Prof. Ramola Kumar

Entrechat with Prof. Ramola Kumar

“Women are multi-taskers and have a unique commonsense, should they wish to engage themselves. They should be the change agents of tomorrow.”

“We need to co-exist and respect women in their entirety,” elaborated the CoFounder & Dean of The Delhi School of Communication – Prof. Ramola Kumar. This was a strong belief that she endorsed. Tracing her ‘power-packed’ performance in the education industry and in the field of Business Communication, she has made a name for herself as a Communication Champion in both corporate and education sectors. In a dialogue with Shree Lahiri, she narrates her journey, the source of her inspiration, the future and more…

Once you decided to venture out, how was the journey? What did you aim to achieve?
The journey was full of challenges – the field of the chosen programme was undefined in the minds of the target audience. Hence creating a basic understanding of the band-width of IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications) was itself a challenge.

Being a boutique, competition from larger institutes was also a challenge. But, building and instilling quality content value and valuable professional attitude was our unique selling proposition.

Where did the inspiration emerge from?
Inspiration came from the confines of a daily routine to one where the mind could envision each child’s future, on his/her life’s canvas. The joy of guiding, mentoring keeping in mind each student’s unique abilities and allowing thought processes to evolve individually and collectively. Another significant factor was – igniting creative energy to guide the spirit through the unknown.

Could you tell us about the challenges that created any blockages along the way?
There were many challenges along the road like :

1) Creating a unique system with and without boundaries
2) Intensely integrating theory with practice
3) Helping a ‘late-teenager’ to evolve into a responsible “young adult”
4) Constantly upgrading the technology, knowledge and methodology of teaching, and keeping in pace with industry requirements

Do you think the current business scenario encourages women entrepreneurs?
Definitely. I feel women can be wonderful entrepreneurs. Even if it be a small body-shop salon, the challenge is to work and fulfill your ‘karma’. Women are multi-taskers and have a unique commonsense, should they wish to engage themselves. They should be the change agents of tomorrow.

How do you envision the future?
The future can be as bright as you wish it to be. There are multiple options, different and new ways to work-from-home and be independent from the boundaries of systems. If one can earn one’s livelihood and eventually also help others build a better future – one’s life would have been lived well.

Would you have any tips for someone starting out today?
Enjoy the challenges life throws at you, be focused, remain grounded and give your best, and you will keep reaching your set goals along the way.[/ffb_param][/ffb_paragraph_0]

Prachi Kagzi

Entrechat with Prachi Kagzi

Prachi Kagzi, Founder, Little Passports India, is a travel evangelist and mother to a five year old. She is a MBA who has been in the corporate world for over 8 years and, now decided to follow her passion for kids and travel.

How did the idea of becoming an entrepreneur come up in your mind? How has the journey been and where has this reached today?
I traveled with my son to exotic locales and soon discovered the extensive interest from my family & friends yet inhibitions they had for these off beat places. I realised these places are out of their comfort zone and/or they lack company for these trips. Even after working in a corporate setup for 7 years, I always wanted to do something for kids and consider myself a travel evangelist. Little Passports was the perfect answer

Little Passports gives parents and kids the luxury of taking the road less traveled along with the safety of group travel.

What were the challenges faced by you?
On the contrary, Little Passports being an innovative concept in the education/travel world , has received an overwhelming response from family, friends , parents and educational institutions, alike! There was a gaping hole in this sphere and, we have touched the nerve of every enthusiastic parent and the IB curriculum based schools in India by offering these tours. We have been applauded many times in the media, including the Travel Magazine Conde Nast Traveller.

How did you narrow down to focus on travel and kids in the business venture you started?
Little Passports is a novel concept in the kids travel space for India. We organise educative travel tours for kids aged between 3 and 15. The concept resonates with today’s parents who value ‘learning by doing.’ These trips are in tandem with popular school holidays.

The tours designed for kids have been formulated with all my travel knowledge and experiences of travelling with kids. The tours are proactive to keep needs of kids and concerned parents in mind. I understand the importance of age appropriate attractions and energy levels of kids and have devised itineraries accordingly.

