Saturday, February 23, 2019

small business ideas for women

small business ideas for women


IIM-backed social entrepreneur says 'no-to-plastic-bags' - Daily Pioneer

Posted: 22 Feb 2019 10:43 AM PST

Government and society facing tough times against unending use of polythene bags have got a companion. Dr. Sunita Chandak Chitlangia, a social entrepreneur, a researcher and a professor at Nirmala College, Ranchi has come up with a noble venture – Eco Saviour that can give way to the environmental menace once and for all.

According to Chitlangia, 'Eco – Saviour', which offers environmental friendly 100 per cent compostable products like carry bags, shopping bags, garbage bin lining, and bio-medical waste bags for the home and for commercial usage are compostable carry bags and are helpful alternative of replacing single use plastic carry bags as it has the ability of 'Self Disintegration' into soil within 180 days.

Interestingly, 'Eco-Saviour' venture has found a place in the top 100 business ideas list of the Women Startup Programme (WSP) – 2018, organised at the Indian Institute of Management – Bengaluru (IIM-B). Notably, Chitlangia is the only female contestant from Jharkhand to be part of this elite programme that enables aspiring Indian woman entrepreneurs to systematically identify and test their business ideas.

The compostable bags are made-up of natural starch, vegetable oil derivatives and vegetable waste, which look similar to plastic bags but are compostable and bio-degradable. "Bags made of bioplastics have the basic ingredient granulate made from renewable resources like corn starch, potato starch and bio-polymers. An additional advantage of renewable materials for bioplastics is that no oil-based components are used and no trees need to be chopped. The biomass used is renewable; hence the depletion of resources is not an issue," Dr. Chitlangia said while explaining about her project 'Eco - Saviour'.

"Another good thing about bioplastics is that they are compostable: they decay into natural materials that blend harmlessly with soil. Some bioplastics can break down within weeks. The cornstarch molecules they contain slowly absorb water and swell up; causing them to break apart into small fragments. They self disintegrate into soil in 180 days and can be used as compost for plants," she further added.

The idea of her venture has originated from her PhD thesis topic 'An Economic Study of Jute Industry in India'. "Being an environment lover, I started working in this direction for a social cause with a group of women. Meanwhile, I got an opportunity to participate in WSP 2018. The all India level competition transforms innovative idea into a business venture," Chitlangia said.

Dr. Chitlangia's social venture has gained much appreciation from the State government agencies like Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board, Ranchi Municipal Corporation, Department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (GoJ)  as well as Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, GoI

The WSP is a first-of-its kind customized online and classroom-training programme designed to provide a platform budding female entrepreneurs. The WSP provides in-depth training to nurture and boost managerial and entrepreneurial skills of female entrepreneurs through mentorship from industry veterans, incubation at leading institutes and financial support.

"The WSP 2018 programme started in the month of January 2018. After several rounds of exposure through technical sessions and pitching rounds, my idea was approved. Out of 7000 venture only 300 ventures were selected, the place allotted for my Boot camp 1 was IIM- Visakhapatnam. During nine days training, I was exposed to several entrepreneurial learning activities," Dr. Chitlangia said, recalling her journey.

"My endeavour was selected for Boot Camp II in which only top 100 ventures are selected for further training and mentoring. After completion of boot Camp II, I find myself most lucky to be incubated at IIM Vizag and IIM Bengaluru for monthly reviews and mentoring," she said.

The Pan India competition is organized by NS Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) – IIM Bengaluru and supported by Ministry of Science and Technology, GoI and Goldman Sach.

Following the success of WSP – 2016, which saw the participation of 1,700 woman entrepreneurs', the WSP – 2018 saw over 6,000 aspiring business women rubbing their shoulders to grab the top place from across the country. The competition is organised in partnership with leading management institutes that includes-- IIM Visakhapatnam, IIM Indore, IIM Nagpur, IIM Sirmaur, IIM Udaipur, IIE Guwahati and CIIE Ahmadabad.

How WKU students tap their inner entrepreneurs, in and out of the classroom – Lane Report | Kentucky Business & Economic News - The Lane Report

Posted: 22 Feb 2019 08:54 AM PST

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The United States is home to just over 30 million small businesses, which, according to data from the Small Business Administration, make up an incredible 99.9 percent of all U.S. businesses.

With numbers like that, it's likely that Western Kentucky University students will, at some point, work for — or start — a small business. Thanks to the hands-on experience and resources available at WKU's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, they'll be prepared.

"Our focus is to make sure that students get tangible experiences and develop skills and capabilities that are going to prepare them for the workforce, including challenges they might face," said Whitney Peake, Ph.D., director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Peake, who joined WKU in 2014, stepped into her new role as director last July. Her work with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is a natural extension of both her teaching and research, which center on small and family business. Peake's research also includes a closer look at small business innovation levels, including how small business owners implement high performance practices and procedures to spark innovation.

Western Kentucky University entrepreneurial students after competing in the 2018 Topper Tank Elevator Pitch competition.

Dawn Bolton, Ph.D., an associate professor and transitional retiree, is also on staff at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Bolton studies individual entrepreneurial orientation and gender in entrepreneurship and leadership. Peake calls her the center's marketing expert.

Part of WKU's multi-faceted approach to entrepreneurship happens in the classroom. Students can opt to minor or major in entrepreneurship, or choose to take entrepreneurship courses that complement another field of study. One of the advantages of entrepreneurship is that it offers teachable moments for everyone.

"What makes our entrepreneurship program at WKU different is that our basic entrepreneurship course is also part of our general education curriculum," Peake said. "That's allowed students all over the university to dip their toes in and learn basic skills like creativity, strategic planning, and financial analysis. And if they decide not to pursue entrepreneurship, they still get a general education credit.

Peake often brings her research into the classroom, whether to discuss recent conclusions or to solve problems. While working on her family business social responsibility study and exploring why men and women in a family business are motivated to do good, Peake found that women consistently contribute regardless of education level, while men who have an undergraduate degree engage in a higher level of social responsibility than men without.

"I couldn't figure out how to explain why this was occurring, so I took the problem to the classroom to discuss it with students and they had some really great insights," Peake said.

WKU student Olivia Goff prepares to present her business plan for Olive & Honey in the annual WKU Business Plan competition.

She's also found other behaviors — information-sharing, for example — that can set students up for professional success regardless of their business or industry, and she doesn't hesitate to pass that information on to students.

"Transparency is the key to getting students motivated and showing how everything we do is related," Peake said.

That interconnectedness doesn't just apply to entrepreneurship and careers, but also to how the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation benefits other WKU departments. Last semester, for example, Peake collaborated with Stacy Wilson, Ph.D., director of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, to help engineering capstone students hone their pitching skills.

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation also offers a wealth of learning opportunities outside the classroom. A monthly speaker series enables students to learn valuable insight from successful local and national entrepreneurs. Students can also participate in business plan and elevator pitch competitions, or join The Network @ WKU, an entrepreneurial student organization.

Peake has also found that many WKU students put their entrepreneurial learning in practice as they cultivate their own businesses.

"One student opened a raw cookie dough shop and is now expanding it to three kiosks in Kentucky, and another student runs an after-market off-road parts business," Peake said. "They're doing phenomenal things. How they're running a business and balancing classes is impressive. "

Of course, balance is one of the most valuable lessons an entrepreneur can learn, besides multi-tasking! And students in WKU's entrepreneurship consulting capstone are well versed in both. During the course, students are paired with local small businesses and spend the semester as a consultant. The businesses are often facing some sort of challenge, which might include needing a new marketing plan or website. After taking time to understand the business's objectives, students present value-added solutions and, with agreement from the business, help implement those solutions.

Two WKU students celebrate their first and third place wins during Idea State U 2017, an annual business plan competition overseen by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development's Office of Entrepreneurship.

Not only do students have a chance to work side-by-side with a business to apply what they've learned, but they also accumulate their own research experience.

"Throughout the capstone, students are doing research on the industry, the local market, the competition, and the business and its history," Peake said.

Since the consulting capstone framework was introduced in spring 2015, Peake said WKU students have served 20 clients and generated almost 5,700 consulting hours.

