Happy Horizons Trust: Educating Rural India through Storytelling and design thinking

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Education in rural India is sensitive topic which is being addressed by Indian government and edu-startups. Although government has made primary education compulsory, still there are many loopholes due to which quality education cannot be imparted to students.

There are many startups which are working towards education of under privileged children. Many NGOs have come forward which make learning easier through new technology at low cost, storytelling, educational games and toys. These small initiatives in different corners of different states are slowly changing education and schooling for children.

Problem faced by People

Recently I have come across many girls of age group 12-18 years who do not want to study as they do not see any incentive in studying. Major reasons for low education interest seems to be following:

  1. Choose to become Bread-earner over Education: NGOs are working in their area to give free education but girls want to become earning member of family earlier, as what will happen if they study? They have no idea how vast world is, or how many options are open for people who complete even basic education.
  2. Early marriage/Dowry arrangement for older sibling: This is again another issue which works in vicious circle. Girl of 13 year age leaves schooling to arrange dowry for 17 year old sister’s marriage. This scenario is very common in rural areas.
  3. Poor quality of education: About 50% of children in class 5 cannot read a class 2 text paragraph fluently nor can write fluently. Medium of education imparting is boring and hard to grasp.

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How HHT is resolving above problems

  1. Women Centered Approach: Girls of all age group are being encouraged by them through various schemes like mentoring girls, training them in digital literacy, making them capable of being bread earner while keeping in touch with education.
  2. Interactive sessions, captures students attention: Interactive story telling and craft sessions keep students engaged. Students look forward for next session when they will have fun in school.
  3. Local Champions: They are creating Role Models for people among people through “YOUTH LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM” in rural and semi-urban areas.

About Happy Horizons Trust

Happy Horizon Trust(HHT), a Not for Profit Organization(NPO), was founded by Kshitiz Anand and Vatsala. They started work in 2012 itself, but registered as Trust in 2013. They are covering primary, middle as well as high school education needs through different programs, storytelling sessions and design workshops. Their programs acts as catalyst in keeping students interest in schools and knowledge gaining.

They are operational in Bihar, Delhi and Bangalore and have covered over 25000+ students through 500+ sessions in 40+ schools. What started as small initiative of a couple has expanded into an organization which is organizing meetups and preparing annual reports to track their learning as an organization.

Achievements of HHT

HHT has some good memories in its kitty bag.  They have been selected for Wipro Seeding Programme for Educational Startups and NGO’s in July 2017. In this  programme, three year Founder Fellowship will be provided, which will help is improving quality of services as well as business skills of founders.

Vatsala, co-founder, is also part of six month accelerator program at IIT Delhi initiative, WEE batch 2 which started in April 2017.  WEE foundation has provided a platform to Vatsala where she gained confidence and new insights to broaden her horizons. In hyperactive WEE women group, here is lot of interaction and knowledge sharing which has helped along with mentors continuous support.

Kshitiz, co-founder HHT, is part of Teach For India TFIx which is year long incubation program specifically designed for startups working in education sector. There are total 8 fellows with their organisations all over India selected in November 2016 for this program.

They are the proud recipients of the Pratham books ‘Library in a Classroom Kit twice this year in January and February this year. The 3 kits along with 500 story books were distributed to 2 low income affordable private school and 1 government school.

About Vatsala

Vatsala is a post-graduate in mass communication and has been an NCC cadet. She is expert in story telling and uses animated stories to connect with children. In her own words:

I attended one of the session by Mr Sonam Wangchuk, real life Rancho, given to WEE entrepreneurs at IIT Delhi. There he addressed same issue in different context. According to him, “There is deficiency of role models in villages and rural areas. If we give enough incentive then people will come forward on their own.”

Same ideology needs to be applied in rural areas as well as sub urban areas towards education. We are creating role models in form of our Champions. 

– Says Vatsala, Co-founder, HHT

Happy Horizon Trust can be reached out at: happyhorizons @gmail.com  They can be connected on facebook.

 

Delhi based Startup PurpleApple Infosystems is set to ‘Redefine Business Growth’ with Innovative Technologies

 

The business world is ready to embrace new technologies. Technologies like Augmented Reality are already being used to meet the business requirements, accelerate business activities, provide experience to customers & compete with others.

“Pokemon Go” is a perfect example of how Augmented Reality seamlessly merges the ‘Reality with Virtuality’.   Augmented reality has the potential in changing every facet of our lives, such as Healthcare, Retail, Travel & Tourism, Media & Entertainment and Education Sector by providing personal experience to its users.

Amrutha Valli, an MCA gold medalist,20+ years of work experience in Wipro & Tata Docomo, now an Entrepreneur is coming up with Innovative products using Augmented Reality Technology.  A risk taker, perfectionist and a person of curious mind, she continuously fights to make a difference. She is hence attracted towards challenging green field initiatives. “PurpleApple Infosystems” is the result of such initiatives undertaken by her. She dedicates her time in creating AR products for businesses to help them in their future endeavours.

Mission and Vision

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With the Vision of “To Be One of Top 10 Most Innovative Business Solution Providers in India”,  PurpleApple Infosystems started its journey in 2016.

The Mission of PurpleApple Infosystems is “To provide Smart & Simple, Innovative & Interactive, Competent & Cost Effective Digital Solutions to the customers in order to propel business growth”.

The organization is recognized by “Startup India”, certified by DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) & products are validated with the recognitions by IIM Bangalore,  IIT Delhi & XLR8AP Entrepreneur Accelerator programs.

Value Proposition

For all enterprises who would like to differentiate their products or services, PurpleApple Infosystems provides Augmented Reality mobile applications for Marketing coupled with easy to configure ‘Do It Yourself’ portals.  Unlike the existing model of downloading mobile apps for each of the enterprise, PurpleApple provides generic mobile applications for each of the sector like Travel, Shopping, and Exhibitions.  It is Cost-effective, requires NO training, NO additional device required as it works on ALL smart phones.

AR solutions mixes Virtuality with Reality to Educate, Engage & Entertain the customer, provides delightful experience and works on any smartphone.  This delightful experience will leads to Brand retention, Repeated customers & Increase revenues.

solution_PA Main objective of PurpleApple Infosystems is “To Redefine Business Growth with innovative Augmented Reality marketing solutions to increase revenues without disturbing existing business eco system”.   They develop solutions to provide Experience, Engagement & Entertainment.

As of now, they have launched some of the mobile applications in Android market place which are one of its kind as well as Innovative & useful.

Entrepreneurial Journey :  from Nothing to Ideation and Implementation

After having completed a successful journey in large corporates like Wipro & Tata Docomo, Amrutha started thinking of how to contribute to the society.   She understood that the people were trying to find out a way to come out of the stressful & robotic nature of world.   There are many innovations & solutions which handle serious issues like Healthcare, Environment etc, very few exists when it comes to providing Experience, Engagement, Education & Entertainment. In this stressful world, it is the need of the hour to address these issues immediately.  She strongly believes that even a small experience that is good can make a huge difference in the mindset of the people & drives business growth.  This was the motive that lead her to take a plunge into Entrepreneurial journey.