What are your future plans?
I have a penchant for kid’s destinations and aspire to convert all my experiences to trips through Little Passports. Little Passports envisions to be synonymous with unique destinations coupled with the parent and child bond allowing hassle free travel with a like-minded group of kids and adults.We plan to go pan- India in a bigger format where we have ongoing and multiple trips simultaneously during all school holidays , region-wise.

How do you feel women are placed today, to take up entrepreneurship in India?
Armed with specialised education and supportive families, women in India are at the helm of a golden period for entrepreneurship.

What advice would you have for someone starting out new?
Believe in your ideas and persist!

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Rashmi Patwardhan

Entre Chat Rashmi Patwardhan

Rashmi Patwardhan describes herself as a “professional with a fine blend of IT & Fashion”. She set up Rush Me Fashions, after she decided to become an entrepreneur.  As she speaks about her journey to Shree Lahiri, she appears to be totally committed to the objective she had set aside for her enterprise  – “to offer an Indian traditional fashion in the most elegant and exclusive form to the clients”.

1) Tell us a little about your Rush Me Fashions. How long ago did you start up? What has been your motivation and what do you aim to achieve?

Rush Me Fashions was started about 5 years ago. We started with an objective to offer some unique, exclusive dress material and dupattas hand-picked from all the corners of India. Although the boutique started with a traditional brick & mortar model, my goal has always been to run it through e-commerce model.

Over these years, Rush Me Fashions has constantly innovated and evolved. Currently, I feel proud that we have our own design unit, that creates original design and prints. Also, over 90% of our business happens through our online portal.

Going forward, we are looking to offer fashion accessories as well as readymade dresses. Also, there has been a constant demand for stitching and tailoring, so we are seriously evaluating those options

2) Where did the inspiration come from?

Whenever I used to buy dresses, I always felt that I can make such (or better) designs or mix and match to make them more elegant. Often I was fascinated to do something utilising my instinct for fashion. Finally I gave in to my calling – to switch my career entirely to pursue my passion, something that I thoroughly enjoy doing today.

3) How easy or tough has it been for you, as a woman entrepreneur, to set up and promote your business?

Setting up and promoting your own business is tough – for a woman entrepreneur or otherwise. The start-up ecosystem in India is still being built. Although some efforts are put in by the Government, Incubation organizations and Business Networking platforms, we still have a long way to go. There are several basic challenges like – ambiguity in compliances, ease and availability of finances and so on.

4) Do you think being a woman entrepreneur worked to your advantage or brought challenges to your path?

I have a mixed bag of experience. Being in the fashion business, plus being a woman – works as a great advantage for me. And, there has been excellent support from my family. Of course, a few things proved to be challenging – especially being a woman entrepreneur – like traveling alone at odd hours to remote places, getting acquainted with the legal framework etc.

5)  Do you think women entrepreneurs support other women across the value chain of business? 

Well, I feel, it’s an individual value system and mindset that largely defines if the entrepreneurs share information and support other entrepreneurs. I personally believe in a free and open business environment. There’s a great value for entrepreneurs in collaborating and growing together.I found a few of our business associates and partners quite supportive and open. Although there are still many women entrepreneurs who are carrying the secretive, proprietary business ownership approach. This needs to be changed.

6) What would be the top 3 things to watch out for if you’re a woman looking to start her own business?

  • First and foremost, get rid of the thought that you have any limitations being a woman entrepreneur.
  • Secondly, take your business and yourself seriously. Never consider it a secondary or trivial activity.
  • Take risks. Be bold and make decisions. Keep progressing towards your goal, and you will eventually make it.

7) What is the road ahead for Rush Me Fashions in 2018?

We are trying different strategies like diversification, vertical integration in supply chain as well as making strategic partnerships. We are still a young company, and will have to weed out the things that do not work out. In this year, we are aiming to evolve our niche, and will focus on those activities and grow. The future looks full of promise, opportunities and well… challenges too!

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