Women entrepreneurs in India have established their presence significantly in the healthcare, research, technology, FMCG, apparel, AI, IoT, crypto and aviation industries. What makes their journey exemplary is the fact that most of them are first-generation entrepreneurs hailing from small-town middle-class families.
From being the ‘first woman Engineer’ in Punjab State Sugar Federation to successfully running her venture, Analytics Saves at Work (aSaw), the journey of Archna Wadhwa as a determined and innovative leader is worthy of all praise.
Archna initiated her managerial journey in the BFSI sector with GE Capital after completing her MBA from IIT, Kharagpur Vinod Gupta School of Management (IITKGP VGSOM). She recalls that this granted her an unexpected opportunity to pivot from Engineering to the Data Analytics industry. “Data Science in the early 21st century was in its nascent stage and was yet to find its stature of a lucrative consulting domain”, asserts Archna.
She served as Head of Analytics and Chief Data Officer for HSBC before setting up aSaw. These global roles gave her the confidence to build her enterprise while she received unconditional support from her mentors, peers, friends and family.
“Travel is a significant part of my life, and I usually end up in an Art Gallery or watching a play whenever I’m out of town. That’s my idea of a good life – Travel, Art, and Theatre – while working through it all.” quips Archna.
aSaw is a Business Solutions and AI Company offering SaaS products and services. Our proprietary platform leverages cutting-edge technologies and methodologies like Computer Vision, Cloud & DevOps, Deep Learning, Document Parsing, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Name-Entity Recognition (NER) Extraction and Sophisticated Search Amplifications.
We serve our clients across industries and support them in Data Science Projects, Business Consulting, Building Centre of Excellence, Product Development & Digital Transformation, Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD), Sales Lead Generation, and Database Management & Governance.
The ambit of our clientele includes Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI), Credit Rating Agencies, Gaming industry, Education and Fitness start-ups.
Our latest launch – HIREachy – is an AI-powered Talent Acquisition and Hiring Support Service which deploys our proprietary document parser (CoLander) for automating resume parsing & profile screening to fast-track recruitment for our clients.
Overcoming the roadblocks
Entrepreneurship is about fixing mistakes promptly as and when they do occur. While learning is imperative, unlearning is equally essential to make yourself flexible and adaptable.
In the initial years, finding traction for our products was challenging. Sometimes entrepreneurial proclivities can be anti-economical and beware those moments because the most important thing is to develop innovative solutions that clients are willing to pay for and not just something that you like.
Thus, aSaw has been pivoting its business model and continuously improving its products and service offerings to suit the emerging needs of Businesses.
How important it is to promote the term Women Entrepreneurship specifically?
For many years now, there has been debate, dialogue and discussion to promote women entrepreneurship in India, but little progress has been made so far and sheer optimism and political demagoguery can’t drive this agenda. The need of the hour is to have gender SOPs in taxation, operations financing, fund-raising, and affirmative action indexed tender contract disbursal to promote women-entrepreneurship.
The discourse on Gender GDP must find a louder echo at the World Economic Forum so that the cost of Gender bias becomes common knowledge. Women need to have a seat at the table everywhere whether it’s in the parliament or a board meeting.
I believe the term Women Entrepreneurship must be used as a reinforcer of gross Gender Inequity in Entrepreneurship.
How are you seeing the world change for women after this pandemic?
The first challenge is restoring the Socioeconomic status of women affected by the pandemic to its pre-pandemic levels. This will enable accurate accounting of losses by gender accrued due to the pandemic.
On a positive note, though, some post-pandemic changes have been beneficial for women. The proliferation of the gig economy in tandem with flexible work-setups for remote jobs have provided opportunities for part-time work to women who were earlier incapacitated to find paid employment due to the rigidity of corporate shift timings. Corporations nowadays are becoming increasingly amenable to the flexible work timings of remote jobs which bodes well for an enhanced inclusion of women in part-time gigs.
Another social transformation that has become apparent post the pandemic is the rebalancing of household gender duties, a welcome reprieve for working women.
We’re currently pivoting from being a SaaS-based products enterprise to a full-fledged Business Solutions and AI company offering B2B products and services to serve the emerging needs of post-pandemic global businesses.
In the coming months, we’re planning to open an office in the US while continuing to grow in Hong Kong and the UK. India will remain the innovation and development Centre for aSaw for the foreseeable future. We’re looking to sizably scale up our Business Development resources to push for a 60% YoY revenue growth.
Words of Wisdom
Get the basics right. Risk, when rationalized, is rewarding but if hyperbolized will annihilate your prospects.
Normalise your responses to mistakes. Learn quickly and move on so that you never get stuck with them for long.
Stop asking for advice from everybody. Sometimes the thing that’ll bring you down is ineffective advice. Know who to listen to. Entrepreneurship emblemizes courage and will. Let that drive of determination claim you. If going gets tough, hang in there till you find a way out. Allow it to take you to that pinnacle of passion from where forth will unravel your very own journey of starting a venture and becoming an entrepreneur. Good luck!