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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



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 /

Naaree Interviews Marsha Gabriel, CEO, Helping Hand Network

The recent Women In Leadership Forum India 2011 in Mumbai, saw a number of inspiring women delegates and speakers, including social entrepreneur, Marsha Gabriel, CSI Advisor and CEO of the Helping Hand Network – also known as the “Oprah of South Africa.” reporter, Shilpa Sachdev, spoke to her about her entrepreneurial adventures.

Marsha Gabriel, CEO, Helping Hand NetworkWhen do you know that a business is no longer an idea in your mind, and that you can really turn it into a lucrative business?

It starts with an idea which you have to nurture, research, get advice and build the momentum. One must listen to their gut feeling and act in time because I believe that procrastination is the thief of time.

What inspired you to start on your own? How has the experience been so far?

I had to undergo a few surgeries and was declared unfit for the labour market. That is when I realised that this is not the end of life. In the days of affliction you also see a twinkle of the star.

I founded the CSI Business Congress nine years ago and in just five years of its running, I brought it to an unmatched position. The aim was to create capacity for women to rule even in the midst of limitation.

We train students to become entrepreneurs by giving them the knowledge and practical skills to create business initiatives.

What are some hurdles you faced initially when you started out? Your advice to women entrepreneurs on overcoming them.

Funding was difficult to come by in the beginning but I did not resolve to defeat. Instead, I created the ability to create projects that will generate funds. We shifted the dependence from temporary resources to sustainability.

Most women are uneducated and they cannot do anything not because of lack of funding but because of lack of awareness. They are intimidated by the documentation part.

Before starting out, can you give us a checklist of all the things that you need to keep in mind i.e apart from the great idea, what do you need to be armed with?

Association. Do not associate with people who are dream killers. Research, research and research. Exhaust every channel of funding – it is not really the problem.

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

A mentor motivates and inspires. Mentorship gives you an edge, a fearless ability to do the impossible.

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

I have always had a soft spot for women. In the second year of running, I had 42 women working for me all housewives, with no knowledge of computers, administration or promotions.

My approach is that today I will give you fish, tomorrow I will teach you fishing and then I will train you to buy the pond. That is what skill building is all about, to break the walls because there is space beyond those walls.

One must be rejuvenated mentally to work physically.

What are the 3 key things you have learned in your time as an entrepreneur?

Treat people with utmost respect, nurture relationships and catch your funders.

Have you been using social media marketing? How has it helped?

One cannot run the business today without depending on social media. All the promotions and marketing happen on social media platforms today.

I came to this conference through an interaction over social media. It attracts clients outside of your walking distance.

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

The woman has a natural instinct to be a mother and a wife. She must not feel guilty of taking an hour to relax. Take time out to relax. Invest in yourself to re-invent yourself.



Naaree Interviews Indian Woman Entrepreneur, Harshbeena Sahney Zaveri

Shilpa Sachdev,’s reporter at the Women In Leadership Forum India 2011, caught up with Harshbeena Sahney Zaveri, Managing Director and President of NRB Bearings Ltd., to learn her secrets to success.

She is also the President of Ball and Roller Bearing Manufacturers Association and also serves on the Western Indian Council.

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

I think I always knew that.

What inspired you to start on your own? How has the experience been so far?

I joined as a management trainee in my father’s company. I wanted to create a new work culture. I was the first family member to join. But I found that since I was a woman and that too family, the workers found it a little odd in the beginning.

Competence does not guarantee performance, passion does. You need to do things that nobody else wants to do. It is all about having the right perspective. There is opportunity in every adversity. One must never underestimate the power of inspiration.

What are some hurdles you faced initially when you started out? Your advice to women entrepreneurs on overcoming them.

There were a lot of hurdles but one must never focus on them; instead one must find a way to cope with them.

Before starting out, can you give us a checklist of all the things that you need to keep in mind i.e. apart from the great idea, what do you need to be armed with?

It is your job, you need to go find a way.

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

One of my mentors once told me, I hope you are not going to go and do what your parents say.

What are the 3 key things you have learned in your time as an entrepreneur?

Turn crisis into opportunity. People make things happen and have fun.

Have you been using social media marketing? How has it helped?

Social media is dysfunctional. Real leaders meet people, they don’t tweet them.

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

Focus on things that are under your control. Don’t externalise but internalise things. Share dreams with your children. Be there for important times.

It is the smallness of our dreams that comes in our way. Have a dream and plan to make it a reality. Create a support group especially in your children and be prepared to sacrifice.



Naaree Interviews Indian Woman Entrepreneur, Kanika Dewan, Bramco

Shilpa Sachdev,’s reporter at the Women In Leadership Forum India 2011, caught up with Kanika Dewan, Group President, Bramco, Founder of KA Design Atelier and also the winner of Leading Woman in Business Award, to learn about her achievements and source of inspiration.

