Women start-ups in Chennai are leaping to win and inspire people all around the country. They are invading new territories fearlessly with zeal, be it ecommerce, brand building, retail, healthcare, hospitality, logistics anything and everything under the sky.
These women from different parts of the city is breaking stereotypes with courage, entering divergent domains than the conventional ones. Anitha Arockiaswamy gave a big push to online healthcare with her brainchild ‘India Home Health Care’ where customers avail home healthcare services online, the start-up has been recognised in various national as well as international platforms. ‘Happy Self Publishing’ founder Jyotsna Ramachandran helps writers become authors and self-publish their book with support on editing, formatting, strategy setting and marketing even the ones with small financial budget while Rajathi Franco co founder cum director of Thoongal Technologies, develops software products for her clients with contemporary technology, all these with her 15 years experience of software development for a renowned firm. Recently they introduced Bongosquare as well, a platform for even the smallest of shop owners to showcase their products or services online. There are many such she-entrepreneurs in Chennai who gave up their nine to six job to enter fields like logistics and chemical industry.
Some are proceeding with utmost conviction to change the world they are living in for the better, with their start-up, built on incredible ideas and bold initiatives. Like Savitri Satheesh from Thoraipakkam who can be termed as the Padwoman of Chennai (After Akshay Kumar's Padman), for her range of organic sanitary pads named Femme Care. "Femme Care is made plastic free to evade the hazards of plastic fibres and stain locking fluid, usually found in commercially sold ones. Our aim is to make the menstrual days healthy and take the brand even to the poorest of the poor" said the socialpreneur. Same is the case with Archana Stalin who was a software engineer, gave up her profession to start MyHarvest where the idea 'Gifts that grow' was developed. These are customized gardening kits with all the necessary items required for plantation, designed like gift boxes to instill the habit of healthy eating to the person gifted, with a emotional connect.
According to Mary Shamla, Co-founder of Snackexperts, Chennai is a business friendly place for women entrepreneurs, Chennaites have already gone a long way in breaking stereotypes and biased attitude which is quite evident with the number of women in the field and the society appreciating it. “While working on my idea of MC's Lunchbox few years back, people used to ask me, are you going to make ladoos like Sridevi in English Vinglish or be a halwaai (confectioner). I think just executing and showing them what you are capable of, is the best answer to all the people who try to stereotype” said Kripa Dharmaraj, CEO of MC's Lunchbox, that supplies food to top schools and hospitals in the city including Apollo hospital and VHM hospital.
“Finding ways to reach our goal is often seen as a challenge, but these women entrepreneurs are doing this effortlessly making it feel like a cake walk. Coming out of house especially years after marriage or after maternity with same amount of self belief and confidence is not easy. But driving over it, they are giving equal competition to men initiated start-ups” says Mahalakshmi Saravanan, CEO of Women Entrepreneurs India, firm that guides hundreds of budding women entrepreneurs every year with funding avenues, marketing support and mentor connect.
When asked about hard hitting competition in the market, Vandhana Ramanathan of WSquare opines that Chennai is large enough to accommodate new players and ventures. They are happy that new entrants are stepping in as it reduces the pressure and efforts to educate the market about the newborn product and focus more on product selling. Wsquare is first women work space provider in Chennai that solves the problems of women with work from home option and flexible timings. “Competition and opportunity goes hand in hand here in India, as the market is fresh and young. Have patience and trust your product potential, but at the same time innovate. Combination of all these will make you survive in the market and people will naturally end up in your service” said the award winning first generation Foodpreneur Mrs.Vidhya Ragu who runs ‘SkillsGurukul’ and SheLeadsTech, a platform for tech-related ventures simultaneously.
About expanding the business, Kripa Dharmaraj makes a point that there's a lot more to crack in Chennai itself, once that is achieved duly then it would just be a copy paste in other cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Coimbatore where the team is planning to set branches soon. “We are planning to come up with retail outlets across the city and other cities, that way we can partner with the existing food partners Swiggy and Zomato to captivate more mileage. Right now we are researching on what could be our best USP in the coming years”, explains the charismatic lady. Most of them who have already wrote their success stories in Chennai are venturing into metro cities like Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai and even looking forward to foreign countries like Canada, US and UAE. “I have some big plans for 2018 and our team is going strong with it. Will unveil it once it is practically implemented” hoping for a positive year Vidhya Ragu concludes with a suspense.