Skip to main content

Women Entrepreneurs, Here’s How To Get Investors To Treat You Right

In all the coverage about sexual harassment in the startup ecosystem, I think this is one of the most honest accounts from a woman’s viewpoint that I have read. I love Perri Chase’s honesty and candor about her own experience with a potential investor.

She openly admits that she’s “not the first or only woman who has ever used being a woman to get time with a man” and that this is where we, as women, need to take more responsibility for getting our lines crossed.

I have personally seen how women flock to powerful men in the startup ecosystem, knowing full well that there are no free lunches. Many of these women are very willing to put out, to get that all-important introduction to a potential investor.

The problem is that these willing women end up creating an untenable situation for women who are not interested in being sexually propositioned.

In that sense, we need to admit that, by tolerating and giving into an investor’s sexual advances, we are part of creating and enabling that exploitative culture.

Also, as Perri notes, different women have different abuse thresholds. While those who have never been abused in their lives might take offense at the slightest hint of impropriety, others who have a higher abuse threshold may not find a similar come-on offensive.

Part of the problem, she notes, is that “in an ecosystem where socializing and happy hours are a big way to meet or get to know investors, there are no real clear lines about what is personal and what is professional.”

Looking for a mentor? Here are some ways that you can learn to navigate the tricky world of meeting colleagues and investors at work and outside of it.

  1. Take responsibility for what you create

Like Perri, I believe in taking radical personal responsibility for my life.

This means I buy into the concept that I alone am responsible for whatever I create in my life. Blaming others is a waste of time and gets you nowhere, except deeper into the victim mentality.

Like her, I also believe that I am powerless to change anyone but myself, and that I alone control the choices I make. Her statements that resonate most with me are:

“We can talk about changing men until we are blue in the face, but the only person who is ever truly responsible for my safety is me… It’s not pointing the finger of blame at him. It’s finding the places where you have control and taking it back.”

That does not mean that men don’t need to learn how to behave better. They very much do! But until then, take responsibility for your own safety.

  1. Have a value proposition ready

Don’t assume that people will have your best interests at heart. Most people go through life looking out only for themselves and their loved ones. Very few people are truly altruistic in their intentions.

The truth is that most people only care for their own interests. Especially if you’re a stranger to them. Approach them keeping that in mind.

All relationships involve give and take. So if you’re hoping that someone powerful will mentor you or introduce you to their contacts, you’d better have a value proposition for them too.

This applies as much to women investors and mentors, as it does to men. No one is going to be motivated to help you out if they see no benefit in it for themselves. A mentee must be able to add some value to a mentor’s life, too.

Whether this involves giving them a larger share of your stock or helping them deal with some aspect of their business that they are having problems with, it’s up to you to do your homework and find out where their interests lie or what they need help with, and then offer to help them out with it.

In other words, if you want something from someone, make them an offer they can’t refuse (preferably one that doesn’t involve sexual favours or violence).

  1. Teach people how to treat you

I believe that we teach people how to treat us. This is one of the biggest issues we need to address if we are to create a safer environment for women in business.

We women need to get out of the victim mindset and take our power back. It’s up to us to start setting very clear boundaries on the sort of behavior we won’t tolerate. And it’s a good idea to do that even before you meet up with a man.

Then, if he loses interest when you’ve set clear boundaries, at least you’ll know that your business was never what interested him in the first place.

If you’ve already met up and want to get out of it, all you have to say is, “I’m sorry, I don’t think we’re on the same page here,” or “I think I misunderstood what this meeting was about,” and part on friendly terms (or not, depending on how he takes rejection).

Should someone constantly disrespect your boundaries and keep making unwanted sexual advances, don’t feel guilty about it. It’s not your fault that he’s a creep. You have every reason to report him to the authorities.

But, I believe that if we learn to be more assertive, are willing to take responsibility for our own expectations, and walk away at the first sign of trouble, there’ll be no need for hurt feelings and accusations.

  1. Trust your instincts

If you feel there’s something off, cancel the meeting or leave if you’re already there. Trust your gut.

Never second-guess yourself or put yourself in a vulnerable position where the lines can get blurry. If you know that drinking alcohol clouds your judgment, avoid drinks altogether or sip a mocktail at a business meeting.

We can all teach men to treat us with respect… as human beings who are not interested in being pawed or propositioned when we approach them for advice, mentorship or funding.

Let’s start by taking responsibility for our own expectations and actions so that we can create a better environment for all involved.

What did you think of these tips? Did you find them useful or were you offended? Let me know at @PriyaFlorence

 © Priya Florence Shah is an author, CEO of Blog Brandz, and publisher of

Naaree Interviews Priya Wagh Of MavenChic

Mavenchic aims to be India’s first platform to provide Image Makeover services through digital media, to women from all lifestyles – from corporate to business women to homemakers to college going students – for every woman who wants to flaunt their image with confidence and stand out in a crowd. caught up with Co-Founder, Priya Wagh Of MavenChic to learn her secrets of success.

Priya Wagh Mavenchic


• What is MavenChic about? What products or services do you offer?

We introduced the services of image makeover packages online where women can just login to their website and opt for image makeover packages at an extremely affordable price to transform themselves into the authentic and attractive persona they would love to portray.

We tied up with pan India Image Consultants, who are certified both nationally and internationally. We also have offline detailed packages like personal shopping, wardrobe management, bridal services.

We had this great idea to educate women on fashion and how to wear the right clothes on the right occasion, how to wear clothes that flaunt their body shape instead of being conscious about it.

We also teach women how to wear colors that reinforce their personal colors and make them look the most impressive, attractive and, most importantly, authentic, how to wear correct makeup, as per their personal colors, and how to create a perfect hairdo in less time.

Mavenchic is also an Ecommerce Fashion cum Advisory website which also specializes in selling Jackets, Coats, Blazers i.e. third layer of clothing online only for women which are recommended as per their customers personalized body type, personal coloring, personal style, occasion and latest fashion trends.

For personalized jacket selections, the client has to answer 4 to 5 questions, such as the occasion for which she wants to wear the jacket, her body shape, her eyes, skin and hair colors and her height, after which we have beautiful jackets to suit her, thrown up by the algorithm. This is a scientific approach and we have designed an algorithm that works perfectly for every woman.

We believe that women should understand that they don’t have figure “problems” but figure “variations” and if they wear the right clothes as per body shape and personal colors they are bound to look wonderful and attractive. Mavenchic have developed an algorithm to offer jackets or third layer ‘personalized and customized’ for the individual.

• What inspired to become an entrepreneur? Did you always love it or was it something you got into?

Having done my Engineering in Electronics and MBA in Finance, I landed up in a job which was in a different industry like most of us.

It was exciting and thrilling since it was my first job and campus recruits are always paid good enough to lure the employees. Though I was doing good numbers and was a star performer in my organization, the expected growth didn’t happen to me for a long time.

I was in a Sales and Marketing job for 6 years and sticking to achieving my targets everyday and building up strategies for myself and my team to excel had become a habit.

Though my job didn’t motivate me to stay there for long, but it helped me develop 3 most important skills – perseverance, aggression and passion. I understood my target audience exactly and knew how to market a product in whatever industry I am put into.

While I was working and leading a team, I somehow felt that being the best doesn’t help unless you’re passionate about the work you’re doing. I used to always wonder, somewhere down in my heart whether I was putting the zeal and passion I have in the right place.

I felt somewhere that I have to do something different and unique. And I finally I got this opportunity to discover my true inner sense when I took a sabbatical for my pregnancy.

During my long career break of 2 years, I thought that I can take up some course or do something part-time instead of just sitting idle. And great opportunities always come your way, you just have to keep your eyes open. That was my first step towards becoming an entrepreneur.

My business cum life partner, my husband, Bhalchandra, showed me an article on image management, by a leading institute, ICBI, in the Times of India, and suggested that I take it up as a business opportunity.

I was more than excited to take up the course as it was a business partnership course. That was my first step towards becoming an entrepreneur and first step towards entering the world of fashion. For the first time I had taken up something by MY CHOICE and I was so happy and thrilled about it.

• When do you know that it is no longer just an idea in your mind, and that you can really turn it into a lucrative business?

As I was taking up this full time course, I used to constantly think what next after finishing this course. What ICBI was offering as a business partnership was that they take consultants as trainers in their institute. And secondly consultants can also start their personal ventures where they can start their own 1 to 1 consultations and trainings with individuals and corporate.

By this time I was convinced that the scope is huge, and business opportunities are unlimited. But the market created by these consultants is niche, as image consultants charge very high rates. So it would not be affordable for the masses to use the service and feel the image makeover difference.

That made me think again that I had to do something different and unique. Something which would reach the masses, become convenient and economical for today’s women who is continuously on the go and multi tasking, managing home, family and work.

I always believed that I have to take up something related to woman empowerment and change the way woman perceive themselves. I always wanted to help a woman who is conscious about herself transform into the confident and beautiful looking person she is.

And the idea of Mavenchic developed when I was just in my 5th session of training. I started thinking of getting this image makeover concept online and reach every women of today who thinks she is different and unique and needs to look that way.

Priya Wagh Of MavenChicI have always believed that “a woman should not work hard to look good. She should look good in whatever she wears.” Every woman has the right to look her best all the times and carrying the right image creates the first ever-lasting beautiful impression that you are simply gorgeous!

So as I was pursuing my certification, I was also working on my website. And this was possible because of the constant support and motivation of my husband. We started Mavenchic – an expert who knows everything about fashion.

With online shopping growing in leaps and bounds, we believe that shopping has to be convenient and also value added. A woman should be happy about what she has bought and come back for further purchases.

It’s easier to convince consumer to buy discounted stuff, but with so many options it becomes difficult to buy the right thing. We want to be leaders in this industry and drive consumers to make every purchase thoughtfully and rightly only through Mavenchic.

I felt that if I tap into this niche market, it is definitely going to be lucrative, as we can stand out completely from our competitors. We are not just selling fashion, but we are also tapping into the emotions that trigger a woman to buy a product and look unique.

• What inspired you to start out on your own or with your partners? What learning lessons can you share from your startup experience?

The initial work along with the idea conceptualizing the setup and creating the name and registering the company was done by me, under the support and guidance of my husband, Bhalchandra Wagh.

He was working at a senior level in a prestigious organization at that point of time. But he was continuously on board with me with this idea, as he believed in this idea and my efforts and passion to make it big.

Adept at designing strategic solutions to drive sustainable value and create competitive advantage, Bhalchandra is a Mechanical Engineer and MBA (Operations) from Mumbai University. His interests include his love of cricket, food, travel, and Pilates.

After the initial platform was laid, we wanted to take it to next level. To market it aggressively and create a brand. And that’s where he realized that he would have to leave his job to do justice with Mavenchic.