Kanika Dewan, BramcoWhen do you know that it is no longer an idea in your mind, and that you can really turn it into a lucrative business?

Intuition tells you that. Of course you have to your primary research and go to the basics levels of business. When it is a B2C idea, a lot depends on the confidence in you and in a B2B domain, your funding must be in place.

What inspired you to start on your own? How has the experience been so far?

I always inherently had the concept inside me to do something different.  I was driven by this passion to innovate and make a difference and you can do that only in your own thing.

It is all about the energy you put into a project; your output will be determined by the input – how much of heart and soul you put into the task at hand.

I wanted to do business not only with the objective of making profit but to create something that does not exist. I worked as an investment banker for two years.

I did not want to join my family business and wanted to make a difference on my own. We started from malls and celebrity trade shows to now having a full- fledged organisation. It was like constant entrepreneurship.

What are some hurdles you faced initially when you started out? Your advice to women entrepreneurs on overcoming them.

For me, I started a business which was predominantly male dominated – the field of design and build. I faced two issues – firstly I was female and secondly, I was young. Some people also had the perception that I was born with a silver spoon.

But my boarding school experience taught me some tough lessons early in life, which helped me significantly to deal with these hurdles. When you are an entrepreneur, the buck stops at you all the time.

My advice to women would be that when you go to meet your men clients, be technically sound, be assertive and vocal. Have an opinion. Demonstrate your knowledge and promote yourself in the first interaction itself.

Before starting out, can you give us a checklist of all the things that you need to keep in mind i.e apart from the great idea, what do you need to be armed with?

You need to have energy foremost of all. I have a 5 point acronym for that which I keep defining differently from situation to situation. Apart from the great idea, one needs to STRIVE when you are an entrepreneur. S stands for Singularity of approach, T stands for Tradition that brings back to your core value system.

The lessons you can learn from older people like I derive a lot of inspiration from my grandmom, who can do Excel calculations even at the age of 82. Concepts are generally repeated, the world doesn’t change, human beings don’t change, the world behaves in a similar pattern and hence the importance of tradition.

R refers to responsibility because your workers look up to you. Stand by your decisions and that will make you wake up every morning. I is Integrity. I have stronger views on this – we strictly follow a ‘no-bribe’ policy and I face a lot of opposition for this. Your business should make a difference.

V is for value system – how far are you willing to go to reach your targets? We work directly with the end user to cut the corruption. There have been instances where people demand a cut outright.

E is for environment. Environment consciousness is a business interest. The work you do has a karmic cycle. You have to give back to the world, else you face the repercussions. We have strict quality control systems in place to make sure we don’t tamper with the environment.

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

Mentorship brings support, motivation, reinforcement of whether you are going in the right direction. It is your first test case and is necessary for ‘constructive’ development.

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

It was difficult to get women on board because they wanted to work in fixed times. We had a high employee turnover in the first year of business.

What are the 3 key things you have learned in your time as an entrepreneur?

When I was at Wharton, I read it and I heard it but now I have learnt it. For becoming a successful entrepreneur, you should have three body parts working well – your heart, mind and the gut.

Keep your gut strong. When I took up the Delhi Airport project, there was something very instinctively positive that pushed me to take it up. And it has been one of the most fulfilling experiences. What I started to look for, I achieved with this project.

By heart, I mean that you have to passionate about what you are doing. I have rejected projects that don’t allow me to make an aesthetically unique statement under an integrated model.

To back up your intuition and passion, you need a string mind that gives you the confidence at a statistical level. The mind helps you to know the positive from the negative. It helps you in justice issues and empowers to say a NO when you must.

Have you been using social media marketing? How has it helped?

In fact we do none. I personally believe that Facebook has acted more to be a de-socialising mechanism. However, we are working on taking the business to the next level through social media. We should appear soon.

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

One needs to be introspective and have an inward thinking that will help in spiritual growth. The other is time management – it brings both focus and clarity.

Entrepreneurship is very scientific; it taught me a lot about life. My professor use to say, if you have to start, do it when you are young. There are not enough resources and you have to prove yourself much more. I guess I always liked it tough.


Famous Indian Women Leaders: Biocon’s Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Few women in India have achieved the roaring success and international fame of Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. Forbes listed her in 2009 on their 100 Most Powerful Women list for her truly inspirational flair, which combines business with passion and heart.

  • Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Biocon

    Early Life and Career:

Born in 1953, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (née Kiran Mazumdar) did her schooling at the Bishop Cotton Girls’ School and Mount Carmel College, Bangalore.

After an honours degree in Zoology from the University of Bangalore, Ms Mazumdar-Shaw went on to study Malting and Brewing Technology program at the University of Ballarat, Australia.

