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Women Who Inspire: Entrepreneurs Who Are Resetting The Startup Ecosystem Amid COVID-19

Here are the women entrepreneurs who are resetting the startup ecosystem amid the ongoing pandemic:

In India, a nationwide shutdown affected many businesses across the country. It has been a testing time especially for startups. A large number of women entrepreneurs have come forward to battle social challenges, all by modifying their operations and pivoting to newer opportunities.

Difficult times call for innovations and entrepreneurial spirits to solve the problems and stay afloat. The coronavirus pandemic has made it tricky for most business operations to function. Even so, many entrepreneurs, especially women have forged new paths to navigate through these times successfully running their startups in the time of Covid-19

Here are the women entrepreneurs who are resetting the startup ecosystem amid the ongoing pandemic:

"Women have the innate ability to rise to obstacles and emerge triumphant. The Increasing number of women-led startups during Covid-19 has been a testament to their true power and intrinsic leadership characteristics, which are transforming and reshaping the startup ecosystem landscape. 

At 335bazaar, Covid brought immense change and we adapted to the new normal seamlessly. We expanded our Digital offering to allow consumers to shop with us via Livestreams, Video Shopping, Chatbots and launched our App. We also successfully learnt how to work remotely and yet achieve the same quality of results." Poornima Vardhan, Co-Founder, 335bazaar

"Today, Indian women are at the forefront and inspiring others in all spheres of life, be they Olympic medalists or Startup-entrepreneurs even amid the pandemic. Though the circumstances are not so friendly for them, it has been overwhelming to see how women are demonstrating their resilience to go a long way.
In my opinion, the whole scenario of unconscious bias has gradually been changing considering the focus is shifting towards a great business idea rather than the gender behind it. Needless to say, women are also good at controlling finances and taking risks that make them great entrepreneurs." Prerna Kalra, Co-founder & CEO, Daalchini Technologies

"For so many, the pandemic came as a test of faith, of fortitude and of fortune. As businesses all around the nation began shuttering their doors and turning away employees, many were forced to reimagine their 5-year-plan, and in many cases, revisit their specialisations to suit the rules of the New Normal.  

One of the most important aspects of choosing a career path is finding your ‘Why’, and for so many aspirants around the world, the pandemic made this decision one that was time-sensitive and crucial to survival. This propelled me to set up a Personal Branding firm in Oct 2020 – to help people find their ‘Why’, and to position themselves as thought-leaders in their own right, enabling them to pen their own authentic stories." Shailja dutt, Founder, weryz 

"Initially while switching to work from home from regular office work had been very difficult. For every little message that had to go to the entire team, we were calling every individual to make sure that they are updated.
But with passing time, we invented new work systems. We got hold of new HR softwares which helped us track the activity of the team. We started organising frequent meetings to make sure that we are getting the desired results. We were soon able to achieve what we were looking for.

On the business front, sitting at home made me think of new ideas to generate more business for the company. I started browsing a variety of things online. Soon I started sending out more emails, adopted new strategies on LinkedIn, and could see the difference. We grew from a team of 20 to 80 during lockdown and implemented a lot of new strategies effectively." Ms. Prerna Goel, the Co-Founder & CMO at WhizCo 

"under my guidance for two consecutive years (2020 - till date), we have done the maximum number of venture capital transactions in the country as recognized by Venture Intelligence.  During the pandemic, Burgeon Law has guided promoters on the legalities of managing the uncertainty and extension of the runway in order to tackle various issues rising up with the lock-down and its impact on India’s start-up ecosystem whereas many  startup founders are consulting Burgeon Law to understand legalities associated with the force majeure. I have also been regularly advising and mentoring  entrepreneurs, early-stage and high-growth startups, incubators, accelerators, angel investors, family offices, and venture capital/private equity funds." Roma Priya, Founder Burgeon Law

"COVID-19 brought about catalysing changes. Acceptance of remote work, accelerated adoption of digital platforms both on the demand and supply side and an overall shift towards virtual interactions helped level the playing field for women. Technology helped us overcome the traditional barriers in terms of remote working, operations management, hiring and networking. At Rite KnowledgeLabs, our resilience and growth were driven by two factors: increased relevance and demand for digital content services spurred by the crisis, and a rapid realignment of our operations and delivery model to address immediate employee as well as client needs. We redesigned our processes and moved end-to-end workflows from hiring to project management and delivery to the cloud, to tide over the crisis." Zahara Kanchwalla, CEO & Co-Founder, Rite KnowledgeLabs

