Navratri Insights: Women Entrepreneurs Share Their Inspirational Journeys and Industry Challenges

Navratri Insights: Women Entrepreneurs Share Their Inspirational Journeys and Industry Challenges
Navratri Shailaputri Story - Dr Malini Saba, Shreedha Singh, Akanksha Sharma, Shreya Ghodawat

In the radiant glow of Navratri, a time when we celebrate the divine feminine energy, we find inspiration in the stories of strength, resilience, and wisdom that the nine goddesses embody. As we celebrate Navratri, let us also celebrate the empowered women entrepreneurs who, like Shailaputri, the embodiment of purity and auspiciousness, have fearlessly embarked on their business journeys.

Shailaputri, one of the nine forms of Maa Durga, is worshipped on the first day of Navratri and sets the stage for our journey into the captivating stories of women entrepreneurs. She embodies the spirit of new beginnings, representing the idea of setting out with pure intentions and the promise of successful ventures.

Inspired by Shailaputri's qualities, we at StartupTalky asked these visionary women to share what inspired them to start their businesses and the initial challenges they faced in their industries.

So, join us on this inspiring journey, where we celebrate not just the goddess but also the amazing women among us. They've used their strength and determination to create a path of success and empowerment. Let's dive into their stories, learn from their experiences, and be inspired by their remarkable journeys.

Dr. Malini Saba, Self-Made Businesswoman, Philanthropist, and Global Advocate for Women and Girls

I was inspired by Shailaputri's spirit of purity and auspiciousness to break down barriers and show that women can succeed in fields that have historically been dominated by men.

My lifelong commitment to help those in need drove me to pursue a career in the medical field at first. But as my life progressed, I came to see the significance of creating something that might effectively serve my goal of helping one billion people worldwide, particularly underprivileged women and girls.

Since only a few saw my talent in the beginning, it was like climbing mountains. Skepticism predominated, with critics wondering how a psychologist could succeed in the business world. I embraced these ambiguities, drawing on my knowledge of human nature that I had gathered from my studies. This knowledge served as the cornerstone for my business, which I developed with the goal of uplifting the underprivileged. It was a journey where my unwavering passion and faith in my mission kept me moving forward.

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Akanksha Sharma, Co-founder and CEO, CITTA

Drawing inspiration from Shailaputri, the embodiment of purity and auspiciousness, the first form of Goddess Durga celebrated during Navratri, I embarked on this exquisite journey of CITTA with my mother and brother. Our motivation stemmed from our time-tested Indian skincare tradition, passed down through generations. We wanted every child to experience the love of their grandmother through CITTA and its truly Indian formulations. We saw a prominent baby care brand engulfed in controversy due to harsh chemicals in its products, reaffirming our commitment to providing only the best for our precious little ones.

Being a young woman, I faced skepticism about managing it all in a competitive industry dominated by big players. Much like Shailaputri's journey across tumultuous seas, we had to establish trust and source only the finest, purest ingredients. Like the goddess overcoming adversity, CITTA thrived, offering the most luxurious, safe, and divine baby skincare experience.

Shreya Sharma, Founder and CEO, Rest The Case

I always went to work with my parents when I was in school and it interested me to see how they would passionately solve problems, I saw them working hard on a business they were growing from the ground up. That inspired me to do something of my own. I've always had the zeal to be an entrepreneur myself. Something that will make a difference, something I will be proud of.

When I was in the UK pursuing law, it helped me gain perspective on how Law in our country can be made more accessible. There were not a lot of options to be able to find legal help online in India and I wanted to make sure that a basic right such as legal help was available. Being a lawyer, I've witnessed how troublesome getting legal help could be in India. Today we strive to make the law accessible to everyone, one day at a time! That’s where the Rest The Case’s roots come from.

I think one of the major hurdles when I just started off was that a lot people thought that I was young and wouldn’t trust what I created that easily, but I continued to show them what I had created and why I had created it. I think when I could actually show people what Rest The Case was creating they trusted us more.

Shreya Ghodawat, India Ambassador, SHE Changes Climate | CEO, Sustainable Guides

Like Shailaputri, my intentions were pure. What inspired me to start my business was the need for a space that empowers mindful consumers, rooted in my love for nature, our environment, and our planet. I wanted to create a platform where people could begin and continue their sustainability journey guiltlessly.

