write to Zuv Foundation at care@zuv.foundation
On Women Entrepreneurship at GirlUp Urja

On November 6, 2020, Girlup Urja conducted an interactive webinar with Mr Nilay Jayswal, the co-founder of the Zuv Foundation and a TEDx speaker. The webinar began with the host introducing Mr Nilay as a successful entrepreneur, a TEDx speaker, and a Padma Shri nominee. However, Mr Nilay, with a warm smile and a humble attitude, said that apart from all of this and before all of this, he is a student just like all the others present in the session.

He is from IIM with an engineering background, and now he is one of the senior entrepreneurs. Then he said that if anyone has a belief and they want to take up entrepreneurship as a social responsibility, then they should go for it and work for it. He also gave everyone a gist of entrepreneurship being categorised as corporate entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship, and his current venture, the Zuv Foundation, is a classic example of social enterprise.

Getting on to the main topic, Mr Nilay asked the participants about the women entrepreneurs they know, and their responses were certainly delightful. He claimed that Kalpana Saroj, the original slumdog millionaire, was the first female entrepreneur. She took Kamani Tubes to a different level of success and brought a revolution by being the first female entrepreneur. In a country like India, where women constitute 48% of the population, only 25% of women are found to be employed.

According to the statistics based on Google searches, various organisations led by women do not receive ample funding, and this highlights the need for a change in mindset. The promotion of female entrepreneurship is important as there is a huge gap between the participation of men and women in entrepreneurship.

Apart from this, there are numerous advantages, in addition to female entrepreneurship:

The first is “Economic Growth”. According to a study by Goldman Sachs, "If women are made independent, then two generations can benefit at the same time, as women tend to spend more on the well-being and education of their children."

The second is to “Decrease the Huge Gap between the Genders”, especially in participation in the workplace. The participation of women in the workplace is very low and if that can be prevented, there could be an approximate increase of 20% by 2030 in global income per person. According to McKinsey, "Minimizing the gender gap in the labour force holds the potential to add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025”. All these statistics signify the need for corporate houses to hire more women, and this would also help to boost the nation's economy.

The third factor is female entrepreneurship, which would also provide a larger "Push for Social Change". The goal of tremendous social change can only be achieved by empowering women financially. The more the participation of women in the workplace would be, the more it would affect women's self-esteem and self-confidence. Fourth is “Safety in the Workplace”. There are various rules and laws to protect and safeguard the security of women in the workplace, but often in a male-dominated environment, the approach to these laws is observed to be lacklustre. With an increase in women's participation, the unanimous resolution to promote the safety of women in the workplace can be efficiently safeguarded.

Now the most important concern has been addressed: How to start?

Mr Nilay addressed the question very creatively and in a way that entered the souls of all the participants. He began with six simple points required for being an entrepreneur. The best part was the link he developed between each point and a movie or a web series, as there’s hardly anyone who isn’t a cinephile.

The first point was "The Art of Management," which he linked to the world-famous web series "The Office." The Office clearly shows its viewers how necessary it is to manage all the members and make them work as a team. Any business can only be successful if all the employees work together as one team with one vision. Entrepreneurs must have the ability to manage efficiently. This will help them motivate and encourage the freeloaders, and then productivity is sure to increase.

The second is to "Plan, Plan, and Plan". He links this point to the famous Spanish web series "Money Heist." The plot of Money Heist revolves around a Professor and a bunch of students who lead a gigantic plan to plunder the ginormous bank, and they succeed in it (not exactly the mission we are carrying forward). The Professor is the wisest man in the group, and he has a counter-plan or a backup plan for any of the probable causes. He had backup plans for the backup plans, and that was his key to success, and backup plans are necessary for the success of any enterprise too. Entrepreneurs must have macro-scale plans behind their ideas to put them up and thrive through the worst case possible.

The third point is "Giving Priority to Customers." There are mainly two approaches to business. First, employees are customers, and second, the customer is God. It's always better and advisable to go with the second one. To make a business successful, the entrepreneur must take the advice, feedback, or suggestions of the customer and work on them. A link between this point and the movie “Rocket Singh” was quoted here. Rocket Singh was the best salesman only because he understood and valued his customers.

The fourth point is to “Learn from the Past and Study People”. It is very important to learn from past mistakes or experiences and to possess knowledge of people. An example from the “Wolf of Wall Street” was quoted here to illustrate that it is necessary to realise the mistakes and work on them to be better every single day.

The fifth point is that "Entrepreneurs must Preach their Work as their Religion". An example from the movie "Raees" was quoted here, highlighting that the protagonist Raees worshipped his illegal work, i.e., supply of illegal drugs and other coordinates. Only by preaching one's work can one demonstrate the utmost dedication and perseverance towards it.

The last point was a beautiful and heartfelt one, i.e., "Always Share your Story," and an example from the "Guru" movie was quoted here. At the end of the day, people must share their experiences and their mistakes with someone just like Gurukant Desai, who shared everything and found solace in the compassion of his wife.

After this, Mr Nilay pointed out the requirement for funds or investments as the most basic need of any venture. He addressed the question of whom to approach with four different sources:

The first is “Reaching out to the Entrepreneur Support Program”. These programmes are focused on empowering enterprises in various ways, and they help the entrepreneurs gain control over the different branches associated with their business. He quoted an example of an initiative of the Zuv Foundation, i.e., Zuv Support Projects, under which they help various start-ups in designing and availing a digital infrastructure, providing them with the required frameworks related to legal procedures, help in raising funds, and so on.

The second source is “Reaching out to Government-Aided Incubators”. There are various schemes run by the government to encourage entrepreneurs. These incubation plans are similar to the E-cells running in various colleges, like the FIIT in IIT, Delhi, and IIB in IIM, etc.

The third is “Seeking Angel Investors”. These angel investors are millionaires or billionaires who are interested in investing in start-ups rather than shares or mutual funds.

The fourth one is "Crowd Funding". Crowdfunding is seeking donations. Under this, entrepreneurs can reach out to people and encourage them to donate to help society overcome an obstacle. NGOs mostly run on crowd-funding.

This was followed by a very basic question from Mr Nilay in which he asked the participants what the core of the business is. The answer to this is "networking", or what we call "marketing". Networking is essential for any business, be it networking with investors or consumers, or networking via campaigns or products. He also mentioned the traditional method of marketing, which involved person-to-person marketing, and present-day marketing, which involves Pseudo-marketing, or Sensory marketing. In this, products market themselves, and the add-ons on the social media handles prove to be beneficial for the firm.

With this, Mr Nilay invited questions and doubts from the participants and gave them glimpses of rural entrepreneurship, MVP, Udyog Aadhar, Pilot Test, Pitch Deck, etc., as a part of their solutions. This was followed by an appreciation of Mr Nilay by Ms Jahanvi Yadav, a member of GirlUp Urja, who also mentioned the motive of the organisation, i.e., "Even if they can make one person aware, the motive is fulfilled." Such a sagacious session by Mr Nilay was surely able to inspire, educate, and make many aware.