She started collecting information on how to contribute to happiness while simultaneously contributing to the society’s economic growth.  “Virtual Hamsafar” is a Travel app aimed to make travel experience worthwhile. It offers a wide range of amenities from trip management to security options. She boldy presents Virtual Hamsafar as a social app as Tourism not only improves the economic conditions but also promotes social changes in the lives of local people, strengthens relationships, aids creative expressions, and supports infrastructure and lifestyle.

Slowly she added other products of “TRYb4uBUY” & “scanNsee” to her array of apps.  Trying the product before purchases will increase the buying instinct of a consumer which leads to more business.  More business to a retailer results in more buying / investing power & the goods cycle goes on.  And in this cycle, Socio Economic conditions of nation will improve.

IIMB-Goldman Sachs Women Startup Programme

Thorns in Her Entrepreneurial Journey

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To make her dream into reality, Amrutha had to overcome many obstacles. She faced many challenges such as being judged by her peers & friends for leaving her job after 20yrs to trying to understand the rules of the startup. She had to start from scratch as her personal and professional life had started to seep into unknown foreign territories.  Being a newly opened company, she had minimum funds to pay for employees, keeping a tab on investment for product validation proved to be quite taxing.

The journey of a new entrepreneur takes a lot of hard work and leads to less or no returns in the initial years. The fundamental question of where to get money for primary investment is the biggest problem of all. Funding governs the quality of employees, products, the infrastructural facilities and the time consumed in completing a task.

In the current world where software innovations are introduced by mega companies like Google & Facebook every month, a budding company holds no cards while competing against the likes of such.

A client chooses a product based on company’s credibility, but for a startup which is still in its formative years is difficult to claim the credibility.  A startup, especially bootstrapped organizations which does not have enough resources for elaborate Research & Development which the ever changing tech world requires finds it difficult to establish initially.

But undeterred by such problems, she worked hard to establish herself amidst young entrepreneurial minds and make a name for herself.

 High Time To Business

Amrutha has represented her startup in many key programs at National level. She was part of IIMB-Goldman Sachs Women Startup Programme, where after 5 weeks of online training, she was selected for 3 weeks boot-camp at IIM Bangalore in January 2017. She is one of the top 50 women entrepreneurs of India, who was given chance to learn and polish business skills at one of the India’s Top Business school.

After initial recognition as women entrepreneur in IIMB, she is now part of IIT Delhi initiative, WEE(Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment) batch 2, which commenced in April 2017 . WEE is national level initiative by IIT Delhi, where 30 women entrepreneurs have been selected for 6 month program.

Amrutha’s efforts were recognized by XLR8AP Accelerator Program.  This is the initiative of Andhra Pradesh Innovation Society, FICCI & University Of Texas (Austin) to elevate budding entrepreneurs to become successful business personalities.

Recently, Amrutha was invited as speaker in Annual Teachers Convention in Jamia Hamdard University, Delhi where this years’s topic was “Entrepreneurship Awareness and Culture”. She  has taken session of their faculty so that they can inculcate Entrepreneurship qualities in their students.

Latest addition to her achievement is, “Delhi Management Association All India Women’s Entrepreneur Award 2018” which she won in February 2018.

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Mobile Applications from PurpleApple Infosystems  :

1) Virtual Humsafar

“53%” of leisure travellers are looking for Experience & Security along with Information while travelling. After 2 years of extensive market research & customer behavior analytics, “Virtual Humsafar” is developed for Travel Agents, Tourists, Tourist Places like museums & monuments which makes the solution as One Stop Shop while travelling.

Most of the existing solutions are available for journey planning, itinerary management and bookings of flights & hotels.  There are almost no players in market which caters to the need of tourist during travel. Once people lot of tasks embark their travel, they have to manage manually. This app provides delightful journey experience to the traveler coupled with Security, Collaboration & Fun features.

Virtual Humsafar” is in line with the government “Transform India” initiatives which ensures the SAFETY of the tourists along with providing EXPERIENCE.  This paves the road to INCREASE in the number of Tourists & indirectly impacts the Socio-Cultural & Economic Conditions of the local residents.

 “Virtual Humsafar” is an wholistic solution which acts as “A True Companion While Travelling…

  2) TRYb4uBUY :

Generation Z, Millennials and urban upper middle class people love (Social) shopping sitting on the couch rather than going to physical shops. With hectic work-life, they sometimes do not have time to hop-in one shop to another for selecting that one ‘Unique’ piece. Online shopping provides the convenience and options, but not the experience and thrill.

Virtual Try solution TRYb4uBUY bridges the gap between these online & offline shopping. Being in hectic work life of entrepreneur, Amrutha had experienced some of the shopper’s perils herself and decided to take heads-on approach to solve the issue. As a result, TRYb4uBUY originated from combined reviews, feedback and experiences from fellow entrepreneurs and working mothers.

TRYb4uBUY app allows users to try Jewelry & Apparel designs at real time & live camera before actual purchase decision.  There are multiple app variants of TRYb4BUY for Jewelry, Apparels, Furniture, Interior design. Users can check the furniture by placing it in real world with the help of 3D models meanwhile trying different colour & texture to change the wall papers of User’s room.

Therefore, this app is

  • Discovery and Experience Tool from customers point of view
  • Marketing and Lead Generation Tool from Shopkeepers/retailers/businesses point of view.

Some of the features like Location based specific information can be provided or Users can be directed to physical shops, are useful leads for business.

3) scanNsee

In this competitive & fast paced world, Enterprises are looking for innovative & disruptive methods to increase revenues without disturbing the existing business eco system.

This app is

  • Discovery and Experience Tool from customers point of view

This tool is very simple to use for customers.  scanNsee will allow the user to get more information in the form of Videos, PDF’s, etc., by just scanning the Enterprise Logo or any product image without going to shop or meeting anyone,

  • Marketing Tool and Lead Generation Tool for an Enterprise

Business can provide different types of information like product videos, product trainings, discount coupons/vouchers.  Product has the capability to provide different information in different languages based on the location, date & time.

Individual Journey: from IT specialist to Entrepreneur

Amrutha decided to pivot her rich tech-managerial expertise into tech-entrepreneurial expertise in the field of Augmented Reality to become a first generation Entrepreneur in the family.

Being MCA Goldmedalist, E-MBA & Tech Evangelist, she has successfully completed many challenging & green field projects in Wipro & Tata Docomo such as mRupee, Recharge Solutions using mobile menus,  defining Security & Privacy frameworks for Indian ITES industries (Data Security Council of India DSF © & DPF © .