The initial challenges included building a user base and securing funding, which required perseverance, a clear vision, and a passion for sustainability. Bridging the gap between consumer awareness and consumer willingness was a big one too.

Hema Bansal Ahlawat, Co-Founder and Joint Managing Partner, HJA & Associates LLP

Goddess Shailaputri's purity and auspiciousness have profoundly influenced my entrepreneurial journey. Her unwavering dedication inspired me to enter the legal profession, driven by a fervent commitment to justice and righteousness. In the early days, the legal industry resembled the rocky path that Shailaputri treads. Maneuvering through intricate regulations, building a clientele, and establishing credibility presented formidable obstacles.

Just as the goddess overcame her challenges, I too persisted, refining my skills and surmounting each hurdle while always striving for integrity and fairness. Today, my law practice stands as a testament to the enduring power of purity and devotion, reminiscent of Goddess Shailaputri's unwavering spirit.

Shreedha Singh, CEO and Co-Founder, The Ayurveda Co.

My personal battle with severe skin conditions like Hives and Urticaria was a trying time filled with physical discomfort and emotional distress. Despite consulting numerous dermatologists and trying various medicines, relief eluded me. 

It was amid this struggle that I discovered the miraculous healing potential of Ayurveda. Within just three months of Ayurvedic treatment, my condition was not just alleviated; it was completely cured. The profound impact of this experience led to the foundation of T.A.C- The Ayurveda Company. 

Our vision was to create a brand that would cater to the younger generation, who believes in the effectiveness of Ayurveda but find it either expensive or slow in delivering results. We aimed to break the perception that Ayurveda was slow or had side effects and make it the preferred choice for holistic wellness. 

Our journey was not without its challenges. My humble background and financial struggles meant that we had to make every rupee count. We invested our savings into building the brand, and during the initial phases, we faced numerous financial hurdles. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a dip in sales, but it also taught us valuable lessons in resilience and adaptability. We embraced the setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow.

Naina Ruhail, Founder and Co-CEO, Vanity Wagon

I started my brand with a pure vision for enhancing beauty the natural and safe way. The initial challenges were quite daunting with a multitude of facets to it, but the dedication to authenticity and immense belief in our goal has guided me through those challenges.

In a world of toxic chemical-laden beauty products, finding a clean beauty product becomes a challenging task. That’s when I decided to resolve this problem by making the skimming process easier for people. I've stayed true to our mission and maintained integrity in business practices to form the foundation for lasting success. There is still a long way to go, but each challenge only strengthens my commitment to our vision.

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Divanshi Gupta, Director, The Marcom Avenue

My journey in the marketing industry began with a deep-seated belief in the power of marketing to drive business success. In 2016, I founded The Marcom Avenue with a clear mission: to provide businesses with more than just marketing services. We aimed to help them achieve growth and make a real impact.

Since our inception, The Marcom Avenue has grown significantly, working with over 300 clients across 27+ industries. Our commitment to delivering results-driven marketing strategies has been the cornerstone of our success. 

As we evolved, we expanded our services into various avenues within the marketing landscape, including Film Production House (WOAH Films), Experiential, Tech, Ads, PR, and Growth. This expansion allows us to offer integrated marketing support to our clients, addressing a wide range of challenges and opportunities.

My inspiration was driven by a deep sense of purpose, akin to Shailaputri's purity and auspiciousness. We faced initial challenges in building trust with clients and competing in a fierce market. However, by staying true to our values, delivering exceptional results, and fostering innovation, we have overcome these obstacles and continue to thrive.

Smitha Jacob, Co-founder, Jolger Activewear, Founder Director, Saggian Ventures

Our inspiration for our business was to create something extraordinary by making consumers our priority, purpose, and persuasion for Jolger as a brand. We wanted to give our customers the best of both worlds, an experience that would leave them highly content with their purchases by enabling them to spend less on products that would last long. We initially faced challenges due to the significant market share held by the Indian apparel industry, making it a formidable niche to break into. However, with our persistence, we introduced products that were the pinnacle of design quality, fabric, and stitches.

Preety Singh, Co-founder and Managing Director, Boomlet Group

Like the purity and auspiciousness of Shailaputri, my inspiration to start a business stems from a deep sense of purpose and a strong desire to create something meaningful. I firmly believe that realizing one's capabilities and staying determined can help overcome any challenge that comes with time. Building a business from the ground up is akin to harnessing one's inner purity and potential to achieve remarkable outcomes.

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