Women in Kerala are more privileged than in any other state of our country. This state boasts of 92.07% female literacy, higher sex ratio of 1084 females for 1000 males, whilst ranking low on child marriages, infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate. However even with these positive attributes only 11.3% of women choose entrepreneurship as their career. Though the government of Kerala has initiated various schemes to empower women entrepreneurs, unwanted fear, risk, lack of motivation and support from family are some of the reasons which averts women from taking off the entrepreneurial journey.
Being an entrepreneur is no cake walk and there are some women who have taken the plunge and attained the pinnacle of success. Also entrepreneurship is not always about money, business or investments. Entrepreneurship is about taking risks and challenges to do something different, something incredible which empowers yourself and others around you. On this women’s day Kerala Insider brings out to you five women from different walks of life who have taken the decision to tread this path.
Sheila Kochouseph Chittilapally, Managing Director, V-Star – One of the most well-known woman entrepreneur from Kerala, her company V star is now a 75 crore business. Her efforts has made V star one of the leading lingerie brand in Kerala with its presence in the Middle East as well. The business also contributes by giving employment to around 180 people with 2000 tailors who are mostly women from rural background.
There is no short cut to become successful in your life. You will have to toil hard to set up a business enterprise. Hard work and consistency can only take you to heights.
Beena Kannan CEO, Seematti – Seematti is a well know name among saree lovers and so is Beena Kannan. Her dedication and hard work has tangibly grown her brand from a small saree shop to the one of the most sought after saree retailers of Kerala. With stores opening across the state, Beena Kannan who is a saree designer herself says she is on her toes to excel as a designer as well as an entrepreneur.
Greatest obstacle is a misnomer. It depends on one’s perception. Since we are in this field since 1910, our obstacles are different from those who began 10 years ago, yet another challenge is reading the pulse of the market every year.
Harsha Thachery, Founder and CEO Masalabox – Necessity is the mother of invention which is true for Harsha Thachery. During her maternity leave, she began to explore healthy and preservative free food options when she found out that there were numerous home chefs mostly women who catered these healthy home cooked food. Seeing the potential she soon launched her e platform masalabox with 100 home chefs delivering fresh, healthy and preservative free meals on pre booking system. Masalabox is now there in Kochi and Bangalore with major expansion plans in the pipeline.
Being a woman entrepreneur, I was not greeted with sexist notions, but there actually were nice, helpful people out there ready to nurture and encourage every step of the way.
Poornima Sreelal – Founder and CEO Jobveno.com – Poornima Sreelal and her job portal Jobveno.com is a social innovation which helps laymen search and apply for jobs even without a resume. The portal is a boon for blue collar job seekers, housewives and students and this differentiates the platform from other job portals. Based in Cochin, Poornima reiterates that her job portal eliminates the resume centric job search approach and solves this gap in the employment industry. Recipient of many awards Poornima aims to spread her portal services across the country.
The only thing in life which is unique is time, because you can recall everything but not time. I believe that 24 hours in a day is your investment in life. The choice is up to you to plan it wisely. Everyone in this world have the same investment of time. Some people create miracles out of it.
Sally Varma, Program Manager, Street Dog Welfare at Humane Society International – Sally Varma is an entrepreneur with a difference. Her passion and love for animals made her pursue a career in “catching dogs” to journalism. Yes it is true. She catches dogs, sterilizes them and then releases them back to the streets. Sally says it may sound simple but is actually an arduous task as most dogs would be in bad condition prolonging the treatment time. However Sally is no way deterred by the challenges which was evident during the recent Kerala floods. Her zest and zeal towards executing her passion saved many animals from being washed away. For her efforts she has been bestowed the honorary welfare officer certificate from the Animal Welfare Board and Indian President’s medal for being one among 100 selected women who render exemplary service to the country.
Probably, I am the only woman in Kerala to engage in this occupation. So most often I am teased for what I do.
Hope these women and their achievements will inspire and motivate other women who are on the verge of taking the plunge and chasing their dreams. Happy International Women’s Day- 2019!