Amrutha never looked back in continuing the journey with a hope of bringing difference in lives of people with products which contributes to economy.

Taking the inspiration from Motivational Speaker & Author Shiv Khera “Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently”,   & “Motivation is like fire—unless you keep adding fuel to it, it dies. Your fuel is your belief in your inner values”.  Amrutha is trying to do things differently by constantly adding the fuel to be motivated always.

 

Indie Cotton Route- Providing Customized ethnic wear to Women

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“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you. But you decide what you are.”

— Gianni Versace

Today we are forgetting our own culture and giving importance towards stylish clothes in the name of “modern wear”. Indie Cotton Route, a fashion start-up has taken the challenge to popularize the Indian sustainable clothing not only in India but also all over the world. Indie cotton route uses fabrics with low carbon footprint but styles them into the most classy garments which talks volumes about the person adorning them.  Their products are rich in traditional handwork of artisans like mystical kalamkari, block printing, silk patterns, ikkat work and punjabi phulkari.

This is the story of an Indian housewife & how she is establishing her startup in the textile sector. In the ocean of new boutiques and online apparel selling, how Shalini is trying to distinguish herself.

About the Company :

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Indie Cotton Route aims to be a one-stop solution for Indian working women when it comes to the selection of customized outfits and light weighted fabrics with a good taste in fashion. They take Indian fabrics—ikkat, kota, chanderi, block-prints, khadi, dabu, silk, variety of cottons, kalamkari, mangalgiri and turn them into contemporary, classic, fusion, trendy, indo-western styles.

Presently they are selling through their website indiecottonroute.com as well as on many e-commerce website like Once upon a trunk, Jaypore & Novica.

They are very conscious about the social impact of clothes manufactured. Whether it be using natural sustainable fabrics from indigenous craftsmen or dealing in fair practices of trade. They also conduct campaigns in offices to create awareness among people to do their bit for the environment .

Current Pain Points of Customers :

  1. Unavailability of reasonable priced sustainable Outfits :  There is no e-commerce site which offers outfits designed customized for women which are made from sustainable fabrics as well. Getting a garment stitched from a tailor is a hassle, while wearing Designer labels daily is expensive.
  2. Poor Quality of Fabrics & Weak Stitches : Synthetic dyes used in clothes release toxins which cause numerous skin allergies and infections. In most ready-made outfits, stitches are very weak, often break after wearing 2-3 times.
  3. Heavy embroidery and weight of clothes : In metro lifestyle, women want good quality stylish festive wears with light weight fabrics. But still now in the rural areas women don’t get light weight clothes.

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What they are Offering : 

  1. Stylish, Sustainable and Economical clothes: They are offering custom corporate couture for women wherein the customers can get outfit designs customized as per their own body fit, without any guilt.  

    Our cuts are such that they can make any woman looks slim, irrespective of the body type. Whatever be the problem, the cut of our clothes, specially customized for you, to your measurement, will flatter you.”                                                 — Shalini Saluja, Founder of Indie Cotton Route

  2. Providing both casual as well as Festive wear: indie Cotton Route has started with casual wear in variety of pastel colors. Now, they are catering to needs of urban women in both casual and festive occasion. These festive wears made with light weight fabrics will make you gorgeous and at the same time keep you comfortable throughout the occasion.
  3. Partnership program for woman: They are under process to open offline boutiques at various locations. Special element about this is that these boutiques will be owned by housewives,who are looking for work from home options.

How the idea came into mind :

Shalini has been running boutique from her home since past 20 years.  Her experience with ladies and their common issues in clothing, made her realize that all women face the same problem of right fit like her. Four years back in 2013, she decided to create a one-stop online destination for customized outfits with elegant designs and “Indie Cotton Route Design Studio” was born.

Struggles faced :

Being a mother and working professional is tough job to handle. When Shalini was pursuing her fashion designing course, she worked in first half of day and studied in second half. Since she had experience of running home based business, to convert it into full fledged clothing brand is a challenge. Learning business Jargons, handling finances, collaborating with different online portals  and scaling business was a challenge in itself. 

Presently she is part of six month accelerator batch of IIT Delhi-WEE(Women Entreprenuership and Empowerment) and also has joined e-residency program of European country, Estonia. 

About Shalini :

a7303_7Shalini Saluja is a woman entrepreneur from Delhi. She was a student of electronics engineering and communications technology. But her passion in fashion lead her to study Fashion Designing. She has extensive experience in working with different fabrics, design patterns and dealing with international clients. When she had to quit job to give time to her little daughter, she decided to open home-based boutique as side business.

As an Indian housewife, from homemaker and mother to leading a company seems like an impossible work. But she prove it wrong by her hard work.

Handmadely-be swadeshi: promoting Rural India and handlooms to Trendy customers

Rural women making kantha stitch weaves in Bengal
Rural women making kantha stitch weaves in Bengal

In both International and national market, awareness of organic clothing is increasing. People are fast switching to natural fibers and organic dyes for fresh feel and healthy skin and these products can be carried in comfort. Although many entrepreneurs are already realizing this goal, this story is of Simontini das, how she is tackling the issue in her unique way by her startup in Textiles sector: Handmadely-Be swadeshi.

About the company:Handmadely_logo

Handmadely-Be Swadeshi is a social venture which is mainly empowering the rural artisans and weavers by selling their produce to a wider audience by eliminating the middle-men. They deal with handloom clothing which includes silk, cotton and khadi; bamboo handicrafts, jute and cotton products.  Apart from clothing, other offerings of Handmadely include notebooks, diaries and similar kind of hand decorated materials, all created by rural artisans of Bengal and North-east India.

They are planning to operate in both brick and mortar model as well as online store. Currently they are operational through Facebook but launching their own website in coming days.

Do you Know:

Muga Silk, which is a GI tag silk produced in Assam, is famous for outliving the life of wearer.

Problem prevailing in society

  1. Difficulty in sustainability of weavers: Compensation/wages which weavers get is very less compared to market value of the products they produce. They have very limited access to customer base in local areas. Middle men often earns all the profit margin and passes very little benefit to them.
  2. Authenticity of clothes: Many small scale industries and online platforms claim to sell hand-loom and organic clothes, but their authenticity is in question. Customers cannot differentiate whether cloth has been machine made or hand-loomed.
  3. Health deterioration due to Chemical dyes: Synthetic dyes used in clothes release toxins which are being absorbed by our body slowly. Also, many skin allergies and infections are result of chemical bleach used in clothes.

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Solution provided:

 Simontini  strongly believes that “chemicals are for laundry and not for the skin.

