Ms Monisha Hajra, founder, ScientiaBio
Seven eventful years has passed since I started the journey of entrepreneurship in my twenties. I was honestly happy to consider myself as a young entrepreneur . I am thankful for the equal treatment from my male co-founders of my previous business, so much so that the term "women entrepreneur " never came to my mind. There was neither great advantage nor disadvantage of being woman. It might be because of the fact that in the life science industry, presence of women in very senior to management level comparatively higher than other industries.
Gender disparity in entrepreneurship
In 2009, when I was selected for Goldman Sachs sponsored ISB, Hyderabad course on Women Entrepreneurship, I got the great opportunity to interact with 28 fellow women entrepreneurs for 3 months from various fields. I realized gender disparity impacted a couple of my fellow entrepreneur batch mates business immensely. There is section of people who love to believe women are not great professionals, they can possibly run non - technology business, but technology business is not their forte. Though we have enough examples from Banking to Biotech to Education to Healthcare, going on to prove that this thought is only a myth.
Unfortunately, most investors also feel comfortable in investing if there is significant male ratio in the board. I personally would like to highlight the fact that, gender disparity, glass celling etc are kind of a personal mental block. It's not between man vs woman, the struggle should be from within. Keep the best performing entrepreneur of your field as reference point. His/her gender is not important, important is to observe how that person is achieving the success. Our approach to strategy, our strategy to negotiate, our negotiation skill to close the deal is important, NOT gender.
Work life balance
Woman love to believe they are better at multi-tasking. Are they or it's really a myth? Is it really possible to be best CEO and best mother/wife/daughter? Heard from couple of senior woman entrepreneur friend on their daily routine. They get up early in the morning, make the kids ready for school,prepare breakfast and then get ready to reach office on time. And on the same duration, her husband tossing around the newspaper with two cups of tea. Though most of these fellow mates are one generation older than me, I do see slight shift in my generation.
It's important to realize that a day consist of only 24 hrs, within this time frame one can't get the crown of best Entrepreneur as well as best wife/mother/daughter. Stop believing the myth that we are super women. If you have turned into entrepreneur, then it's understood you have great passion for your work. So, it's okay if your kid complain that you are not as good as some of their friend's mother or your husband says how his mother tirelessly worked at home and office. Teach your kid to be self sufficient from childhood, make your spouse realize much like government, participatory democracy is best for household work too. It's important to be little selfish for your health, for your business health and long term family health.
Growth/ challenges faced by women entrepreneurs
For an entrepreneur, every day brings new challenge. Some of the challenges forces the founders to rethink the strategy. Most of the women entrepreneurs including myself are very passionate about our business potential. But in every 6 months to 1 year, we need to revisit on our business potential. Always keep a tap on competition, global market requirements in your area work, overall financial health of your industry. To keep the growth curve on the rising side, it's important to add/delete/modify some existing services/products time to time. Learn to tide over the economic cycles. It's good to be in love with your business offerings but don't be over-possessive about it.