Women have shattered stereotypes in many a field, with Information Technology being one of them. Even when the playing field is not even, they are not averse to levelling down the hurdles. Proving this right are women entrepreneurs who are part of start-up ventures incubated at Technopark Technology Business Incubator (T–TBI).
Of the 196 companies incubated at the T–TBI since its inception in 2006, 16 have had women as working partners or co-founders. 'In fact, in the recent past we have had more women entrepreneurs registering their start-ups with us,' says K.C. Chandrasekharan Nair, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Technopark, and secretary and registrar, T–TBI.
Most of the women entrepreneurs have joined hands with either their friends from school or college or with their spouses to launch their start-ups.
In the company of friends
While Pratheeksha A.K., Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Amidray Technologies co-founded the company with her friends from school, Rohit R.K. and Nithin Bose, Neetha P. Oommen, CFO of Webture Technologies Pvt Ltd, joined hands with her friends, Telly Sebastian, Rajiv Janardhanan and Sooraj Francis.
Deepa T. Padman, director and CEO of Zybro Labs Pvt Ltd, established the company with people she came to know through her husband. Niji Mathappan, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Alokin Software Pvt Ltd, left her job with an MNC in Technopark to join the company her husband, Rajeev Joseph Sebastian, began.
All of them have been motivated by the dream to start something on their own. Subhas Hariprasad, managing director of Aqlanza Infosystems Pvt. Ltd, says that the company was formed when she and her partners found that there was space to explore opportunities as entrepreneurs in IT space. 'And there is no other sector like IT where women get such a warm welcome as an entrepreneur,' she says.
Deepa, who has just registered her company with the T-TBI, stresses the fact that three out of four members in the director board are women (Evelyn Fernandez and Kavitha Babu Latha are the other two directors along with Abilash C.T.). 'It’s not that the IT field doesn’t encourage women. I find that not enough women have that fire in them to become entrepreneurs,' she says.
When the tough get going…
All said and done, the going isn’t easy. While Neetha feels that women are quite apprehensive about becoming a part of a company as they are afraid of failure and taking risks, Subhas feels that it is all in the mindset of society. 'In fact, men are expected to do business and women to take care of day to day expenses of the family,' she says.
They stress that being a woman is not a disadvantage when it comes to entrepreneurship. 'In fact, having at least one woman in a start-up team is surely an add-on because women have a lot of skills in terms of management, marketing, execution and stress management compared to men. Entrepreneurship is a journey in which the risks you take, your failures and successes are no different from that of your male counterparts,' says Pratheeksha. 'Entrepreneurship is the best career that women can choose because we are born managers,' she adds.
And once you become part of the TBI, it provides you support in the form of infrastructure, business and research assistance, funding and even international exposure, especially on international business events such as CeBIT Australia and CeBIT Germany.
'The challenges are many, you have to be constantly motivating the employees and have to balance work with family. But then advantages are many. I can come up with new ideas and the working style is flexible. So, obviously, entrepreneurship makes you more happy and contented,' Neetha says.