  1. Assurance of Purity: All of their products comes with a “Symbol Of Purity” tag, which is issued by Government of India, and is difficult to duplicate.  This ensures that product which customer is buying is 100% pure.
  2. Supporting Aanganwadi workers: Since, all products are made by rural and craftspeople only, this initiative promotes the livelihood of Aanganwadi workers. Handmadely is providing compensation to workers which is thrice of what they get normally, there by giving better incentive to workers.
  3. Safe Skin: Through their venture, they are promoting “safe skin” clothing as their products are free from harsh chemicals and are prepared using vegetable dyes and organic colors which is skin safe.

Inspiration behind the idea:

Inspiration behind Simon’s idea is her family’s close proximity to the weavers and the artisans community. From her early growing years, she is familiar with the hardships a weaver’s family goes through especially in rural areas. Also, during her corporate career  Simontini has headed many CSR initiatives which in some ways strengthened her resolve to do something for the poor artisans. She was more focused on seeing how she can support the livelihoods of these rural producers.

Journey from Idea to Implementation:

Her team has spent a lot of time in conducting awareness sessions amongst the weavers/artisans community and educating them about the initiatives. She has successfully implemented pilot stages and now she has paying customers both national and international. Her products are being widely liked by everyone as they are at affordable rates and are free from harsh chemicals and dyes.

Challenges faced:

From customers point of view, creating brand awareness is one of the challenges, Simontini has encountered. For engaging rural artsians, interacting and understanding the complexities of working with the rural weavers was difficult and also to make them understand the concept of computers and online selling was a struggle.

High time in the Business

In early stage of business, just after launch they have started gaining positive reviews from customers and clients. One of their client, who resides in South Africa gave special feedback that they loved the products and are promoting Handmadely brand among friends and relatives.

Simontini Says that: “My venture was still in an ideation stage when I got selected in WEE(Women Empowerment and Entrepreneurship) in April 2017 batch. Because of the continuous mentoring provided by our mentors, I could move past the ideation to the implementation stage so soon.

IIT-Delhi WEE accelerator six month programme has helped her to refine raw business idea into a revenue earning model and has opened new horizons. With constant mentoring from Dr Sarandeep Singh and Aparna Saraogi, Simontini has now full fledged business which is bridging the gap between Rural India and Urban customers.

About Simontini Simotini

Simontini is down to earth person, past recruitment lead, present social entrepreneur who is looking for new options to promote rural masses of India.

She is always ready to help others and constantly looking for new ways to engage more people with her. She can be reached at facebook easily.

 

ZingoBox: Gift happy moments to parents with this Start-up

 

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Very few old people use social media platforms like Facebook  Source: DazeInfo

Professionals and tech people have access to all the facilities on their fingertips. But what about retired people and old couple living alone in the city. Which company is working for their needs. Cannot think of one? Zingobox is a startup focusing on the untapped section of the $14 billion elderly care market in India.

Problem prevailing in the society

  1. Alone in city: Due to rapid globalisation, education, employment and marriage,  we have to live away from our parents, in other cities or countries, quite often. Hence, many times, we can not take care of them both emotionally and physically.
  2. Assistance needed: Old couples living alone struggle for occasional get-together, Puja ceremony, etc. and want some assistance. They often have to face problem in doing even simple tasks like household chores. Due to absence of their children nearby, they end up doing all work by themselves, which is tiring as well as inefficient sometimes.
  3. No specialised gifts for old people: When browsing gifting options online, we often struggle to find something suitable for elders. Most solutions lack customisation, usability and might not give satisfaction to customers.

About the Company

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Zingobox is a gifting marketplace where people can buy a product, book a service or gift a box for their elders to spread happiness and show them the much needed care. Zingobox is the idea of a young women entrepreneur, Sakshi Gupta who is working tirelessly to establish her roots in startup world. This company was launched in June 2017 and already they have been making noise by getting paid customers so soon. Currently they are operational offline in Delhi-NCR and perfecting their offerings to be online really soon.

As of now, they are a proprietorship firm with a team of two, but are going to be a “pvt ltd” company soon with 2 more experienced members joining the team.

Daniela Godoy, head of internationalisation at e-Residency Estonia (European country) liked this start-up so much she mentioned them in her article. Read complete article here.

How this idea turn up?

Many of Sakshi’s cousins are either settled abroad or living far from home town. One day their parents start discussing with Sakshi’s parents “How fortunate you are that your children stay with you!! go for shopping with you, are there at times of emergency or in celebrations“.

On the other hand, her cousins felt constant guilty for not able to do the needful for their parents. They keep telling Sakshi that “Can you please visit our parents? spend some time with them or at least teach them how to use WhatsApp or Facebook, so they don’t feel neglected.

This spring up an inspiration moment for Sakshi to lets fill this gap in the form of ‘ZingoBox’. A place where people could purchase all sort of gift products and assistance services at a single platform, and give elders the much needed feeling of care.

With more knowledge, comes more empathy”  – Sakshi mantra for elderly care.

Solution Provided

Solutions provided by Zingobox for old people

Solution provided by ZingoBox is to bring the joy back to elders which they miss due to children’s absence in their lives. Currently they have three offerings:

  1. Gift a moment: Many times we look for products which are suitable for 40+ age groups. But, most products available offline and online and within easy reach are unsuitable for ageing people. ZingoBox offers products which are  special and carefully selected such that it feels like gifting a special moment to your elders.ZingoBox_Services
  2. Gift a Service: Old people can be benefited from assistance in daily routine, hence ZingoBox offers a solution where one can gift a special service to his/her parents. From special occasion services like Birthday party decoration arrangements, Puja arrangements, to essential services like helper assistance on per hour basis, as well as parcel pick and drop service, all are covered by ZingoBox. In coming days, they are going to provide skill based training to elders to make them active in their lifestyle.
  3. Gift a box: For people requiring long term services or multiple products, various packages are available on subscription basis for up-to one year. Zingobox_GiftBox

Where they are headed?

estoniaThey are trying to become a one-stop platform for all the product and services available for elders, not only in India but globally. For that, WEE foundation has helped a lot by providing e-residency for Estonia with which they can easily operate their business in European Union remotely. In coming days, they are plan to give occupation to elders so that they can spend their time in an efficient way.

About Sakshi

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Sakshi is a young entrepreneur,  B.tech-MBA aged 26, has over 5 years of professional experience in startups like Haptik and Bionova.

She won fellowship at Founder Institute in 2015. Founder institute(FI) is a silicon valley based incubator with chapters PAN India. Only two women entrepreneurs were selected on ALL India basis and she was one of them. Unfortunately, Sakshi could not do fellowship, but she gained lots of insight and contacts there. Her team consists of people she met at FI.

After conceiving the idea of ZingoBox, Sakshi applied for IIT-Delhi WEE Foundation’s six month program and got selected among top 30 women entrepreneurs. With support of WEE foundation, Sakshi has got new confidence, gained momentum and execution to fly high with her dream company.