Having worked with giants like IBM, Bayer Crop Science, Unilever, Lenovo and Sanofi Aventis and handling the global team, leaving his full time job which he was passionate about and joining hands with Mavenchic was the toughest decision for him.

But his belief in the concept and his drive to take fashion to a new level has really helped Mavenchic get a headstart. He has been a constant support and inspiration for me.

As business partners, we have different opinions and loads of arguments. But we are glad because our diversity of experience has helped us get better things on the table.

And at the end of day, with a lot of arguments, we have more options to consider and reconsider and take whatever is best for our organizational goal.

• What are some challenges that you faced initially when you started out? Do you have some examples to share and advice to women entrepreneurs on overcoming them?

The most challenging part of being an entrepreneur is to think even in your dreams of how to make your product perfect. To come out of your comfort zone and work for more than 16 hrs. To manage everything yourself right from idea creation to getting your first repeat customer.

It is sometimes stressful as you are investing your own money, time, passion, creativity in short everything. Also I have a small kid named Renisha. She is 4 years old. And the most challenging thing for me is to bring up two babies together: Renisha and Mavenchic.

It’s the most difficult task as both need my time and care equally. Getting support and advice from family helps, especially in looking after kids; the Indian joint family system has some advantages here. Your family believes in your dreams, so trust them, and let them look after your kid when you are not around.

The biggest challenge is finding the right talent to join Mavenchic, people who are equally crazy and passionate like you, who would love to work with you the way you do and who want to see organizational growth happening along with their personal growth.

It’s difficult to be dependent on a third person every time or get things outsourced. We are on a continuous hunt to bridge this gap and develop an in-house creative team and scale up our business.

Priya Wagh Of MavenChic 3We have developed an algorithm which was the most difficult aspect. It is a very unique concept of system showing you the right third layer as per your body shape, personal color, occasion and personal style. Developing this technology was challenging.

Women are good in multi-tasking, creativity and communication, but business success needs attention also to finance, legal and operations as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or hire other experts, because as an entrepreneur you have to learn about all these things and know to how manage them. Reach out to mentors, coaches and fellow women entrepreneurs.

Customer acquisition is also challenging as getting the word out about your business and having people pay for your service which is a niche a new concept in market in a scalable way is a bit challenging. Believe in your product and your gut feel. Take pride in yourself that you have developed a unique product, and this will make your product work in the longrun with the right reach.

This is what I would like to tell my fellow women entrepreneurs: Follow your dreams and work passionately, stay motivated, don’t get upset with failures, do better with every failure, work, work and only work.

Create your milestones and be your own competition. There is nothing such as overnight success. Stay focused and don’t give up. And also create a right balance between your work and family…. and of course, have your mentor or your husband always with you in strategizing your thoughts.

• What are all the things that a woman entrepreneur needs to keep in mind? I.e. apart from your great idea, what do you need to be armed with?

Success is not easy; most people have this false perception that when they fail they should take a different path. Everyone wants to be successful, and everyone’s definition of success is different.

Regardless of the definition, the goal is to go from where you are to where you want to be. Obstacles are bound to happen, but don’t get discouraged and lose your enthusiasm.

A woman is blessed with the most important quality of being patient all the time irrespective of whatever obstacle comes: just tackle it. Use this quality as a sword and follow your dream without losing your enthusiasm.

We need to surround ourselves with positive people who are going to help us and guide us. Like for me I had always been motivated by my inspiration, my mentors: my family who never let me down and discouraged my decision. Motivation matters especially when you are in the middle of a career which is a risky proposition altogether.

But she should also remember that it’s her baby, and her decisions matter the most in making it success. Stick to your own decisions as you are the best judge of your company.

There are going to be arguments, clashes with your partner, your family on a particular decision, but stay focused and stick like glue to your decisions. Follow your instincts and it will work wonders for you.

We need to understand that “Success is neither a destination nor an end point; it’s the constant accumulation of the development of you.” And today when I think back I am so overwhelmed by the fact that I have grown so much.

I understand business and how to run it. When you continue to work on yourself and your mindset, you will start to attract better things into your life at every level.

Constantly work on your work ethics, work habits, work timings, work attitude… as everything revolves round work… the harder you work… the better are the chances of you turning into a successful entrepreneur.

You need to be armed with self belief, ambition, passion and confidence that you are going to succeed, come what may.

• Do women entrepreneurs find it tougher to get funding for businesses? If yes, why do you think that is?

It’s a fact. Women do have a harder time getting funding than men. Like I said, there are challenges. Thankfully, though, there are also solutions.

Women have true leadership qualities when it comes to creating revenue and marketing opportunities and taking their ideas have a product and market fit. They have it all – qualities of leadership: teambuilding, partnership building, thoughtful management, and are market savvy.

Much of business involves emotionally connecting with your audience. That’s why women build ideas that emotionally connect with consumers: They are extremely good in professional relation management and create long lasting professional relations with their vendors, suppliers, partners and most importantly consumers.

But despite these facts sometimes it is difficult for a woman to raise funds from VC for few negligent reasons like:

– The “audience” when you’re raising a round of VC funding is, well, men. Women can’t possibly emotionally connect with men as well as other men can.

– VC’S prefer more risk taking companies that can make it or break it in 4 years. They do believe in go big or go home. But women are actually risk averse. They believe that everything works if you sell it in an authentic way and you are bound to succeed by taking slow and steady steps.

– Women get emotionally caught up, and sometimes have difficulty in taking tough decisions. You have to be quick in making dramatic business changes that could impact your employees. Women are emotional and nurturing and for them taking instant decisions of hiring or firing someone is a little tough.

– Work-life balance is important for them as they have to simultaneously run their families and their company. “There are ways to balance your time, but the perception is that you could be more effective running your business if you didn’t have to deal with kids.”

For these reasons, it is little difficult for women to pitch in for funding. But with strong determination, confidence, and belief to leave no stone unturned, a women can rise to any challenge and make it successful.

• Is it beneficial to have a mentor when you’re starting out on your own? What does a mentor bring to the table?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or hire other experts, because as an entrepreneur you have to learn about all these things and know to how manage them. Reach out to mentors, coaches and fellow women entrepreneurs.

Mentoring is not only giving advice, it’s more of a commitment of time and attention that adds value to your organization. It’s difficult to find the right mentor pertaining to your industry. And if you find such a mentor, nothing like it.

As an entrepreneur you are constantly learning, and a mentor can guide you with all the things that take to reach there. They should be on same level of energy and understanding about your product, dreams and aspirations.

Fortunately for me, my brother, Prashant Kirtane, has been a mentor for me. He is a B.E. from VJTI. Having worked as a Director with, he left that prestigious company just to start his own venture, TRAVELMOB – a Singapore based travel company which is the first Indian company to get acquired by Homeaway (largest US-based travel company) in a span of 6 months.

This is truly an inspiration and I am proud to be mentored by him from time to time.

• How did you recruit your first team? How difficult was it to get people on board during the initial stages?

We have launched our company just two months back. And currently we are a team of two co founders and have two team members. Firstly, to handle hiring right talent is the most difficult task and once you find it, there’s nothing like it.

It was difficult for us to take interviews as we had a small office space which was like a co-working space with other entrepreneurs. And convincing the guy you are going to hire to think big, as we want to make it big, was not easy for us.

But fortunately we had the right expertise from our corporate experience of handling big teams, which helped us. Also we had a unique concept to sell with a leveraging technology.

We interviewed almost 20 guys in order to hire our technology team member, but are happy that hard work pays off in every detail that you take care of.

• What are 3 key things that you have learned as an entrepreneur?

Identify your target audience and connect with them in whatever way you can, making everyone you meet believe in your concept, out of box thinking 24×7. Even in your dreams.

• What would you describe as your biggest moments of success in your business?

Success for me is that when my client would say that this service has really made a difference in her life. We are creating a new way of looking at fashion. And for me fashion is about ‘standing out in a crowd, by whatever you wear with confidence’.

It’s not only what you wear, but how you wear it. It’s all in the wearing!

You can visit Priya’s website at

Contact her on her toll free number at 18002700285



Shruti Bandhari: Ethnic Indian Fashion Entrepreneur

Armed with passion for artistic excellence and prompted by flair for eclectic designs, Shruti Bhandari has carved a niche of her own in the world of fashion.

Hailing from a lineage of generations involved in manufacturing of fabrics and other creative pursuits, she has always had an artistic bent of mind. From a very early age she knew she wanted to be a designer and decided to branch out and do this on her own.

Shruti Bandhari, Ethnic Indian Fashion EntrepreneurShe holds a degree in Fashion Technology and has designed, under the able tutelage of Sameer Patel for around 7 years, for various celebrities, TV Shows like Indian idol, Nach Baliye etc.

Shruti launched her own Label “Shruti Bhandari” in 2010. The label has its Flagship store on Waterfield Road (Bandra) and also retails at Silhoutte (Juhu).

Her Inspiration is drawn from varied sources and artisan techniques. The label is best known for its exquisitely classic yet stylish and timeless designs.

The collection ranges from Exquisite Indian ethnic wear, Bridals, Trousseau, Gowns, Fashion garments and Tunics for Women to Sherwanis, Jodhpuries and Kurtas for Men. caught up with Shruti and asked her about her journey, the secrets to her success and what advice she has for other Indian women entrepreneurs.

  • What inspired to become an entrepreneur? Did you always love it or was it something you got into?

I was working with designer Sameer Patel for seven years and was happy with my job. But after a while, I started feeling limited. I then decided to start my own label. Growth is an important factor in anyone’s career.

Fashion and related things always interested me. As a child I was surrounded by people who had an inclination for art be architecture or fashion. It seemed like a natural progression to me.

  • When do you know that it is no longer just an idea in your mind, and that you can really turn it into a lucrative business?

I started experimenting by wearing my own designs and then hosting small exhibitions. Designing clothes for my relatives gave me the much-needed confidence. This validated that people appreciated my sensibilities.

  • What inspired you to start out on your own? What learning lessons can you share from your startup experience?

I was newly married when I told my husband about starting my own label. He was very supportive. We were struggling with finances to buy a new house and other marriage-related stuff, but he stood like a rock. He also boosted my confidence and spurred me to think big. This gave birth to the Shruti Bhandari label.

  • What are all the things that a woman entrepreneur needs to keep in mind? I.e. apart from your great idea, what do you need to be armed with?

Besides having a great idea, women entrepreneurs need to look at the practical aspects too. Nowadays women are at par with men in almost every field including business.

However, the mentality of women not being good in business is not completely erased. I feel to enter any field, in this case fashion, women need to be consistent and have unique designs which are still wearable.

  • Do women entrepreneurs find it tougher to get funding for businesses? If yes, why do you think that is?

The question of finding it difficult to consolidate funds is irrelevant if you have a good business plan. This supersedes the gender biases.

My advice to the budding entrepreneurs is to always have a business plan. It helps in getting financers and also, evaluating your business progress.