"Many individuals in India who need smile correction end up forgoing any painful or time-consuming treatment. We wanted to offer an easy and invisible smile correction solution and came up with toothsi clear aligners. toothsi leverages its tech-enabled platform and panel of expert clinicians to provide at-home, clinically-oriented cosmetology services. Combining a world-class orthodontic tradition with the most innovative technology backbone and a vertically integrated business model, we envision toothsi becoming the global go-to destination for a smile transformation." Dr. Arpi Mehta, Co-founder &  CEO, toothsi 

Entrepreneurship is an innate quality in women as they build a home and which is nothing short of being an entrepreneur. Hundreds of women-owned businesses are developing every single day today. It's so good to see females as part of the founding team of the startup ecosystem which was once dominated by male entrepreneurs for the longest time. Today, "KareXpert’s 50+ pre-integrated applications revolutionize the meticulous, disjointed software that exists in the healthcare industry. Our SaaS based-Platform fills the technological gap with end-to-end digitization that healthcare providers lack. Our B2B2C platform empowers all kinds of healthcare providers, from tier 3 nursing homes to corporate hospitals chains, with the finest operational efficiency." Nidhi Jain, Founder & CEO, KareXpert

"Every entrepreneur goes through numerous challenges irrespective of their gender. So having clear goals and strategies that are in sync with your goals is of utmost significance. Being an entrepreneur means being ready to face challenges heads-on. For me, being a woman entrepreneur, it has always been about perseverance and the ability to focus on things that matter for the organization. The first one was to identify a scalable business model. The second one is to build a team that is as much invested in the idea as you are. It is also imperative to have the right set of members around you who believe in the same values and philosophy as yours. While hurdles are inevitable, be it in the corporate or personal front, having this support system can help overcome them. Although we did face the initial hurdles of the pandemic-induced lockdown, the gradual opening up of essential services brought about a breather for us. Since building and scaling up demands a robust eco-system of trusted partners, we have tackled this arena through expanding our partner base while ensuring quality remains unhampered." Ms. Aarti Gill, Co-founder and CEO of OZiva, India's first clean-label plant based nutrition and wellness brand 

"Staying afloat in the pandemic and reinventing an existing business, which might have at least some existing consumer base, can be a huge challenge in itself. But starting out a new business from scratch during Covid-19 entails a next level herculean task; especially when it’s strongly pegged on a physical, touch ‘n’ feel based experience like free standing sculptural art - the core of “FOUND – by Aanshiki”

While I actually ‘FOUND’ (pun intended!) my artistic expression during the pandemic, I had to really rethink on how to communicate & bring alive my brand story, without any physical intervention. My experience in working with new age digital/social platforms helped me to create a virtual experience zone via the brand website and also use thumb stopping content for social media to aid discovery and divert more traffic to the website; which would otherwise have been just “good-to-have” marketing levers for the business." Aanshiki Mittal, founder of the FOUND by Aanshiki

"Covid served as a catalyst for entrepreneurs to analyse their potential to the fullest. It has been observed that financial ecosystem holds bias against women taking leadership decisions but pandemic proved a blessing in disguise for women leadership to take centrestage to prove our mettle. Being a women in financial investment and crypto world which is fairly dominated by our male counterparts, it was a challenge to be taken seriously. But during these challenfing times amid Covid, I along with my team chanelised our strength and today we are yeilding profits on a monthly basis throughout past 1.5 years. During this time, we have successfully introduces various exciting features at OroPocket and multiple new staking cohorts at UniFarm.