If you think, you can collaborate or want to help Sakshi in anyway, you are most welcome to “Say Hello“. She would be more than happy to connect.

 

Kidzopedia.in – Discovery platform to match parents and academies

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In current economical environment  lot of women entrepreneurs are being given support from government led initiatives. In this column, we are presenting you story of a mompreneur, Yashodhra Patil, whose startup is just 4 months old, by the name of Kidzopedia.in.

Getting a right academy for kids is quite a challenge for parents these days in India. When I say ‘right‘ it should be affordablereachable and fulfill at-least the basic necessity. Requirement may vary with child’s age, interest and ability. This could be after school activities or classes to get child busy during vacation or long summer break.

Kidzopedia.in is trying to bridge gap between coaching-academies and parents.

Inspiration behind the idea

Based on her personal pain experience, Yashodhra felt an urgent need of a platform where parents could directly meet with academies, and academies could cater to parents queries. There is no existing all-in-one platform in India where parents could easily find academy of choice for their little ones.

She did market analysis, contacted lot of academies and interacted with parents. Based on survey and statistics, she has designed her startup’s business model.

She unfolds her story as follows:

“When I enrolled my daughter for a skating class, i myself faced the issue. There was no academy within 6km range from home. So I tied up with a school in my area and they opened a skating rink in school premises. From there, this thought came to my mind to help other parents who are feeling the same pain as I did.”

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Step-by-step process simplified at Kidzopedia

About Kidzopedia.in

Founded in early 2017,  Kidzopedia serve as a marketplace, one stop destination for parents to find after-school tutors, sports, music, arts workshops and other different programs for their children. From parent’s view, three services are being provided by them:  Quality check-list, reviews and peer comparison with similar institutes all at single platform, thereby saving precious time.

Kidzopedia has different offering for both Academies and parents as follows:

Offering for Parents: 

  1. Inborn Potential Assessment Test  (IPAT) One of its type offering by kidzopedia.in is the scientific study of the fingerprint patterns. These patterns are distinctive and are closely linked with one’s genetic composition, brain  and nervous system. This test could reveal child’s strength by measuring intrinsic qualities, assessing the natural acumen and talent of individuals. It provides guidance on making intelligent choices, which will result in maximum utilization of child’s potential.
  2. From Child capabilities to course enrollment: Institute that could nourish new skills, knowledge and act as an amazing opportunity to shape child budding future. Parents want to know whether place of learning is clean & secure, enjoyable, interesting and fascinating as well. All these services are being centralized by them.

Offerings for Academies:

  1. Lead Generation: There have various yearly subscription plans for lead generation for academies.
  2. Expansion Assistance: On the basis data analytics of parents queries, Kidzopedia will do gap analysis and tell academies of possible areas where new franchise/ branch can be opened.
  3. Results Excellence: They have added benefit feature of knowing the hidden talents/Interests with the help of DMIT/IPAT (Inborn potential assessment) test. Parents, trainers/teachers can tackle each child in efficient way. It is a common problem that in starting, understanding a child takes lots of effort. Through this test they can know the strengths and weaknesses on early stage, which will help them in upbringing of their child in right direction.

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Challenges faced

Juggling regular job and motherhood is tough. Along with this Yashodhra is in process of setting up and scaling new startup. This is itself a challenge. From wearing multiple hats in early stages, to delegation of tasks is learning in itself.

There are lots of offerings in Metro cities already but small towns are in more need of these services. Penetrating small towns is going to be another challenge, towards which Yashodhra is going to focus. Also, providing right academies in small towns is going to be an issue.

They are organizing various awareness events in different areas and getting positive response from parents.

About Yashodhra

Yashodhra Patil is a mompreneur (mother turned entrepreneur) actively balancing her role being mom (of 4 year old daughter) and founder at Kidzopedia. Apart from Kidzopedia, she runs a placement agency and also facilitates people getting franchise of popular brands. She has done MBA (HR) and having more than six years of corporate experience.

To hone her entrepreneur skills and give kick-start to dream, she joined IIT Delhi WEE(Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment)  six month program in April 2017. Since then she has come ahead a long way and target to achieve big within 2017 year only. Such confidence and abilities are possible for her all because of guidance from Mentors in WEE program.  WEE program helped her to wide her network and implement her concept in more structured way.

 

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If you want any more details about Kidzopedia or Yashodhara, reach out to them at info@kidzopedia.in

 

 

 

Nazariya: A startup supporting remote art forms of India

In the modern age of technology, where every single product that you find is ‘machine-made‘, traditional art & craft forms are at the brink of extinction. India being seventh largest country (by area) and one of the fastest-growing major economies, is a home to more than 10,000 such endangered art & craft forms which are integral part of country’s cultural heritage. These art forms vary over various traditions & regional styles and are of great significance, depicting region’s unique cultural values.

Traditional art-forms are now endangered, because neither the new generation of artists & skilled workers foresee any value continuing their hereditary line of work, nor do they find many sponsors to support their hand-made work nowadays.

How Nazariya is trying to safeguard these endangered art forms:12729398_640251889447111_4651949690433745643_n

  • Bringing these beautiful but dying art and paintings back into the public attention. Products made independently by small makers from around the country.
  • Rejuvenating the interest of the new generation by re-launching and portraying ‘one-of-a-kind’ traditional art-forms in the new avatar.
  • People pour in interest when they get to know the rare story of artisan behind the art form they are purchasing.
  • Providing an e-commerce platforms where consumers could order such products online.
gond painting
Unique style of Gond Painting – Tribal Art – http://nazariya.in/product-category/gond-paintngs/

Problem Analysis

Traditional art forms do exist for sell in the market, however one can easily feel the need of a reform.

  • People in general don’t consider traditional art & craft business as a true industry that could drive economic development and could create jobs. They don’t realise the economic value of this essential sector.
  • Consumer don’t realise the true value of a master-piece sculpture, wall painting, miniature painting or a jewellery which is actually born after a great deal of handwork. They remain insensitive to the compensation they are paying.
  • Artisans get the minuscule share of the actual market value of the final product. Most of the painters, potters, carpenters and weavers get just the one-tenth of the product value, which is the bare minimum for their survival.

Insight into company – Nazariya

Started in 2015 by Raghvi Khurana with an aim to connect artisans and craftsman from rural and farthest areas of the country to the mainstream economy. It has a vision to create a single platform that not only trade the finished art products but also to publish the origination detail of the product, who made this product and the rare story of those craftsman.  The company was part of IIM-Bangalore, NSRCEL, launchpad program.

Nazariya is currently operational in Delhi and Bangalore. With over 60 products in 7 categories listed from 10 makers, Nazariya is on a path to become full-blown e-commerce site selling great artisan items from around the country.