  • What are some challenges that you faced initially when you started out? Do you have some examples to share and advice to women entrepreneurs on overcoming them?

There were a lot of challenges I had to face while launching my own label. They were both financial and emotional.

Negotiating with people was tough for me as many tried taking advantage of me because I was a woman. They thought I would not know the nitty-gritty involved to make a business work. So I suggest other women entrepreneurs to do their homework well.

  • Is it beneficial to have a mentor when you’re starting out on your own? What does a mentor bring to the table?

It is good to have a mentor to guide you. The mentor’s experience and your enthusiasm will reflect in the way the label is brought to the public. The mentor can also help in making a financial plan and achieving and fore sighting business targets.

  • How did you recruit your first team? How difficult was it to get people on board during the initial stages?

I recruited my staff based on merit and then instincts. Anyways women are not new to recruiting people. We do it all the time be it house helps or drivers.

Surprisingly, recruiting was not a problem but boosting their morale is something that helps in getting the best out of them.

  • What are key things that you have learned as an entrepreneur?

Patience and passion for the work is the key for any business. One must be a helpful guide and set a good example for others at work.

  • How important is social media in building a business today? How has it played a role in helping you build yours?

Practically everyone is on social networking sites these days. Social media is a tool that is readily available to many. It helps to get the business to people individually and has a good connect. For entrepreneurs, it helps us keep a tab on competition.

  • Can you share some tips for women entrepreneurs to maintain a balance between work and family life?

When at work be dedicated to work. When at home be there for the family. People feel that family life has to be sacrificed for their career which is unacceptable.

Family is your backbone as those are your roots. Friends may come and go but family stays. Balancing both personal and professional lives is tough but not impossible.



5 Rural Women Entrepreneurs In India

Women entrepreneurs are constantly rewriting the economy with their skill and confidence, and providing a new lease of life to the rural population with their innovative ventures.

Here is a look at five women entrepreneurs on India who have made invaluable contributions to rural development.

  • Ela Bhatt

Ela BhattThe Founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Bhatt is a renowned leader in the fields of microfinance and labour. She founded SEWA in 1972 along with the late Arvind Buch who was then the president of the Textile Labour Association (TLA).

Thanks to an initiative by SEWA, villages in Bihar have become a base for rural women to earn their living by renting solar bulbs to other families. These women buy solar bulbs at subsidized rates with the help of loans from SEWA and then not only use some in their own homes but also rent them out to other families, thereby earning their living.

Ela Bhatt has been awarded the Padmashri, the Padmabhushan as well as the Ramon Magsaysay Award.

  • Thinlas Chorol

Thinlas ChorolShe is the only Ladakhi woman to be trained to work in the field of mountaineering.

Having grown up in the mountains, Chorol went on trekking expeditions as a guide with “Around Ladakh with Students” (ALS), the travel agency owned by SECMOL, the Institute where she studied.

She founded the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company in 2009 to bring more women into the field of travel and mountaineering, and also to promote ecotourism in Ladakh.

  • Annie George

She is the founder of BEDROC, an organization that “helps build disaster-resilient, sustainable coastal communities.” Some of the fields that BEDROC works in are disaster management, Participatory Water Resource Management, and Coastal Vulnerability Mapping.

One of the main objectives of BEDROC is to “Leverage experiences of the 2004 Asian tsunami to create community-based, community-owned mechanisms for enhanced disaster response, mitigation and preparedness for coastal communities.”

  • Chetna Gala Sinha

Chetna Gala SinhaSinha is the founder of  Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank (Mann Deshi Bank), a regulated cooperative bank run by women for women.

Udyogini Business School was founded in 2007 by the bank in collaboration with HSBC’s Indian arm.

There are thousands of girls who drop out of school in Maharashtra every year, and Mann Deshi Udyogini aims at providing vocational training and financial training to these young women to enable them to become entrepreneurs.

The bank also offers loans to these women to start businesses after graduating.

  • Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad

Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat PapadAlso known as Lijjat, this is a women’s cooperative which manufactures a number of consumer goods. Lijjat was founded by seven Gujarati housewives from Mumbai in order to make a living with the skill they had – cooking.

“The seven women were Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat, Parvatiben Ramdas Thodani, Ujamben Narandas Kundalia, Banuben. N. Tanna, Laguben Amritlar Gokani, Jayaben V. Vithalani, and one more lady whose name is not known.” (Source).

Today there are several members who work in a number of branches. Lijjat’s main motive is to generate self-employment for women and it provides employment to more than 40000 women.


Image sources, and The Elders

Naaree Interviews Indian Woman Entrepreneur, Priti Shroff

Mumbai-based entrepreneur, Priti Shroff, overcame the tragedy of her sister’s fight with breast cancer to take the knowledge and practices of alternative therapy to the masses.

Every person has a different way of coping with a personal tragedy. Most people just mourn through a tragic phase in their lives whereas just a handful spiritually enrich themselves from a tragedy and go on to help others from what they’ve learnt from it.

Mumbai-based alternative healer, Priti Shroff, is one of the rare few who decided to spread the unique knowledge she gained while helping her sister, Tanvi Mayani, in her fight with breast cancer.

Priti had worked as a career counsellor, nursery teacher and stock broker -actually enjoying all these professions till she embarked on a new journey by inaugurating Prisim, a healing institute of wellness of mind, body and spirit, in February 2005.

Though Priti always had an innate interest in spirituality, it was while accompanying her terminally ill sister through a course on Raw and Living foods pioneered by Dr. Ann Wigmore in Atlanta, USA that she got deeply involved in matters concerning holistic health.

