‘Start-up challenges same for women, men entrepreneurs’

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 28 Oktober 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Challenges faced by women entrepreneurs are the same as encountered by men, said participants at this year's IIT-Bombay's entrepreneurship contest Eureka!. Putting together finances continue to be one of the major challenges for budding entrepreneurs and it's the same for women. However, all this has not deterred them, as this year's event too saw more participation from women as compared to the last year. As many as one in five entries were from woman contestants this year. Last year, the ratio stood at 1:7.

Participant Lisa Mohapatra, who co-founded a service providing firm in the home industry after eight years of corporate experience, said, "Finance and resource crunch is a problem initially. But start-up challenges are same across the board. If you have the right intent and a great concept, nothing would deter you from pursuing your dream." She always wanted to start something of her own, she added. "Though for some women, priorities change after they get married and have children," she said.

Suhani Mohan, an IIT-B pass-out, who is part of a three-member team, said, "I worked as an investment banker for a few years, so financially I was better off when I launched my start-up this June." Suhani has set up a business in manufacturing, where she along with her co-founders—both men—are into manufacturing a low-cost sanitary napkin-making machine. However, she feels, as a woman, staying out late and going to far-off remote places for research are some of the challenges women have to face. "But these are minor hiccups that can be dealt with," she said.

Most women participants, around 32%, have come up with business ideas in the education sector of the 16 categories they had to choose from, said one of the organizers, Sagar Sheth from IIT-B's entrepreneurship cell. "We have not given special attention to promote women participation. But we think it is the change in perception over time that has allowed more women to take risks and start a venture of their own," he said.

The total entries have also gone up from last year's 6,000 to 7,100 this year. Overall, the sectors that saw most entries were from technology (31%), followed by education (23%) and services (21%). Several start-ups from all over the country and abroad will be participating this year at the event. The event saw around 21 international entries this year from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The final event will be held on January 31 and February 1, 2015. Eureka! aims to provide a platform for potential ideas and early stage start-ups to evaluate their business plan in the risk-free environment of a competition. This year, there are total prizes worth Rs 45 lakh at stake.

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