Raghvi got a positive participation in her last exhibition organised at Chithrakala Parishath in Kerala in Dec 2016. She is organising various workshops across Delhi and Bangalore to promote traditional arts.  These workshops are attended by vast diversity of visitors. Participants range from people over age group 15-60 years and from students to corporate professionals. They are generating awareness of traditional art-forms and games among kids of age group 8-15 years via workshops which are both fun & knowledge.

Past events include: 1) DIY puppet making from waste, 2) The joy of playing traditional games. You can find more details here.

Kreeda_Chaupad_game_nazariya
Chaupad, Game of traditional India, which is played in Mahabharata. Sadly, very few people play this game in Modern India.

Looking into the future

Looking into the future, Raghvi, Founder of Nazariya, told that “she is now looking for corporate and school tie-ups.” This is to scale up the reach of unique art products in the form of gifts along with spreading stories and cultural history. One of the logical question asked by our team was, “How Nazariya differentiate themselves from other corporate gifting and workshops”. Then Raghvi told that they differentiate themselves with two unique qualities:

  1. 70:30 revenue policy: In any event and sales, 70 percent of the amount is passed on to the artisans. This helps artisans in better sustainability and getting fair price for their work.
  2. Not only a gift box: Customized and personalized gifting is specialty of Nazariya team, with a twist. They gift-wrap art piece along with its story and cultural history. Which helps in increasing art awareness as well a creating happy moments for people.

CSR friendly activities:

Since Nazariya is promoting less-known art-form only, they are in-directly working for improvement of particular society section. Government is also actively encouraging these activities.

Have you recently seen tribal art form and wondered its history? Do share your experiences and how you would love to see endangered art-forms of India flourishing again.

You can read latest stories of Nazariya here.

इन्फर्टिलिटी दोस्त: बाँझपन से पीड़ित भावी माँ-बाप की मदद करती भारत की पहली स्टार्टअप

infertility-dost-infothatmatter

भारत में 4 जोड़ों में से 1 जोड़े को बच्चा प्राकृतिक रूप से न होने की समस्या है|इन जोड़ों में से अधिकतर ने यह बात मानी है की वह कभी किसी डॉक्टर के पास नहीं गए| हमारे देश में धार्मिक व सामाजिक पूर्वाग्रह है कि “बच्चा भगवान की देन है, नारी ही इसकी ज़िम्मेदार है”| इसलिए नारी पर बाँझपन का टैग लग जाता है जो बहुत खतरतनाक है|

बाँझपन सिर्फ महिलाओं कि समस्या नहीं है| महिला अकेले बच्चा पैदा नहीं करती| करीब 30% बाँझपन का कारण पुरुष होते हैं| और इतनी ही % महिलाएं होती हैं| 40% में दोनों ही इस समस्या का कारण होते हैं पर उसे पहचाना नहीं जा पाता|

इनफर्टिलिटी दोस्त: कैसे यह कंपनी सहायक है इस समस्या में

Infertility-Dost-logoइनफर्टिलिटी दोस्त.कॉम, गीतांजलि बैनर्जी द्वारा बनायीं गयी सोशल स्टार्टअप है जो भारत में बाँझपन की बढ़ती समस्या का समाधान करने के लिए सहायक है| नाम से ही पता चलता है की यह एक दोस्त की तरह इन जोड़ों की सहायता करती है, उन्हें सही सलाह देती है| स्पेशलिस्ट डॉक्टर और इस तरह की गर्भावस्था की जानकारी देती है|यह कंपनी आपको बताएगी की आप इस यात्रा में अकेले नहीं है| हम आपके साथ हैं|  इनका उद्देशय आपका मार्गदर्शन करना है|

कंपनी की प्रेरणा

गीतांजलि बैनर्जी ने अपने दर्द-भरे अनुभव की वजह से इस कंपनी की स्थापना अगस्त 2016 में की है| इस स्टार्टअप के द्वारा वह उन हज़ारों भारतीय महिलायों की सहायता कर पायेगी जो उनकी तरह ही इस समस्या से लड़ रही है| इस कंपनी के द्वारा बहुत सी महिलाये माँ बनने का सपना सच कर पाएंगी|

गीतांजलि कहती हैं : “मेरी अरेंज्ड मैरिज 23 साल की उम्र में हो गयी थी क्यूंकि हमारे समाज में यही शादी का सही समय होता है| एक साल के शादीशुदा समय के बाद दूसरा माइलस्टोन छूने के वक़्त आया, अर्थात माँ बनने के| और फिर शुरू हुई इन्फेरिलिटी (बांझपन) से 10 साल लम्बी जंग|  5 गर्भपात(मिसकैरेज ), 3 दाढ़ गर्भावस्था (मोलर प्रेगनेंसी), 1 विफल इवफ(ivf ) तथा ओवरियरन कैंसर से झूजने के बाद जाकर मुझे दूसरे इवफ(ivf ) में सफलता हासिल हुई माँ बनने की| इतना कुछ सहने के बाद मैं हिम्मत करके खड़ी हूँ समाज के सामने, इनफर्टिलिटी के बारे में खुल कर बात करने के लिए| मुझे अपने समय में कोई भी ऑनलाइन हेल्प नहीं मिली| तब मुझे समझ आया की इनफर्टिलिटी की जानकारी ऑनलाइन अभी नहीं है|

 

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इनफर्टिलिटी दोस्त कंपनी की सेवाएं

यह कंपनी एक ऑनलाइन प्लेटफार्म प्रदान करती है जहाँ लोग बाँझपन और इवफ(ivf ) से सम्बंधित समस्याओं के समाधान पा सकते हैं| इस कंपनी द्वारा दी जा रही सेवाओं में से कुछ इस प्रकार हैं:

  1. डॉक्टर खोजे: इस सुविधा में आप अपने शहर में बाँझपन स्पेशलिस्ट और इवफ ट्रीटमेंट विशेषज्ञ के बारे में जान सकते हैं| एक सही डॉक्टर के चुनाव सफल इलाज के लिए बहुत जरूरी होता है|
  2. विशेषज्ञ से बात: बाँझपन व इसके इलाज सम्बंधित सभी सवालों के उत्तर यहाँ पूछे जा सकते है| खान-पान, योग, आयुर्वेद, एक्यूपंक्चर, तहा सभी गर्भावस्था सम्बंधित सवालों के जवाब मिल जायेंगे|
  3. डिस्कशन फोरम: ऑनलाइन चर्चा एक ऐसा मंच है जहाँ बाँझपन से सम्बंधित किसी भी विषय पर सवाल भेजकर मैसेज द्वारा चैट की जा सकती है|
  4. इवेंट्स( आयोजन): समय-समय पर अलग अलग जगहों पर बाँझपन पर वार्ता और कार्यशालाओं के आयोजन किया जाता है, जहाँ पर आ अपनी समस्या पर चर्चा कर सकते हैं|अभी तक निम्नन आयोजन किये जा चुके हैं:
    a . टॉक ऑन इनफर्टिलिटी, ऋषिकेश – अक्टूबर 2016
    b. सेंसिटीसिंग सोसाइटी थ्रू ओपन टॉक ऑन इनफर्टिलिटी, दिल्ली – जनवरी 2017

