Thirty-one women entrepreneurs bound by a spirit of peer learning and enhancing their business skills got together at the Birla Institute of Management Technology in Greater Noida as part of the E-week. This eclectic group had language trainers, life trainers, doctors, business consultants, finance experts, cosmetics professionals, architects, etc. in it.
Despite being so diverse in sectors, this group had many positives and negatives in common. With a few exceptions, they were young, had good eduction, urban, English-speaking and had already had a profit-making business in place. Most such businesses fall under a turnover of Rs 10-15 lakh to Rs 1 crore category. So, the basics were all worked out. They were looking for strategies to expand or consolidate. Many women entrepreneurs help their partners in in joint businesses, while many women decided to do it solo. Most women in the latter category came from technology-related businesses.
Prof. Abha Rishi, a Fulbright scholar, steers this programme of women entrepreneurs with the help of faculty and support staff. The concerns that the faculty seeks to address over a period of seven days can be categories under existing business management coordinates despite the varied backgrounds of the candidates: for example, a lot of these candidates spoke about human resource issues and difficulty in, first, getting the right people for their enterprises and, then, to be able to retain them; on the personal front, a lot of women felt difficulty in time management between family responsibilities and work requirements; better marketing was almost a universal concern; and they also sought guidance in raising finance and keeping books.
Rishi has been involved with this programme for a while and has already trained over a hundred women to run better, more effective enterprises. There are some notable success stories and a lot of past candidates vouch for the effectiveness of the bonds they build as part of this programme.