting the e-commerce site up and running, amongst other things. Wishing Footsy All the best!

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PASSING THE BATON ( Arjun Chaudhuri, IMT Hyderabad)

As every journey comes to an end, so does this. Speaking on behalf of the E-Cell team of 2013 batch, it has been a great of opportunity to be a part of this cell and form its existence and base in the college. The initial days are still memorable when the objectives were jotted down and the agenda or curriculum chalked out as to how we can go about its formation. Taking the challenge as starting up the cell and maintain its sustainability was itself a huge task as the stepping stone of entrepreneurship. There were several hurdles in the beginning of the cell as every start up has, which were well taken care of and the cell moved on with its activities. We tried getting in venture capitalists and angel investors, tried engaging the students in networking activities with other business schools, holding business plan competitions, managing ventures in food and beverages sectors involving real cash, organizing the entrepreneurship conclave and even prepare the college for the happenings of the entrepreneurship week in the very first year. The very attribute as every entrepreneur should have, self sufficiency played a role when the cell started generating funds of its own for long term sustainability. As we seniors depart, we take along with us many memorable events related to this cell. We pass on the baton to our junior batch of 2014 who would surely carry the lead forward and make each event of the Cell bigger, better and more promising. We sincerely thank our faculty mentor in this final newsletter of our batch, who had been a trigger and a motivator to carry on every activity with much zeal and vigour. "It is fine not to follow any path. Better make a new way and leave a trail so that others can follow you"

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Add-ons Readers’ Corner Got any comments? Would you like to contribute to the newsletter? Get back to us at: ecellprarambh@gmail.com. Your comments/views and articles would be published from the next issue. A few things to be kept in mind:  Articles/comments should not be demeaning / damaging in nature.  Articles should be to the point and of around 500 words.  The decision of selecting the articles to be featured and the number of such articles rests with the faculty mentor and editor of the newsletter. So put on your thinking caps and show us your intellect side.

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Team Prarambh Faculty Mentor Dr. Archana Pillai Core Members: Arjun Chaudhuri Udit Luthur Divya Vuppala Vaibhav Chabra Manish Vishnu M. Designing, Compiling & Tech support: Pankaj Kumar Gaurav Prateek Mukherji Editing team: Rohit Seth Anshika Rai Ridhima Kumar Tanay Kotriwala Ameya Lingaraju

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Write to us: ecellprarambh@gmail.com OR Follow us at:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/337134616365784/

Institute of Management Technology, Hyderabad Survey No. 38, Cherlaguda Village Shamshabad Mandal, RR District, Hyderabad-501 218 (A.P.) Tel: +91-40-30461650-53 Email: info@imthyderabad.edu.in

Fax: +91-40-30461654 Website: http://www.imthyderbad.edu.in

Vol. VII Iss. 1 | Empressario | Feb 2013 | Prarambh | IMT-H


IMT Hyderabad Newsletter: Empressario Feb 2013