विभिन्न चुनौतियों रास्ते में आयीं

सबसे बड़ी चुनौती जिसका गीतांजलि ने सामना किया वो थी ऐसा वातावरण बनाना जिससे लोग इस विषय पर बात करें| भारतीय समाज में आज भी  गॉंवों में इस विषय के बहिष्कार किया हुआ है| विडंबना यह है की शहरी क्षेत्रों में भी कुछ ऐसी ही स्तिथि है|  युवा दंपत्ति अक्सर समाज से डर जाते हैं, लोग अवांछित सवालों, गुमराह राय, सामाजिक बहिष्कार से डर जाते हैं और कभी किसी डॉक्टर के पास ही नहीं जाते|

क्यूंकि गीतांजलि अपने व्यक्तिगत अनुभव से काम कर रही हैं, बहुत साहस जुटा कर वो सब लोगों के सामने जाकर उनसे बात कर पाती हैं| उनकी बात समझ पाती हैं, और कोशिश कर रही हैं उन लोगों की मदद करने की जो इस तरह की समस्या के सामना कर रहे हैं| व्यवसाय के अंदर उन्हें निम्नन चुनौतियों के सामना करना पड़ा: मार्किट विश्लेषण, व्यावसायिक समझ, समाज को इस बदलाव के लिए तैयार करना|

गीतांजलि के बारे में

infertility-dost-gitanjali-banerjee

गीतांजलि को 10 साल का लखेन में अनुभव है, वो एक “ट्रेवल ब्लॉगर” हैं| उनके ब्लॉग का नाम है, “ट्रेवल बय कर्मा”, जहाँ पर वो लीक से हट कर स्थलों और |वहां अपने अनुभव के बारे में लिखती हैं|कुशल लेखिका और बांझपन की बढ़ती समस्या में कुछ मदद करने की इच्छा के मेल ने गीतांजलि को एक “सामाजिक उद्यमी (सोशल एंटरप्रेन्योर) बना दिया| वह कैशकरो(CashKaro.com) द्वारा आयोजित प्रतियोगिता में ” SheCEO 2017″ की विजेता हैं|

अपनी बिज़नेस स्किल्स को बेहतर करने के लिए उन्होंने ६ महीने का इ.इ.टी दिल्ली-वी फाउंडेशन(WEE वूमेन एन्त्रेप्रेंयूर्शिप एंड एम्पावरमेंट) से कर रही हैं| इस प्रोग्राम में कक्षा-प्रशिक्षण के माध्यम से व्यावसायिक कौशल को निखारा जाता है| इस में बिज़नेस के तरीके से लेकर मार्केटिंग, सेल्स, फंडिंग के तौर-तरीके बताये जाते हैं तथा हर तरह की सहायता की जाती है|

 

WE Can India,Phase II starts: Women Entrepreneurs set to fly high

 

 

On 23rd May,2017, “Dhriiti – The Courage Within” and Cherie Blair Foundation For Women(CBFW) concluded phase I of their program “WE CAN India”, a six week Business Plan competition for Women Entrepreneurs of North India. Out of 150 women entrepreneurs across northern states of India, 26 have been selected who will receive incubation support for coming 4 months. Refer to Dhriiti’s Facebook to find about of all selected women.

CBFW has working in India since many years, has touched and empowered lives of numerous women though its initiatives. CBFW is founded by Cherie Blair, former First Lady of United Kingdom.

group-photo-WECan
WE CAN Team and women entrepreneurs with Cherie Blair and Mary Jay Carlson

Highlights of the conference

There was conference in American centre, US Embassy, New Delhi which was formal introduction of Cherie Blair to seven of the selected entrepreneurs. Mary Jay Carlson, Chargé d’Affaires at US Embassy New Delhi was another dignified women present at the conference. Along with these women, there were people present from other diversified backgrounds also. After ideas presentation and customary talk, came the time of Q&A. That part was most interesting in the conference.

Read previous post on WE Can programphase I

People from UK wanted to understand “How is the women empowerment changing in India?”.  There was a long, heated, emotional and eye-opener discussion on “Hurdles faced by women in the process of designing, launching and running a new business“.

women_entrepreneurs_WeCan_Dhriiti
Women Entrepreneurs bonding on Pitching day.

Based on the discussion that followed, women entrepreneur could be broadly classified as follows .

  • For Mompreneurs (Mother- cum-entrepreneur), there is mixed support from families. While some families were very supportive, lot of women had to struggle a lot. Interesting finding came out , women after motherhood were given more freedom to pursue their entrepreneur dreams if they were managing household responsibilities well with work.
  • For Unmarried-women: Rini Bankwal, founder of Tribana.in was vocal about hurdles faced by single women. She narrate from her personal experience, when she approached clients & investors, they often judge her on the basis of  her unmarried state. They fear about future course of her business when she will get married, they dismay putting money in such ventures.
  • For Married but yet-to-be-mothers: This category have less women entrepreneurs and the reason being family expectation to turn into mother ASAP. I personally know one women, who is married for 4 years, starting her own business and facing family pressure, “When will she become mother, itne saal ho gaye shaadi ko. Agar apna business karna hai to karo, lekin pehle mother bano”. They may be in crucial phase for setting up their business, but most of the times, society and family is very harsh towards them. This leads to lot of depression and de-motivation for these women cherishing setting up business.

Cherie Blair, concluded conference by urging male members to come forward and support their wives in entrepreneurial journey.

Presentation of Women Entrepreneurs

7 women entrepreneurs from top 26 selected for incubation, presented their business idea in a unique way in front of Cheire Blair foundation members and public. Lets know who these interesting personalities are and what their creative mind is upto.

  1. Kiran Negi, from Loafer Jama 

    loaferJama-logoLoafer Jama, founded in 2016, is ” a boho chic lifestyle store selling trendy and comfortable clothes, stylish accessories, home furnishings, and art & collectibles. The label’s products capture the essence of India’s vibrant past, and its chaotic present.” Kiran was the showstopper of the event. She demonstrated her products in unique way. She changed her dressing style from “work wear” to “family get-together” to “classy event wear” within seconds in front of crowd. I think, every one present there will remember her for long time.

  2. Riuparna Ghosh, YourStoryBag:

    yourstorybagYourstoryBag is an initiative to encourage story telling among all age groups from children to adults. They are helping people cultivating story telling skills and have various programs to include all spheres of life. Stories from old people like grandparents are documented for remembrance.

    Rituparna, was very confident in her presentation in front of audience. She also got lot of ideas  from crowd present. Even Cheire Blair could co-relate to need for such initiative.

