Do Collaborative Workplaces provide a strong support system for women entrepreneurs and founders to thrive?
This Women’s Day, three fearless women entrepreneurs and lady bosses running businesses from WeWork share their journey and challenges to the road of success
Below is a list of women entrepreneurs opening up about their endeavours and working out of WeWork;
- Dr. Aarti Patil – Gynoveda
Dr Aarti Patil, an active member at WeWork Spectrum Tower, along with her partners Rachana Gupta and Vishal Gupta, founded Gynoveda in 2017, a health tech startup inspired by the noble cause of helping millions of women with the most basic problems they face in their lives month on month – Periods. Together, they have created a ‘period bot’ which has effectively integrated ayurveda with technology to help women self-diagnose their menstrual issues which are the most common affliction amongst women hampering their health and productivity. This is particularly useful in a country like India where most women do not have access to gynecologists due to lack of education, knowledge, social stigma and fear of judgement. In the era of Digital India, Gynoveda is positively utilizing growing access to fast internet to make other women’s lives easier and more importantly, safer.
She joined WeWork as a member to get a private office for her team. Through the collaborative space, she got access to several opportunities to connect with the right people. Working out of a co-working space meant she got a push in the right direction by other entrepreneurs, especially other ladies, who are constantly encouraging innovation.
- Priya Prakash – HealthSetGo
Priya Prakash moved to WeWork Spectrum Towers with her three-year-old organization start-up, HealthSetGo with the vision to make every child in India healthy. Since its inception, HealthSetGo has catered to over 2 lakh children across India, is not only responsible for India’s first standardized school health programme which has been adopted across 250 schools, but the brand has also partnered with the Andhra Pradesh government to inculcate healthy habits in the smart city of Tirupati. HealthSetGo is an initiative that was inspired by Priya’s own struggles with health and a long journey of learning to deal with them better.
From her own experience, she knew that it is difficult for a women founder to run managing both business and employee engagement. Hence, she decided to move to a collaborative workspace which provides various opportunities for employees to engage in out of work activities. The various opportunities of interaction with other members and community teams also helped her in a big way when she was nominated for a global prize where she required their support. Hundreds of WeWork members rallied to support her, which led to her winning the award.
- Yeshoda Karuturi and Rhea Karuturi – Rose Bazaar
Yeshoda and Rhea are sisters from Bangalore who after spending their childhood surrounded by flowers because of their family business, started Rose Bazaar a year ago. Rose Bazaar is more than a subscription-based flower delivery service. It is a startup that is empowering other women and is introducing flower farmers to the formal economy. While the 25 member team caters to the flower needs of customers and provides doorstep delivery in Bangalore and Pune, it’s their puja flowers that are most in-demand, ensuring an interactive user base and employment for women from underprivileged backgrounds where they source from. Throughout their journey and even after a year of being in action, they continue to have to defend their choice of rejecting a conventional setup and their aim to help the disadvantaged.
Choosing to work out of a collaborative workspace has provided them with opportunities to portray their work in the best manner through regular pop-ups that help their partners to showcase their talent and skill as well. Due to WeWork’s special focus on building and maintaining community relationships, Yeshoda, Rhea and the team have had opportunities to host multiple workshops in WeWork spaces as well.
- Jennifer Steeves – Acclimatise
Jennifer moved to India four and a half years ago to set up a base in South Asia for the UK based company Acclimatise which has a mission and vision to make the world more resilient to climate change. She is working with her partners – Anu Jogesh and Uma Pal – and a strong team of 27 people globally, out of which 75% are women. Acclimatise has a unique business model where they offer customized solutions to multinational corporations, financial institutions and government bodies around the world. These solutions range from advisory services and analytical tools to help prepare their clients to take action and respond to the climate crisis.
Embarking on this journey in India and establishing a branch office has brought Jennifer face to face with bureaucratic and logistical challenges typically associated with small businesses but Acclimatise’s activities and team have continued to grow especially with the help of WeWork. After struggling for 2 years to find the right workspace, Jennifer and Anu moved to WeWork in 2018 which has helped them maintain team cohesion and overcome the challenge of finding a professional and comfortable space. WeWork has helped them network and connect with like-minded people, as well as facilitated the growth of their team.