Tanvi’s chemotherapy and radiation sessions had taken the toll on her by leaving her with a huge stomach and a hunched back.

To help Tanvi heal the ravages of cancer Priti flew her sister to Atlanta to enrol her in Wigmore’s living food lifestyle programme, providing a unique regime of detoxification, nutrition and rejuvenation through the use of fresh raw fruits, vegetables, juices, nuts, sprouted seeds, grains, wheatgrass juice and chlorophyll rich greens and beans.

The programme also embraced emotional healing through yoga, meditation, emotional catharsis and a wide range of complementary therapies.

Within ten days Tanvi was back to her slim figure of a flat tummy and straight back which she could proudly flaunt in a mini skirt. Her fitness level in fact made her well enough to fly a private plane and swim with the dolphins at ease.

Tanvi was in good health for six months without chemotherapy and radiation but unfortunately suffered from a cancer relapse in the spine on the shock of hearing that her brother had met with an accident and was in critical condition.

She passed away in December 2004 but the diet of raw and living food she continued with did help her immensely even in the final stages of cancer.

Tanvi’s demise was of epiphanic awakening to Priti. “I went through this inner search. I just couldn’t come back to stock broking anymore as I knew that God wanted me to do something much bigger.”

Deeply introspecting into her sister’s tryst with cancer, Priti realized that not all cancer patients in India were lucky enough to travel as far as Atlanta to enrol in the extremely expensive Raw & Living Foods course.

With all the knowledge Priti had learnt in true honesty from Wigmore’s course, Priti decided to impart the very same knowledge in India at rates affordable to Indians.

Priti had already started helping cancer patients with Raw and Living Foods prepared by her while her sister had been suffering from cancer, the results of which were very impressive. Patients, who were given just a few weeks to live, pulled through for months on being put on Priti’s prescribed diet.

When Priti told her husband of her wish to start a holistic health centre on the lines of Ann Wigmore’s course, he had his doubts as he felt that Priti was good while working under a boss but entrepreneurship was really not on the cards for her.

But Priti optimistically felt, “God will show me the way.” Call it mere coincidence or divine intervention, Priti’s long lost school and college friends who were into holistic healing contacted her and expressed genuine interest to be a part of Priti’s healing programme.

Priti’s classmate from Jai Hind College, Sherina Tanwani, who had studied up to high levels in System Brahma Satya and adept at conducting healing meditations and training people in the art of energy healing, agreed to be an aura healer and conduct Brahma Satya Energy workshops for Priti.

Priti’s family friend, Vivek Chhabria, who had a diploma in acupuncture from the Indian Academy of Acupuncture Science, joined Prisim too.

Vandana Trivedi, also Priti’s college friend and a certified yoga consultant from the yoga institute of Santa Cruz in Mumbai, joined as the yoga therapist and also started conducting workshops for students on personality development, concentration, memory and mind training, relaxation, and improving study skills.

Retired Brigadier Chainani, of the National School of Blind, whose students had been trained as wheat grass therapists by Priti, offered his students to be trained as holistic masseurs by Priti.

Prasanna Murthy (whom Priti knew through Brigadier Chainani) professionally trained in massage therapy and Ayurveda joined as a practising doctor of naturopathy and a massage therapist.

Jyotika Shroff, Priti’s sister-in-law, who also lost her sister to cancer, is the Raw & Living Foods recipes teacher on being taught the same by Yogini Unmani, an international raw foods and yoga teacher based in Miami.

Prisim came into being on February 6, 2006 with this team of dedicated holistic practitioners. The significance of Prisim’s name lies in the pyramidal structure of a prism which concentrates all energies at a single point.

In Priti’s institute, it is the concentration of alternative systems to culminate in the healing of an individual. The extra ‘i’ in ‘Prisim’ is to indicate the individual to heal for whom the cream of various systems are brought together.

Focusing on alternative therapies, Prisim offers a whole gamut of services including Raw and Living Food lifestyles; massage therapies like Shiastu, Thai, Reflexology; hot and cold stone therapy, acupuncture, yoga, aromatherapy, Brahma Satya Energy workshop, meditation, mudra workshops, homeopathy, manual lymphatic drainage system, aura scanning and analysis, aura cleansing, colon hydrotherapy, foot detox and steam detox.

Prisim’s solar kitchen adopts healthy cooking methods from organically grown raw materials washed in ozone. Once a person enters Prisim’s plush, spic and span premises in Grant Road with soothing holistic music being played, one instantly feels rejuvenated. After a 10-day healing programme, a person reaches a different elevated level of physical and spiritual well-being.

Actor Dimple Kapadia, a client of Prisim says, “I have been closely associated with Prisim Healing Institute using their aromatherapy products, ozonizer, wheatgrass juice etc. Its uniqueness is that all the alternative therapies are being offered under one roof. As a believer of holistic health, I would urge you to take advantage of this opportunity. A total detoxification and rejuvenation course is a lifetime opportunity for every individual who wants to regain and maintain complete health and happiness.”

When asked about the future plans of Prisim, Priti answers, “In near future I want to spread holistic awareness among children. I want to help children de-stress through yoga and express emotions through painting workshops. I want to make them aware of the harmfulness of pastas, pizzas, aerated drinks and junk food which is unfortunately the “in food” of the teen generation and encourage them to include Raw and Living Foods in their diet instead.”