  3. Sonal Singh, White Cub Ice-cream

    choco_heavenSonal Singh’s venture is first of its kind initiative in India. Many cases are arising in India, where people are allergic to milk products.  Her startup is about Ice-cream which is milk free, it consists of Soya. Thus, ice-cream produced by her can be enjoyed by milk-allergic people also. Sonal is also part IIT Dellhi WEE Foundation batch I member and won Rs. Five lakh as cash prize in that course.  WE Can initiative acted as catalyst for Sonal to overcome her fears for Financial part of her business,

  4. Rini Bankwal, Tribana.in

    tribanaTribana is into creating and sourcing 100% handcrafted products, created using 100% sustainable processes, delivered in 100% ecologically responsible packaging. They work with marginalized craft artisans and creating Glocal(global+local) community. They are trying to help craft artisans by giving them livelihood and global platform. Rini was the only unmarried women present in the group present there. She is successful and facing prejudice at every step.

  5. Romita Ghosh, Admirus.in and Medsamaan.com

    Advanced Medical instruments and devices are available and in easy reach of big hospitals and city doctors. But, same cannot be said for small town doctors, villages and  Aanganwadi workers. Medsamaan.com is an initiative which aims to make these high end products available to local/small town doctors at some convenient monthly packages. “WE CAN” program has boosted confidence of Romita and motivated her to continue her work with new purpose and zeal.

  6. Surekha Waldia, e-shiksha chaupal

    eshikshachaupal-logoE-Shiksha Chaupal is creating online community for teachers where they can learn new teaching strategies, connect with educators online and share their experiences. This platform also serves as online database for teachers to record their activities, lesson plans, monitor their progress and principals to find their next school teacher. This is an social initiative, aimed to bridge gap between rural and urban teaching methods.  Surekha has started this platform after launching another platform, ELNA-“A new model for learning”.

  7. Sagarika Gandhi, AGPulse Organics

    agpulse_organicsSagarika has started an organization which will benefit all citizens of the country. This organization is manufacturing organic and herbal insecticides, pesticides, manures and growth promoter for plants. In addition, they are also manufacturing  herbal feed supplement for animals. In their social initiative, they aim to conserve indigenous cattle and integrate them into the overall developmental pathway of the rural farmers and especially the small holders.

Above mentioned diverse business ideas and women are small part out of all women whose lives have been touched by the program. For more information about the program, contact: Dhriiti Foundation

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Infertility Dost: Story of India’s first infertility based startup

हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए, यहाँ जाएँ
infertility-dost-infothatmatter

Problem prevailing in society

Infertility is inability to reproduce by natural means. There can be number of causes of infertility – many of them can be treated. It is no different from any other disease like malaria or diabetes, for which people seek a GP or Doctor’s advise. In India, 1 in every 4 couple in the country is now facing a problem in conceiving a baby. Most of these couples just accept that they could not have a child, and never bother to see a doctor. In a country that is chained in religious and social prejudices, infertility is far more dangerous than just a disease and allow society to tag women by withering tag of infertile.

Fertility is not a woman problem. Woman cannot make a baby alone. Almost 30% of the fertility impediments are caused by male factor, equals to that of female factor, while 40% cases are either caused by both factors or something that cannot be identified.

About the company

infertility-dost-logo-e1496171659195.jpgInfertilityDost.com, founded by Gitanjali Banerjee, is Indian social startup to address rising issues of infertility in India. As name suggests, it extend friendship to couples undergoing infertility treatments or planning pregnancy with expert advise and support. Assist them in making right choices and tell them that they are not alone in this journey. It pledges to spread awareness and provide solution through various packages. It aims to create an environment where women are not tagged as infertile, and couples don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Inspiration behind the idea

Based on her personal pain experience, Gitanjali founded InfertilityDost in August 2016. Through her startup, she lends a helping hand to numerous other Indian women cherishing motherhood dream, but struggling with similar problems. 

Gitanjali says, “I got into arranged marriage at an early age of 23, simply because you must get married when you reach a certain age and when your parents say. After one year of customary honeymoon, it was time to hit the next milestone – motherhood. And, with this began the 10 long and grueling years of fighting infertility. Post 5 miscarriages, 3 molar pregnancies, 1 failed IVF, a brush with ovarian cancer and finally successful pregnancy on second IVF attempt- I stand here in front of you to openly talk about my Infertility journey.”

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Solution provided

It provides an online platform where people can come and find solution to all their infertility and IVF problems. Below are some of the services offered by them:

  1. Find a Doctor: Using this option one can easily find and rate IVF and infertility specialist available in their cities and towns. It also list down the featured IVF clinics giving international standard of services. Choosing the right doctor and service can be pivotal to the favorable outcome of the treatment.
  2.  Expert Talk: Answers to the most sought queries about infertility can be found here. Topics such as “what diet one should follow to back-pedal infertility”, pregnancy yoga, Ayurveda treatment, Acupuncture  or Naturopathy as  methods of treating infertility could be really useful.
  3. Discussion forum:  Online discussion forum where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages around topics related to infertility. One can easily reach out to such forums to seek answers of their queries.
  4. Events: From time to time, they conduct talks and workshops on infertility across different cities in India. Various points on infertility and IVF problems are discussed openly is such events. Recent events organised are:
    1. Talk On Infertility, Rishikesh – Oct 2016
    2. Sensitising Society Through Open Talk On Infertility, Delhi – Jan 2017

Challenges Faced

Major challenge lies in creating awareness among people and making them come up openly to talk about subject. One can easily believe that problem do exist but in rural population where people are illiterate. Ironically, it is more significant in urban areas where majority of inhabitant boast to be educated. Couples feel discriminated and often bombarded with unwanted questions, misguided opinions and advice, so they try to escape such scenes and gets socially boycotted.

Channeling the message through strategic audience, reaching right people, and market analysis of whether citizens of India are ready for this change were major challenges faced in her entrepreneurial journey. Since Gitanjali is working from her personal experience, it took courage to come out and connect with people facing same issues.

About Gitanjaliinfertility-dost-gitanjali-banerjee

She has more than 10 years of professional experience in content writing with MNCs. She is also a passionate travel blogger and owns a blog Travel By Karma where she share her tell-tales about offbeat destinations and experiences.

Combining blogging skills and burning desire to share the pain of people facing infertility issue, Gitanjali turned into social entrepreneur.  She is also winner of SheCEO 2017, organized by CashKaro.com.

Gitanjali is honing her entrepreneurial skills through six month program with IIT Delhi-WEE (Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment) foundation which commenced in April 2017. The program is focused on nurturing women entrepreneurs through classroom training, mentoring and industrial experiences.  Major take away’s for her include formulating stable business plan, measuring user orientation, analyzing customer base, improving overall experience for users taking services, global exposure and  pitching idea to prospective investors.