I believe that an entrepreneur can become successful not only with his/her sheer dedication towards work but also, by ensuring that their employees are happy with their work. So, in order to ensure that our employees are stress free, we make sure that our employees especially females as they have to manage their house as well as work at office have work-life balance. We have a fairly impressive ratio of female employees in our company and we take pride in being remote-first company providing some amazing perks like flexible working hours, quarterly appraisals alongwith a very employee-centric working environment. We have also introduced a burnout policy in our organization underwhich employees can avail week-long leave to focus on their mental well-being to avoid conditions like stress and anxiety." Tarusha Mittal, COO & Co-founder, OroPocket and UniFarm

"Challenges call for innovation coming to rescue.Event Industry had received a major setback due to pandemic and it's when that our creative and technical forces joined hands to form Megaa Virtual Expo(MVX) a web based Virtual Events platform built upon 3D  virtual environment incorporated with user analytics to host events in a CG environment giving it a real world feeling. Activities like fashion Ramps, meetings, product launches and exhibitions were simplified by seamlessly engaging technology and creativity.And the opportunity to host major virtual events for major brands kept us going." Ms. Uttara Dwivedi, Co-founder- LivePixel Events International

“I absolutely echo Hillary Clinton‘s thoughts when she said that women are the largest untapped reservoir in the world. And today, it’s truly amazing to see the economy growing with more and more women entrepreneurs rising to power.
 
The outburst of covid-19 definitely forced us to come up with innovative solutions and adapt to change. Shifting businesses online, managing and developing a distributed workforce and remote culture amidst the team, and a lot more complex problems rose to the surface that needed to be addressed.
 
However, I believe, women entrepreneurs are able to empathise in times of adversity and come up with creative solutions. Hardships are inevitable and more often than not, our biggest and best lessons as well. It’s all about whether we go through the hardships or we grow through them. The choice is always ours to make, and if we continue to stay determined to our purpose and vision, we will always come out of anything stronger.” Loveena Sirohi, Co-Founder and Director, India Hemp Organics 

"There is a famous saying that goes,  "if a door closes somewhere, a window opens". This has never been more truly tested than the current pandemic times. While pandemic was a huge disruptor to the economic environment, there were silver linings in its wake too. Talent in remote cities can now find meaningful work without leaving their locations. For companies, talent pool like never before has been unlocked too. Similarly, it has been a chance for companies to innovate with what they offer to their customers. wonderLearn is a great example of the same where a very unique learning program has been offered to young learners." Pooja Midha, co-founder of Wonderhood

"The social and economic challenges posed by Covid-19 emphasized the value of redefining business strengths and weaknesses. While organizations were forced to shut down operations due to lack of business. At Sciative we took this as a challenge and made directional changes with AI to restructure BRIO, observing the volatility in the retail and consumer good market. BRIO for Retail not only made dynamic pricing easy, speedy and scalable across product categories but also helped understand changes in customer behavioral patterns in and every single transaction. Along with product innovation, we continued to stay strong on our company Value of Integrity, and ensured that every single employee and customer is cared for! I have seen women lead our teams at Sciative, reinforcing their resilience in the face of adversity, and we have been able to work together to become a lifeline of our customers’ success." Vijeta Soni, Co-Founder & CEO, Sciative

"For so many, the pandemic came as a test of faith, of fortitude and of fortune. As businesses all around the nation began shuttering their doors and turning away employees, many were forced to reimagine their 5-year-plan, and in many cases, revisit their specialisations to suit the rules of the New Normal.  
 
One of the most important aspects of choosing a career path is finding your ‘Why’, and for so many aspirants around the world, the pandemic made this decision one that was time-sensitive and crucial to survival. This propelled me to set up a Personal Branding firm in Oct 2020 – to help people find their ‘Why’, and to position themselves as thought-leaders in their own right, enabling them to pen their own authentic stories." Shailja dutt, Founder, weryz, personal branding for u.


"She has utilized this pandemic beautifully. She says that the only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible. Amid Covid-19 when everything was shut for months and almost a year. Her thoughts, ideas, and effort have coloured many startups in the success rays. Different people have different mindsets, being paranoid regarding government rules regarding covid or Indian vaccines is not the right thing and the right time to showcase. We at Squarefork are not only focussing on vaccination of employees but also we are calling 60%  staff; those who are vaccinated. We are maintaining covid appropriate behaviour at workplace including social distancing, regular sanitisation etc. She is a true example of how to turn difficulties into opportunities. Shreya Sabharwal,Founder and CEO of Squarefork


Tags assigned to this article:
women entrepreneurship startup ecosystem COVID-19

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