Women entrepreneurship is a much discussed terminology these days among Indian business fraternity.But knowing the actual on-ground realities of women entrepreneurship is only possible when we listen and hear from some live examples. Among such live examples there are few role models. Shalini Vig Wadhwa founder of 100 Degrees and Founder of ‘Festival of Hope’is among such role models for women entrepreneurs of India. In her words, women entrepreneurship is a commitment which only require hard work and dedication.
In an exclusive interaction with Faiz Askari of SMEStreet, Shalini shared some exclusive insights and experiences on her journey of entrepreneurship.
The edited excerpts:
Here are the questions:
There days a lot of focus been given on to Women Entrepreneurship. How do you look at the Hype Versus Reality?
Read recently somewhere that in India only 34 percent of women have bank accounts. This number itself is alarming but a reality.
Social enterprises, increasingly led by women, have a crucial role to play in fulfilling high expectations. This explains the steady growth of the sector: its economic and social contribution is being increasingly recognized by governments, funders and individuals alike. Tax incentives are being offered, and strong indicators of optimism and innovation point to healthy growth in the future. All that I have read everywhere but you really don’t have a platform or forum to educate a common woman to start a business and then follow a certain SOP to achieve a target set for herself.
As a Women Entrepreneur, what are the key challenge you face on your day to day business?
Understanding taxes and where all are they applicable! Many other issues of getting a certain account becomes tough as many a times due to unethical practices other agencies tend to win the same. We practice ‘no bribes policy’. I refuse to offer any percentage of my profits to ant managers working for a client company. This is a major menace in the event industry. Companies need to have strict policies on these issues.
What are the key challenges you have faced as an entrepreneur in the intial days of your business?
Not many frankly as I settled to work with people I had already worked with. It was a little tough, going out of my comfort zone, to the new clients that was challenging. People who know your credentials will allow you to take the lead and work but others may be a little conscious and not trust you till you prove your worth. I’ve never compromised on our fees either which actually does create only a certain set of established companies who can afford the work we do.
Please share some details and key differentiators of your business.
One purpose of my business is to benefit society and to solve critical issues such as cancer awareness, income inequality, education for all, promoting talent via the right platforms.We work for the business with ethical practices where ‘the have’s’ versus ‘the have not’ are treated equally with enough opportunity. Most of my events we try involve masses to communicate the message to a larger audience.
What are the opportunities you witness in the Arts and Leisure domain?
The Art domain is huge and so is leisure. The market today doesn’t necessarily buy art for investment. People like something that pleases the eye and hence they buy it. Luxury that is affordable is something that all will approach with a positive mind.
Where would you like to see your business in next two years?
We are planning to enter the international market soon as there art investor are more aware of want they want.
What are the key areas of your business focus for the next few years?
My charity awareness event – Festival of Hope, will be held all over the metros in the next two years. We are in talks with media and hospitality partners. We want to target at least 50,000 women who will come on board as survivors and tell their stories. We will also collaborate with international galleries to curate few shows for our artists.