‘Woman power in entrepreneurship’ on display at Jaipuria Noida

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It is often said that behind every successful man is a woman. Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida invited three women entrepreneurs as speakers, to figure out who it is that stands behind successful women. The three ladies – renowned Art Promoter and Founder of Ati Art Gallery, Ms. Poonam Sarin; Ms. Anu Lall, Founder and Director of Snartak IT Solutions; and Ms. Runjhun Gupta, the young Founder of ‘Dance Addiction’ and ‘Zipout’ – recited their inspiring stories to the management students of Jaipuria Noida, driving home the message that there are no obstacles to a willing mind.

One common factor that linked the three amazing women was the fact that they turned their passion into their business. Ms. Poonam Sarin spoke about the story of her life and how she cultivated her interest in painting after getting married to a commercial pilot at the young age of 19.

“The advantage, of course, was that I got to see and appreciate various art and cultural centres of the world, including the Louvre at Paris,” recollected Ms. Sarin for the benefit of her audience at Jaipuria Noida. “I started out as a consultant with an art agency in Delhi about 18 years back, before starting out on my own.”

Ms. Runjhun Gupta, just 28 years of age, with an Executive MBA in Finance from IIM Kolkata, has always been a passionate dancer. Today, her firm links up with numerous corporate houses for centrally organised dance classes.

“Having been a part of the corporate world for more than 5 years, I understood that dancing could be a fantastic stress-buster for all kinds of professionals as it had been for me,” recalled Runjhun Gupta in front of the youngsters of Jaipuria Noida. “It was with this conviction that in 2009 I decided to start ‘Dance Addiction’ and ‘Zipout’ a little later.”

The lectures were followed by an intense Q-&A session, where the bulk of the questions came from the women student managers of Jaipuria Noida. Here are some excerpts:

Kirti (PGDM – Marketing) – What were the difficulties that you faced during your career and how did you tackle them?

Ms. Anu Lall – On the business front, the biggest challenge in India is delayed payments on account of procedural delays, documentation, etc. This is a way of business in India and significantly raises transaction costs; and one never accounts for it. Also, Banks reject home loans and credit cards seeing the ‘self employed’ tag. On the social front, it is a lot about tackling perceptions. Even prospective boyfriends/ husbands think you would be headstrong and aggressive, even before you’ve met them, just because you are running a company.

Eshita (PGDM – SM) – How do you feel at this stage of your life, being a successful entrepreneur?

Ms. Poonam Sarin – Frankly speaking, I never planned on having my own art gallery. The options opened up as I went along. I realised that young artists are simple, trustworthy and sensitive people, and providing them with the space and opportunity to express themselves gave me immense satisfaction. Making money was by chance; my objective was to promote these immensely talented artists and get them the respect due to their art.

Dhananjay (PGDM – General) – How can people with financial difficulties become entrepreneurs?

Ms. Runjhun Gupta – It is not money that makes great businesses… it is the idea. I loved dancing; I simply created a business model that hardly needed any investment. I tapped my corporate contacts and they knew that Salsa classes with me would be a great stress-buster for their employees, leading to performance enhancement and happier lives.

Aashi Gupta (PGDM – General) – Since a lot of families in India still do not allow their women to go out of home and work, what is the approach that you recommend for them if they want to become entrepreneurs?

Ms. Poonam Sarin – Initially, my husband was not very comfortable with me working. It took me some time to convince him; it was a matter of personal fulfillment… carrying forward the passion of making people understand and see the beauty in art. Time and age matures the family as well as the husband. I started working from my house selling paintings for Rs. 500 . Today I sell paintings worth Rs. 5 Lakh.

The guest lecturers were followed by a poster-making competition on the theme of ‘Creative Business Ideas’, organised by the E-Cell of Jaipuria Noida. It was the ideal conclusion to a day dedicated to entrepreneurship at Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida.