A start-up in a town in Madurai district in Tamil Nadu could not secure funds from investors as they raised questions on whether the young women working there would continue after marriage or not, and with the same passion. These were among the of many issues raised in the session for celebrating stories of women entrepreneurs at the Start-up India on Saturday. Pranshu Patni, co-founder, Culture Alley, said things (related to raising funds) have changed dramatically over the years. “The product speaks for itself and women should stop questioning their capabilities and undermining themselves.” CultureAlley runs an educational application named English-App that helps people learn English (and other languages) in an interactive and contextual manner.
According to reports, the idea behind CultureAlley came to NIshant Patni, Pranshu’s husband, when he was struggling to learn Mandarin to survive as a vegetarian in China. In the audience was Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman, listening to issues faced by the women in launching start-ups. However, there was a consensus among panelists – all women entrepreneurs – that government should help them in getting more clarity on the environment and infrastructure and, at times, handhold them. Sairee Chahal, founder Sheroes, said social media has come as a boon for the start-up industry with its wide reach. “Online world is your (start-up industry) best friend,” she said, talking about how marketing could be done at a minimal cost yet reach a large number of audiences. Sheroes is a start-up that helps women search for career opportunities including part-time jobs and work from home options. “Women need to be on all panels, not just women entrepreneur panels”, said Shanti Mohan, founder, Letsventurein, which connects start-ups and investors on the same platform.