At the time, Ms Mazumdar-Shaw wanted to follow in the footsteps of her father, who was the chief brewmaster for United Breweries.

Upon her return from Australia, she worked as a trainee at United Breweries for four years, but found it extremely difficult to get a permanent foothold in the profession, with the industry predominantly male-oriented.

Around the time she began to feel that her prospects might be better abroad, Ms Mazumdar-Shaw met with Les Auchincloss, the founder of an Irish biotechnology company called Biocon.

Over the course of the meeting he proposed starting up Biocon in India with her – but she refused, with qualms over the fact that she had no entrepreneurial experience previously.

It was only when Auchincloss expressed that he would buy back the company if the business failed that she finally agreed and spent six months in training in Ireland. In 1978, now 25 years old, she returned to Bangalore.

  • The Early Days of Biocon:

Things didn’t start off rosy for Ms Mazumdar-Shaw. With just a starting investment of Rs. 10,000, she found little to almost no financial backing whatsoever. She had a lot going against her – she was young, she was a woman, she had no experience starting up companies before, and biotechnology was then still a vague and unknown concept in the country.

With just two employees, and operations running out of the garage of a rented house, business went on, and by 1983, the company sold blended enzymes to textile, brewing, and animal feed industries across the globe. A loan of $250,000 finally came through from ICICI bank in the mid-80s, with which Biocon was able to build a solid-state fermentation plant, contributing to the company’s research and development.

  • Success and Challenges:

In 1989, the Irish segment of Biocon was bought by Unilever. However, by the mid-90s, Ms Mazumdar-Shaw’s and Unilever’s visions for the company differed vastly. She wanted to venture into biopharmaceuticals, while Unilever preferred to stick to the old enzymes model.

With Unilever as the major stakeholder, the situation remained at an impasse until John Shaw, whom she married in 1998, used his savings to reclaim the entire stake from the corporation.

Venturing aggressively into the biopharmaceutical sector, Biocon steadily grew more and more successful, with revenue up to Rs. 500 crore by the time it went public in 2004. In 2007, Ms Mazumdar-Shaw sold the old enzymes division to a Danish company, thus making Biocon an exclusively biopharmaceutical corporation.

Today, her company consists of 36 key brands across the therapeutic divisions of diabetology, nephrology, cardiology, and even oncology.

  • Committed to Her Causes:

Business hasn’t been the only arena in which this inspirational woman has been successful in. When Forbes listed her in 2009, they noted how she is “passionate about providing affordable health care in India, [and] has funded the 1,400-bed Mazumdar-Shaw Cancer Centre, a cancer hospital in Bangalore where the poor are treated for free.”

Her company additionally is committed to several corporate social responsibility ventures, across health, education, infrastructure, and even flood relief. Seven free clinics across Karnataka serve at least 50,000 people each, and the clinics’ subsidised insurance programmes for the poor have benefited at least 250,000 individuals already.

  • Awards and Recognition:

Ms Mazumdar-Shaw has been felicitated the world over. The World Economic Forum recognised her as a “Technology Pioneer” in 2000; Ernst & Young named her Best Entrepreneur in the Field of Healthcare in 2002.

2004 saw her honoured with the Economic Times’ Businesswoman of the Year award, while a grateful Government of India awarded her with the Padma Bhushan (following up on her Padma Shri in 1989) for “pioneering work in industrial biotechnology.”

Numerous other accolades have come from such august corners such as TIME magazine and Rotary International.

  • Her Personal Life:

Ms Mazumdar-Shaw lives in Bangalore, with her husband John. Although her work schedule doesn’t allow much for recreation, when she does have time on her hands, she prefers spending it in playing golf, visiting art galleries, and in fitness regimes.

In a 2009 interview with Subroto Bagchi on Business.In.Com, she waxed philosophic, stating that her principles in life revolve around not making judgements without enough information at hand, and “listening to the little drummer in you” who wants you to “break free, become large, build something memorable.”

Ms Mazumdar-Shaw describes herself as a “people person”, who “deeply cares about friends.” With husband John diagnosed with cancer in the kidneys early in 2009, Ms Mazumdar-Shaw has reiterated her long-cherished dream of bringing a cure for cancer from India someday. A grand, inspiring dream indeed, from a woman herself so inspiring and accomplished.


• The Hindu, Metro Plus, April 27, 2010
Biocon: People / Biocon: History
• Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD, Biocon Ltd, ‘Biotech Is Not for Punters’, Outlook Money, July 15, 2004
• ‘Big Shot in Bangalore’,, October 18, 2004
• ‘Powerwoman Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw’, Subroto Bagchi, Business.In.Com
• ‘Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw’, Encyclopaedia Britannica


Photo source Wikipedia

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