To experience Prisim’s healing programs for yourself visit their center below

Address: Hormuzd Building, Sleater Road, Near Grant Road (West), Mumbai 400007.
Phone: (022)23812370, (022)23802370,


The Number 1 Reason Women Entrepreneurs Fail (+ 3 Powerful Strategies For Success)

Do you know the #1 reason why most women entrepreneurs’ businesses fail?

It’s because many women don’t know their own value. They under-charge, feel uncomfortable talking about their fees, are afraid to make offers, and don’t know how to design lucrative packages that truly benefit and serve their clients while at the same time create a powerful profit formula for their business.

Woman Entrepreneur

Let me share with you 3 amazing strategies to ensure success…


When you charge what you’re worth, you empower your clients and inspire them to their greatest potential. Low fees don’t serve anyone – in fact they harm the people you’re committed to helping.

You might think you’re doing a favor for your clients by maintaining low rates in this economy, but the truth is, when you lower your rates, you lower your client’s results. Low rates keep everyone down. When you charge what you’re worth you have greater impact… and you have more resources to help more people.

Tip #1: Know Your Value

Knowing your value begins with accepting and embracing the truth that you deserve abundance. You deserve to be well compensated for your expertise. You are a change agent. You transform people’s lives, whether you’re a financial adviser, career strategist, leadership coach, or business consultant. What benefits and results do you give your clients?

What’s the value in helping someone fund their dream project and give back to their community, get a promotion to a better job that allows them to spend more time with their kids, or launch a profitable business so they can have a farther reach and more impact? I bet the value is 100 times more than you would ever charge. I bet the value is priceless. It’s time to step up and value what you deliver.

Tip #2: Raise Your Fees

Your rate is a statement to the world of the confidence you have in your skills. If you’re charging low fees your ideal, value-conscious clients will go somewhere else because they associate low price with low quality. You’re an expert, not a commodity. Do you want to be Wal-Mart or the Ritz Carlton? Understanding the value of what you deliver will help you command higher fees.


If you’re still offering single sessions or an hourly rate, it’s gotta stop. You need to develop packages that serve your clients, generate consistent cash flow, and are designed for profit based on where you are in business right now.

Tip #1: Use Proven Profit Formulas

It’s super simple to choose where to focus your profit formula when you know what business phase you’re in on the Expert Entrepreneur Path. For example, if you’re in the Development Phase you’ll be focusing on high-ticket Intensives and Premier Programs and creating an ascension model to easily move clients to the next level.

Tip #2: Deliver an Exceptional Experience with Real Results

The bottom line is, you must offer something remarkable. The days of mediocrity are over. Hype is out… integrity is in. People want an exceptional experience from the time they connect with you through the delivery phase and beyond.

And you know what… it’s a lot more fun and profitable to deliver than bland, boring, and same-old, same-old. You need to lead here… with innovation, distinction, authenticity, and a signature system advantage.


Millionaire mentor David Neagle, says, “Sales is not something you do to someone, it is something you do for someone.” That’s a really beautiful, elegant way to position sales in your mind. Sales is about serving another person. If you don’t make an offer, if you don’t engage in sales, you’re not helping anyone.

In fact, you’re doing them a disservice by not making an offer when you know you have the solution to their problem or can help them get where they want to go. You owe it to your community to make offers for them to move forward and transform by investing in themselves through you.

Tip #1: Attach an Offer To Everything You Do

Successful entrepreneurs continually make offers… every day! Embrace the powerful and positive impact you have when you make offers and invite people to work with you. Always make an offer in everything you do (through your newsletters, your teleseminars, your workshops, social media, networking, and one-on-one) … so those people who need you can step up and change their lives.

Tip #2: Develop and Implement a System to Consistently Generate Conversations + Authentically and Naturally Convert Those Conversations into Clients

The sales process is about listening, having a conversation, identifying your potential client’s needs, showing that you have a solution to their problem or need, and making the offer. The sale is simply the natural outcome of the conversation.

You’re helping people make a decision about investing in themselves. You’re not committed to the decision. You’re not committed to whether they choose to work with you or not, but you are committed to helping them make a decision. You don’t serve anyone if you let them stay stuck in indecision.

Laura Cross is a Revenue Acceleration Strategist and owner of Expert Entrepreneur LLC. She helps women entrepreneurs build lucrative and exciting expert-businesses that thrive in any economy. Claim your no-cost High-Paid Expert Training, videos and worksheets at

Image: Ambro /

Successful Women Entrepreneurs In India In The IT Industry

The number of women entrepreneurs in India in the IT industry is deplorably low. While the number of women tech graduates has been increasing in the past few years, the majority of them prefer jobs in existing companies, as opposed to starting up ventures of their own.

Here’s a list of a select few Indian women who took the plunge, and have achieved much success as entrepreneurs in the IT sector.

Revathi Kasturi:

Revathi KasturiThe founder and CEO of the Laqsh Job Skills Academy, Revathi Kasturi is a highly successful IT entrepreneur. She started her career in Wipro, and after 17 years in the company, moved on as Co-Founder and President of Tarang Software Technologies. She also served as the Managing Director of Novell India before going on to establishing Laqsh.

Business Today named her Woman of the Year in 2001. An electrical engineering graduate of IIT Bombay, this Bangalorean served with NASSCOM as an Executive Council Member for 6 years – and is now on the Regional Council of NASSCOM Karnataka. She is also a charter member of TIE Bangalore.

Laqsh Job Skills Academy provides courses and training to companies and individuals in life skills development, English-speaking skills, computer literacy, sales skills and service skills. The company is also committed to provide “quality training for skill repair at an affordable cost and [to] reach out to urban and semi urban India . . . [providing] holistic training and placement services for youth.”

