Entrepreneur Ajat Shatru, who has founded two women-oriented eco-friendly business ventures that have been having a deep impact on the society, especially the women in India…
Q: You are the man behind many successful women entrepreneurs who have been hitting the market with eco-friendly products. How did it all start?
Well, my first venture was GharSeNaukri.com and immediately after a year, I launched WomeninBusiness.in. Several life experiences have led me to shape the concept of GharSeNaukri. It all started long ago, some 13-14 years back, when my cousin sister was denied a chance to go out and work after her marriage. She was extremely well qualified and held a Master’s degree. The sad part was that this happened not in some remote village but in a metropolitan city like Bombay. I was very young at the time but this incident really shook me. I gave up my corporate job after gaining an experience of more than 15 years in varied industry domains and I started with GharSeNaukri.com. The objective is to provide jobs to women which they can do comfortably from home and earn. The other platform, WomenInBusiness.in, was introduced to help women to start their home business using their creative skills and talent. Today, both the platforms have created a name in the market and I feel good when I see so many skillful women coming up with their products. There are many who approach me directly, to guide them and to help them out. I usually try to give maximum support to those women who are registered members of our platforms.
Q: Woman in business is an extended initiative. Is GharSeNaukri.com the pioneer in promoting women initiatives to start off a business?
WomenInBusiness is a marketplace for women who want to start their own business. When we started GharSeNaukri every day we received approximately 100 calls from different parts of India. In at least 30-40 of those calls, women said they didn’t want a job; instead, they were looking for a platform to leverage their talents be it cooking, stitching, designing or counselling. Basically, they wanted to be stay-at-home entrepreneurs. This is how the idea of WomenInBusiness took shape. At present it has thousands of women entrepreneurs selling their products to the world.
Q: What were the challenges you faced on the way to where you have reached today?
The journey has not been easy. Generating initial engagement, convincing customers and companies of this huge potential workforce has been an uphill task. The major challenge among companies and MNCs is that their information is highly confidential and they are reluctant to outsource it. Also, there is the trust factor: they’re very doubtful if an employee working from home will do the job responsibly and within the time frame. The major barrier is the mindset among job providers. Big companies insist that employees need to be in the office for 8-10 hours in order to be productive. We started by approaching SMEs, and today we have big MNCs also who are taking our services.
Q: There are many hurdles that women face especially when it comes to business. How do you motivate them?
Finances and funding are the biggest issues for women to start with. So, they basically need an external source to promote their business. This is where womeninbusiness.in. Ours is a free registered platform. I urge home-based business women to join us for free. And for those who want an elaborate digital promotion of their home business, we charge a minimal amount of Rs 1000 for lifetime membership. But, in many cases, they don’t generally open up to invest something and they want immediate profits. WomenInBusiness is associated with lots of Banks and NBFCs and facilitate basic funding process for women entrepreneurs. The process is very simple and doesn’t require any collateral to get business loan after basic formalities.