06032019-JC-01.qxd 3/5/2019 5:41 PM Page 1 c m y b CHANDIGARH | WEDNESDAY | 6 MARCH 2019 NIDHI YADAV CREATIVE HEAD & FOUNDER OF AKS CLOTHINGS MILLENNIAL DIVAS GEETU VAID INTERNATIONAL age-old dynamics of the workforce. Taking over not only the start-up industry, these women are also bridging the gender gap of men-women in leadership positions at organisations. In a run-up to the international Women’s Day, we train the spotlight on some such successful business women who represent the millennial shepreneur power in India. ISTOCK WOMEN’S DAY They are young, bustling with ideas and they have taken the start-up ecosystem by a storm – this is the millennial Shepreneur brigade that is setting new benchmarks in the business ecosystem in the country. Those born between 1980 and 1995 who have set up their own ventures are being classified as millennial shepreneurs in the corporate lexicon nowadays. According to a recent report by PWC, female millennials are becoming a major force in the global talent pool. Making a huge shift from regular jobs of teacher and personal assistants just a few years ago, these tech savvy women are venturing into the start-up domain changing the GEETA SINGH SINGH ANKITA JAIN FOUNDER & DIRECTOR TYC COMMUNICATION CO-FOUNDER & CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER - GOPAISA Nurturing the dream of having an office of her own from her student days, Geeta Singh, Founder & Director TYC Communication, has worked hard to achieve her dream. After completing studies in 2009, she worked with many media houses in Delhi-NCR for almost four years before starting her own multi-pronged communication agency with four major verticals, i.e., PR, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, and Translation. Her story: I started TYC Communication with just ~50,000, a small room of 8 x 10 sq. feet, and a team of two. Today, the turnover of this company is more than ~5 crore, and with a team of 50 dedicated employees, we are serving to many prestigious national and international brands. Millennial Shepreneur: Millennial girls are born and brought up in a completely different environment where personal growth for women is as significant as personal growth for men. From taking charge as CEO in a corporate to leading a team of experienced male managers as Shepreneurs, they are accepted in every role and position in the rapidly evolving society. Challenges: Shepreneurs of my generation have more work-related challenges than social challenges as society is getting more educated and liberal over time. Now, I run my own business and no one in the family or relatives criticise me over it. Earlier convincing the people about one’s goals and plans was a Herculean task for a woman. Today, we are living in an age where communication is the supreme power and advancement in business is impossible without adaptation to the latest tools and technologies. So, most of the challenges are technologycentric like which internal communication platform/process suits best to my business needs. What should I do to enhance my business outreach, and with what tools and technologies I should equip my team to reap maximum benefits Work-life balance: Sharing time with family on a daily basis and regularly interacting with friends help to overcome mundane attitude and mental stress. As I am an avid traveller and fond of exploring beautiful places in India and abroad, I pursue this passion, not by all alone, but with the family members. Also, I am a bit spiritual person, so prayers, spiritual practices, and meditation are the parts of my daily routine, and they ensure a peaceful state of mind. Future goals: To accelerate the company’s growth, we have set a turnover of ~10 crores for 2019-20, and by 2025, we are planning to achieve ~100 crores turnover. Besides, I have already committed to my teammates that if they help me to achieve ~10 crores in the next fiscal, all of them will get 50 per cent appreciation in their salaries. She is one of the youngest Cofounder in the E commerce space. Basically a small town girl, Ankita Jain worked with a couple of FM channels, including stations such as Radio Mirchi and Big FM after her MBA in marketing. Due to her expertise and skills in the given vertical, success followed her. But during all this, the interest in marketing did not die down. Post her marriage with Aman, who owned GoPaisa.com, her next innings commenced. Her story: I am a stubborn woman and I guess that contributes a lot to all that I venture into. I have a knack for challenging stereotypes. When I started out there were not many women in technology and going to conference halls teeming with men made me realise that even more. So far I have been battling all sorts of demons in all manners and I am pretty sure that there are miles to go before I sleep. On being a millennial shepreneur: The fact that they had to carve a whole new word for us says a lot. All the women out there in the field have made tremendous efforts and put in their dedication to attain a certain level. Challenges were there and they continue to exist. The people in the business, investors don’t take us seri- Undervalued and forgotten The need to bring India’s ‘invisible’ women workers into the light ANISHA RAJAPAKSE Over 80 per cent of all employed persons in India make a living by working in the informal sector as cited recently by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The vast majority of women who work in India are informal workers. 2012 data indicates that 95 per cent of women work in the informal sector. A large section of women workers fall into this ‘informal’ sector category — that part of the economy that covers all major sectors and industries where workers have no legal recognition or protection and often work without formal contracts in poor conditions and for low wages. They are not counted into standard labour forceand employment indicators. These are the ‘invisble’ women workers in India. This includes domestic labour, piece-rate homework/sub contract work from factories and support to small family enterprises. They are paid just a pittance and are often exploited by their employer and even by their husbands/family. They are poor women with little or no literacy, the majority given away in marriage often at a very young age. They lack any recourse to challenge their status quo or simply to ensure that their rights and dignity are protected, and remain invisible and voiceless. All this, notwithstanding their roles as mothers and caregivers and often being the primary breadwinners for their families. These are not ‘decent’ work options for these vulnerable women as they offer no recognition, afford little or no legally stated remuneration, invariably no access to social securityor protection, and lack the wherewithal to even consider ways to organise to ensure their rights. The realm of the enforcement of international labour standards and human rights could not be more removed from their orbit. What kind of exploitation is more prevalent in this sector? On an average, informal workers earn far less than formal workers and receive no benefits or protection. Today, the transitional direction for employment in many developing countries is not from ‘informal’ to ‘formal’ but it is from ‘formal’ to ‘informal’.The standard jobs are increasingly turned into non-standard jobs. Many enterprises are on trend to being downsized or closed and as a result the retrenched workers are forced to take up informal activities to sustain themselves and their families. Exploitation of these women is rife as they are often on short-term contracts or on an informal basis, and are unable to challenge low pay, long hours or safety issues. If we focus for example on the apparel industry in India, based on the data by continued on page 4 c m y b Future plans and goals : GoPaisa is at the centre of all my future plans. I want to make the largest platform that will help the users make informed choices and make the most of the available offers and deals. Besides this, a goal that I have set just for myself is I want to feature in Forbes 30 under 30. ously, they often underestimate our potential, and funnily enough, sometimes wrap an alternate career advice in concern and serve it to us. But it will be unfair to say that no one supports us. We are where we are with the support of a lot of people and that includes men. Personally, I feel the world of ‘Shepreneur’ is incomplete without ‘Hepreneur’. How different were your challenges: The kind of challenges for the younger entrepreneurs are quite different. Convincing customers to adopt new ideas is surely a major roadblock. But the good point is with the increase in disposable income and consumerism customers are more open to experimentation and are becoming open to trying new products. Work-life balance: My daughter is like a tranquilliser that kicks off any frown or trace of stress. Her presence is all I need to relax. Besides that, my husband and I go on unplanned road trips with our daughter whenever we can. That takes care of most of the worry that keeps lurking around us. SEE ALSO PAGE 3 Sitting at the helm of AKS Clothings, an ethnic fusion brand of Yuvdhi Apparels since May 2014 is Nidhi Yadav. Starting her journey with a small seed capital (approx ~4 lakh) and a small warehouse of less than a thousand units, she has made her venture cross the ~100 crore revenue mark in Q3 of FY 2018-19. Besides offering pocket-friendly designs, her organisation has been batting for women empowerment and has already developed a special unit for women so they can get better employment which also involves the presence of more than 50 per cent of outsourcing firms working for AKS that are either founded or led by women. Her story: Ever since she watched Meryl Streep’s 2006 Blockbuster The Devil Wears Prada, she knew she had to work in the fashion industry. It was during this time only that she was working at a consulting firm Delloitte where at an year-end presentation she was asked a simple question, “When was the last time you wanted to go to the office?” “Being honest, I simply replied ‘Never”, it was then I decided that one day I will own a business of my own in fashion domain’. Millennial Shepreneurs: Millennial Sheprenuers is the voice of great strength and resilience that has bloomed beautifully despite the societal woes and restrictions. While the concept of sheprenuers didn’t go well at first as the female professionals were always living under the pressure of performing better than their male counterparts, but things have transformed completely in recent years. Coming out of their bubble of perfection, women have not just performed brilliantly in their professional roles of leading a team but have also been skilled at executing things well and improving every time with a tinge of creativity and innovation. Challenges as an entrepreneur were/are different: In particular, there isn’t any major challenge in my journey that is in any way different from those faced by the women entrepreneurs of the older age group. But yes, starting off on an entrepreneurial journey while nursing a few months old baby brought some tough times that my older counterparts tend to not face as by the time they started their business their kids have grown old enough to understand the situation. Future plans and goals: We want to be the market leader in women fusion wear and to accomplish this mission the entire team of AKS is working day and night. High market penetration via MBOs and e-portals is our top strategy in this direction and we expect some really good results. Work-life balance: Sparing time for the family and having some quality moments with them. Besides, music also works a great stress buster for me.
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