"They're making a real impact on small businesses that can't afford expensive consulting," Peake said. "These students are skilled — they have skills that people wouldn't expect."

For Peake, the true reward is seeing how students put their knowledge into practice. She recalled one WKU student who took several entrepreneurship courses and, after graduating, returned home to work at his family's winery.

"He and his dad are running the business side-by-side and they keep winning awards," she said. "To see how far our students have come and how well they're doing — their success stories are wonderful for me to hear."

WKU's proactive approach to incorporating entrepreneurship into the curriculum, led by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, demonstrates how entrepreneurship continues to flourish, whether as a career path itself or as a learning opportunity to support other post-college paths.

"The culture is so different now," Peake said. "Research by Northeastern University shows that generation Z is the most entrepreneurial generation yet, which makes entrepreneurship interesting and valuable because these are skills you can use whether you start a business or manage a home. You're pitching ideas and yourself your entire life. If students can learn how to do that, that's a lifelong value."

For Women in Cannabis, The Industry Remains a Harassment-Filled Boys Club - Weedmaps News

Posted: 21 Feb 2019 04:26 PM PST

The cannabis industry has helped many women make their dreams a reality, allowing them more leadership roles than in other industries with longer-standing old-boys' networks. In 2015, for example, 36 percent of cannabis company executives were female, compared with 22 percent of executives in other industries, according to a Marijuana Business Daily survey.

Yet the cannabis industry is plagued by many of the same gender issues as others, including sexism and sexual harassment.

"I personally have experienced discrimination and harassment while working in the industry, and women contact me daily to share their stories as well," said Boss Ladies of Cannabis (BLOC) founder Rachel Colic. BLOC built an online database of executive leaders in the cannabis industry known as "The Boss List."

To see how common experiences like these are, the group recently conducted a survey of women in cannabis. The survey asked women about their experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as how their companies dealt with such issues.

Preliminary results, based on data from 156 women, revealed that despite its progressive reputation, the cannabis industry is fraught with sexism. The majority of the respondents — 53 percent — said they'd experienced workplace harassment, with 46 percent experiencing sexual harassment specifically. Sixty percent said their workplaces had sexual harassment policies, but only 30 percent received training in such issues.

Few Women Speak Out

Among those who were sexually harassed, only nine percent reported the incidents to human resources, indicating that their workplaces didn't create environments where they felt safe speaking out.

"I can't tell you how many times I've been hit on under the guise of networking or at cannabis events," said Melissa Vitale, who runs a public relations (PR) firm focused on cannabis. "I have been to a lot of events where I'm kind of treated like a sexy little toy instead of an owner of a cannabis PR firm."

Vitale remembers an event where a potential client wouldn't stop hitting on her. "No matter what I did, I was unable to get him to take his crotch area off my damn knee without calling him out, potentially embarrassing him and ruining the opportunity," she recalled.

Adriana Herrera, founder, CEO and chief technology officer at Epic Hint, a social learning platform that automates training for the cannabis industry, also experienced sexual harassment at the hands of a prospective client. While they were texting about work, he sent her messages including "your voice is hypnotizing me" and "I'm riding with you, my beautiful young lady."

Women are in more positions of power as executives and entrepreneurs in cannabis compared with other industries, 36 percent to 22 percent, according to a 2015 survey by Marijuana Business Daily.

Situations like these force women to choose between potentially losing business opportunities and keeping themselves in situations that make them uncomfortable.

Women in cannabis have a harder time not only getting clients but also raising money. "When we told industry leaders that we wanted to make cannabis products geared toward women, they thought we were crazy," recalled Alysia Sofios, communications director of Yummi Karma, an all-women cannabis manufacturer. "They were like, 'your products and packaging are too girly' and 'men won't buy that; we don't want it.'" Yummi Karma's CEO, Krystal Kitahara, would get asked who owned her company at conferences, as people assumed she was a "promo girl."

"I remember when we asked some prominent men in the industry for advice, and they told us we should dress sexy when we showed up at events to promote our brand," Sofios said. "So many women were walking around in pasties and barely-there shorts, acting as models, while the men were doing all the business deals."

