In India, establishing a company is like jumping into the unknown. No amount of training or workshops can prepare you for it. Once you’re in, there’s no comeback option. Of the many aspiring entrepreneurs, it’s only a handful who survive. And those who do are known as people who change others’ lives.
While some entrepreneurs see success at a very early stage, there are others soldier on despite their hardships, ultimately making their dreams come true. We share four such entrepreneurs’ stories here.
Aditi Chaurasia: Aditi Chaurasia is the Co-Founder of MotorBabu and EngineerBabu, which provide end-to-end IT services, from designing to maintenance. Coming from a small town called Garhi Malehara near Khajuraho and in a locality where women suffer to prove their ability, Aditi struggled to reach great heights.
She started thinking differently when she was in Std VII, but as her family was always in the midst of financial crisis, she could not think big. But one thing she was sure of was that she did not want a typical 9-to-5 job.
Eventually, in 2013, she started making handmade birthday cards under Titliyan Creation. Meanwhile, she joined an MBA course. Then there was pressure from her parents to take up a job. So while she studied during the day, at night, she handled the operational stuff of the company. The card business was doing well, but the pressure to deliver was too much. She then got in touch with an old friend Mayank with whom she had started a venture in 2009 in Indore which eventually failed.
In 2014, she launched EngineerBabu. Knowing that her conservative parents wouldn’t be supportive of the venture, she had to hide this from them. EngineerBabu’s new subscription-based platform has more than 250 paid subscribers, and has earned more than Rs10 lakh in monthly revenue in just two months. The Indore-based Engineerbabu has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Pune-based Scale Ventures for their two-month-old subscription-based B2B IT products’ platform.
With Engineerbabu doing well, Aditi revealed about the venture to her family in May this year. She now has their whole-hearted support.
Ranjana Naik: Ranjana’s venture, ‘Swan Suites’, which started in 2008, offers an affordable alternative to expensive hotels between Kavuri Hills and Kondapur in Telengana. But success didn’t come easily to her. Born and brought up in Hyderabad in a family of Doctors, Engineers or Government Employees, she always had the spirit to do something on her own. At the age of 20, she started a women’s clothing business with her friends. But the business petered out after her friends got married.
After finishing graduation, she wanted to set up a business but her family was against it. So, she had to continue with studies. While studying at NIIT, she met her now-husband, who back then had quit his well-paying job to start as an Associate for Standard Chartered Bank. She was impressed on seeing his passion for doing something different. After marriage she got an opportunity to set up her husband’s venture, a domestic call centre for a multi-national bank. It was her first big initiative, but she took it slowly. This business was in early 90s, when people didn’t even know what call centres were. But when the economy faced a crunch in 2008, the business suffered too. There was competition from international call centres also. They suffered and had to shut it down.
Next, she started serviced apartments in partnership with a family friend. When that didn’t do well, she Swan Suites independently. Today, she operates 140 rooms.
Her incredible journey has found her a place in Rashmi Bansal’s latest book ‘Follow Every Rainbow’ that records 25 inspiring women entrepreneurs from India and abroad.
Somdatta Banerjee: She came from a corporate background with an industry experience of 7 years. She worked as a brand manager in one of the top pharmaceutical companies and an MNC beer company. The thought of being an entrepreneur really struck her when she was working for the beer company where the environment was rather limiting. There was so much one could do but no one was willing to risk doing things differently.
She started putting together ThinkTag Advertising’s business plan and the need gap it would address. When she broke the news to a few friends, very few took her seriously! Many thought she wanted to just take a break from her career and chill since she had recently got married or that she had got less ambitious. In fact, when she was quitting her job, her boss’ exact words were – ‘you will sit at home and twiddle your thumbs’.
2012 was a turning point for ThinkTag when Anisha Bonsor joined the business as Partner. Today, their 15-member strong team services clients like Star India, Tata Chemicals, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Rallis, Tata AIG, GSK Pharmaceuticals and many more. Besides their pan-India presence, ThinkTag is doing well in Singapore too.
Satya Vadlamani: In charge of the Murli Krishna Pharma Pvt. Ltd., a leading drug delivery systems (DDS) company in India, Satya Vadlamani is one woman who is running her own manufacturing plant near Pune. The company was founded by her and Dr Vijay Shastri in 2004 with a group of four directors. The company provides a range of effective solutions to optimize the delivery of pharmaceutical products. From seeding to serving via MKPPL for over 11 years, Vadlamani each day spends a specific time trying and giving a simple message to women that they should think and act differently. Vadlamani believes in Mahila Shakti - that women need to decide the particular way they want to be successful in life. Having dared with numerous challenges in life, she has risen beyond the traditional role of a woman.
Vadlamani’s success story began after she got married. Her father-in-law, Vadlamani Subbarao, is a veteran in the pharma industry. Through him, she met Dr Atma B Gupta, Managing Drirector of Armour Group of Companies, which she joined first as a freelancer and went on become the Export Manager in 1992. By 1996, she was the general manager of information marketing in Ajanta Pharma Ltd. She was the youngest woman general manager in the pharma field at that time when there were few women in the industry.
So, after quitting from Ajanta Pharma Ltd. in 1997, she set up Murli Krishna Exports, a Pharmaceutical API’s Marketing and Trading Company, in 2004.
Vadlamani was bankrupt at one point. Instead of choosing the simple option, which was shutting everything down and go home, she picked up the reins again and turned things around. Today, it’s a $7 million manufacturing company!
So ladies, now that you read these inspiring success stories, go ahead and fulfill your entrepreneurial dreams.
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