PRAYAAS 2011, Stepping Out of the Shadow….

Oct 20, 2011 | Posted by admin in Campus Corner, Events & Happenings   No Comments »

“ A woman’s aura is in her achievements, not in her beauty. We need to develop that aura “ What started with those words of great wisdom and encouragement by Mrs. Sunita Ramnathkar: a highly successful entrepreneur herself, at the inaugural session; really took off in the subsequent sessions of ‘Prayaas 2011 ‘.The group of women who had so nervously entered the portals of Welingkar Institute on the bright morning of Gandhi Jayanti were in for a lot of surprises during the three day workshop. While the following session conducted by Prof Kaustubh Dhargalkar ‘Five vital questions that every entrepreneur must ask’ made them stop in their tracks and do reality checks, the one by the inimitable Prof Dr Gondhalekar set them thinking about the Customer-centric approach to business. The first session saw them giving a serious thought to  Prof Kaustubh’s list of things that are needed for setting up of an enterprise with the detailed costing and the second saw them breaking  into laughter while listening to Dr G’s anecdotes about how to ‘attract’ a customer by providing him with what he needs that nobody else can provide. Although the day seemed to have ended on a happy note, the reality had begun to sink in, and self doubts began to surface again.

“Am I doing the right thing by coming for this training? How could I even think that I, a housewife of so many years, could set up a business now? ” worried  Vandana Thorat .Vandana, a simple, shy home maker from Chembur had studied till BA, but had to forego her personal aspirations for marriage, family and the responsibilities that came with it. But here she found Sudha, Smita, Swati and many others from the ‘Kasturimrig’ group sailing in the same boat. Most of the women in the group were educated, some like Ritika, Geetanjali had some corporate experience and some like Samidha, Pratibha , Lydia and Gracy owned  small businesses that they had an urge to expand.  The road to setting up a business was going to be tough ,they thought and where were they going to get the know-how and those huge amounts of money, the much required ‘vitamin M’ for setting up their dream businesses? This dilemma was resolved on the next day, where Prof Sapna Mallya dispelled all their doubts by explaining the different and simple ways of generating funds for investments and also gave them valuable tips on controlling expenses by proper accounting practices. While this session restored confidence levels, the session by Prof Bhattacharya and Mr Rajappa, AGM- SME Loans factory-BOB strengthened and took their morale to the next level. However, there was more to come ! Aditi Vaze, Monica Beecham; ex-students of FMB course walked in to share their experiences in businesses that were started by their father-in-law and father respectively. While Aditi, a mother of two children also a clinical psychologist by career, had to give up her chosen path and join hands with her husband who was trying to manage the business single handedly after a split in the joint family; Monica who had always worked in the office during college vacations had to take over the mantle of running the talc business when her father suffered a sudden stroke. While the Prayaas women listened to these stories in rapt attention, in walked Neha Karnani who had quite another story of entrepreneurial adventure to share.  What was fast being accepted and assimilated that the concepts and ideas shared by all the learned professors in the earlier sessions were for real and these young women on the Dias were a living proof of the same. While it was clear that the path ahead was not going to be easy, it was also beginning to sink in that every woman has the potential to be an entrepreneur; one needs foresight, grit, determination, integrity and hard work to succeed in business.

The third day brought none other than Dr Snehalata Deshmukh, the erstwhile Dean –LTMG Hospital and VC of University of Mumbai whose address was truly inspiring. While Dr Deshmukh not only fired their imagination by giving them a boost of confidence but also gave them valuable advice on how to maintain good health and fitness through thick and thin. Her scholarly speech filled with so many kind words of advice interspersed with carefully chosen Sanskrit ‘shlokas’, Marathi and Urdu couplets ,idioms and phrases  was indeed a treat to hear and a manifestation of her genuine concern and care for the Prayaas participants. After this invigorating session, the sessions with Prof Deepa Dixit and Prof Dhargalkar on Business Plan went down really well.

Prayaas 2011 is a long term venture of WeSchool to awaken the spirit and encourage the women to be successful entrepreneurs .They have taken the first few hesitant steps where WeSchool came forward to give them a hand and hopefully with the mentoring plan in place they will soon step out of the shadows and be on their own as successful entrepreneurs.

With this newly founded confidence, they will be holding an exhibition-cum-sale of various products like Decorative and Aromatic Candles, Ganesh Murtis, Purses, Gift Items, Chocolates, Greeting Cards, Artificial Jewellery etc in Space bar on October 21, 2011 from 10.00-8.00pm.


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