Neetu Bhatia:

Neetu Bhatia of KyazoongaNeetu Bhatia is the Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of KyaZoonga. She has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the College of Engineering, Pune, and an M.S. in Management and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Her résumé reads like a dream: a high-profile executive at Lehmann Brothers in New York, working on projects involving media and telecom advisory, capital raising and restructuring transactions; a senior media and telecom investment banker on Wall Street; a Director in the Media, Communications & Technology Investment Banking Group of the Bank of Montreal – and the head of KyaZoonga, of course.

KyaZoonga, launched in 2007, is India’s first – and largest – sports and entertainment ticketing company. The company has handled ticketing for several large-scale events such as the Commonwealth Youth Games 2008 and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. With a presence in over 40 cities, and over a million tickets sold in total, KyaZoonga is set to only keep growing.

Rashmi Sinha:

Rashmi SinhaBased in the United States, Rashmi Sinha is a designer and entrepreneur who founded SlideShare, an Internet space where users can share presentations with each other. She has a PhD in Cognitive Neuropsychology from Brown University.

Her early entrepreneurial efforts led to co-founding Uzanto, a “user experience consulting company,” (now a development firm for SlideShare based in New Delhi).

With 50 million visitors and 90 million pageviews a month, SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations, PDF files, and webinars.

Dr Nita Goyal:

Dr Nita GoyalWith a B.Tech from IIT Kanpur and a PhD from Stanford University, Dr Nita Goyal wouldn’t particularly need to do anything extra to sound more impressive. Yet, she goes past that label: her achievements are astounding.

She began her career working in research at Hewlett-Packard Labs from 1993 to 1998; to go on to co-found Exemplary Software, Inc., in 1998, where she served as the Vice President (Engineering) for a year. She returned to India to co-found Tavant Technologies, based in Bangalore, in 2000.

Tavant Technologies is a “collaborative commerce software solutions company that enables manufacturers and brand owners to manage, streamline and enhance multi-level distribution channels.”

Dr Goyal served as the Vice President (Engineering) from 2000 till 2002, taking a break for 10 months to serve as a fellow with the Reuters Digital Vision Programme. When she returned in 2002, she continued with Tavant as the Vice President for New Product Development for six more years.

As part of her time at Tavant, she was also involved in the creation and development of the Vancouver, BC-based environmental-themed venture Social Way, which encourages people to reduce their carbon footprints in several innovative ways.

Ever the entrepreneur, she moved on from Tavant to establish ngpay in 2008, a start-up mobile commerce company that brands itself as “India’s largest mall on your mobile.” Today, ngpay has become the largest mobile channel for Indian Railways, multiplex chains, hotels, and major airlines.


Top 5 Successful Women Entrepreneurs In India

Women in India have come a long way from being just ‘homemakers’. The world now sees them with a different eye and a new respect. Women entrepreneurship in India has come a long way from women working only part time.

Successful women entrepreneurs in India have made their presence felt in every field be it the world of politics, music, fashion, movies and entertainment or business. Hindu scriptures defines women as the embodiment of ‘Shakti’ and she lives up to image every time, whether it is problem solving at home or running a successful business.

Here we have listed 5 of the most successful women entrepreneurs in India who continue to inspire us with their versatile abilities, persuasiveness, problem solving abilities, willingness to take chances and risks and the ability to motivate people around them.

  • Dr. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Also known as the ‘Biotech Queen’ of India, Dr. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is listed in the Forbes magazine as 50 most powerful women in International Business.

Starting with a capital of just Rs.10,000 with her garage as her office, she created her first product in the year 1978. Her company Biocon has since then touched new height in the field of biotechnology.

An active social activist she is a true role model for aspiring entrepreneurs in India.



  • Indira Nooyi

Indira Nooyi
Indira Nooyi


No list of successful women entrepreneurs in India is complete without the mention of Indira Nooyi, the CFO and president of PepsiCo.

Her ability to make quick decision and tenacity to follow up has enabled her to make PepsiCo one of the biggest brands in the market today.

Indira Nooyi is listed as the fourth most powerful women in the world by Forbes Magazine.


  • Ekta Kapoor

Ekta Kapoor
Ekta Kapoor

We all have a love hate relationship with the famous “saas-bahu” serials on the Television but we cannot at any level ignore them. This bubbly and extremely professional creative director of Balaji Television has won the hearts of millions of Indian women.

She is one of the most dynamic and successful women entrepreneurs in the Indian television industry. Also known as the ‘Queen of the Indian Television Industry’ she started her career in with the sit-com Hum Panch.

According to her the reason of her success is to be closely involved with all the aspects of the serial including picking up the artists herself.


  • Neelam Dhawan

Neelam Dhawan
Neelam Dhawan

When we are discussing the successful women entrepreneurs in India we cannot leave the leading name in the IT sector out of it.

Neelam Dhawan, Managing director of Microsoft India, has carved a special niche for herself in the IT industry. She looks after the company’s sales and marketing division of the country in India.




  • Shahnaz Hussain

Shahnaz Hussain
Shahnaz Hussain


She is a part of this list of one of the top women entrepreneurs in India because she started form nothing and has made her company, Shahnaz Hussain Herbals a $100 million enterprise.

She broke the traditional advertising myths and the popularity of her company is solely due to mouth-to-mouth publicity only. Shahnaz was awarded the Padma Shri by the Govt. of India in 2006.



Photo source shankbone & nannu