"I can't think of any other industry that sells women the way cannabis companies do," she added. "If you flip through an industry magazine or go to an event, there's a lot of scantily clad women."

Employees Also Experience Harassment

Women face harassment and sexism, not just as leaders in the cannabis industry, but also while working under men. When writer Kelly Schirmann worked as a cannabis trimmer, male growers and property owners would call female trimmers "trim bitches" and "grow hoes."

"I've been offered an extra $50 per pound to trim weed topless," she remembers. "I always had to listen to the growers' complaints about how much they were going to have to pay me; how trimmers were unproductive or dishonest or lazy or thieving."

In this way, the cannabis industry is not all that different from other industries. But Schirmann believes sexism has been able to thrive in cannabis because it's been operating underground.

"There's a 'don't ask, don't tell' type of mentality," she said. "No one wants to involve the police, even with robberies or assaults, especially if they are involved in the industry in some way. Because of this, abuse goes unreported and unchecked."

Higher Standards

But in places where cannabis is legal, it may have an advantage over other industries on the gender equality front. Because it's closely scrutinized, the industry is held to a high standard.

"Much of it comes down to the fact that it exists in such a gray area," said Samantha Morrison, cannabis researcher for Glacier Wellness, a company that produces hemp creams and muscle salves. "On one hand, its legality is inconsistent, while it is also split between a recreational and medicinal substance. All of this boils down to uneasiness, where all parties involved want to take extra precautionary measures to ensure everything is done properly."

In places where cannabis remains underground, sexism can thrive because participants are loath to bring in authorities, some women say. Others say that in places where cannabis has been legalized, the added scrutiny allows harassment and gender equity issues to be examined as part of the regulatory environment.

Some efforts to make the industry more hospitable to women are already underway. In Nevada, for example, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak signed executive orders in January 2019 requiring that the government collect sexual harassment and discrimination policies from marijuana businesses, as well as establish a sexual harassment task force.

In addition, the cannabis industry's female leaders give it a leg up in addressing issues of gender equality. "It's the first time women have been able to get in on the ground floor of a multi-billion-dollar industry," Sofios said. "We started small with big entrepreneurial ideas, and just a few years later, we are a respected force in the industry. The sky is truly the limit for all of us."

Colic hopes her findings inspire "a larger conversation about potential solutions our industry can utilize to achieve a deeper level of equality and equity for all women."

As the prevalence of harassment and sexism in cannabis comes to light, the industry has the opportunity to establish gender equality while it's still young, she adds. "We all want to build an industry that we can be proud of, and we have the opportunity to do that while we are building it."

Entrepreneur's 35U35: The Business Spectacle - Entrepreneur

Posted: 16 Feb 2019 12:54 AM PST

Entrepreneur's 35U35 event saw winners and people from the business world come together to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship that has taken the nation by storm

3 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Blenders Pride Reserve Collection presents Entrepreneur's 35U35 show was a spectacle with an entrepreneurial bent. The show saw many names from the business world come together to applaud the winners of the coveted 35U35 list.

True Disruptions in Business

The third edition of the show started with Ritu Marya, Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur India and Asia-Pacific talking about disrupting businesses. Today the word "disruption" has become a norm in the business dictionary of entrepreneurs. Everyone is almost obsessed with the idea of coming up with concepts that disrupt the existing business ecosystems.

Marya spoke at length about how people are confusing disruption with ruining businesses. "Disruptions don't happen by destroying other small businesses. The burn wouldn't help anyone in the long run." She also highlighted that coming from a family of entrepreneurs, she understands it better that entrepreneurship is never going to be easy.

From a Professional to an Entrepreneur

Among the guests present, was Livespace Co-founder and CEO, Anuj Srivastava. In a small but interesting discussion with Marya, Srivastava shared his journey from a professional to an entrepreneur. He spoke about his short stint with Google and then coming back to India to start a venture, "I didn't want to be the Indian who moved to the U.S. to start something. I wanted to be the Indian who came back…" He also emphasized that "phenomenal companies have phenomenal teams."

Post Anuj Srivastava's opening chat, there was a panel discussion moderated by Punita Sabharwal, Deputy Editor of Entrepreneur India. Some distinguished names in the panel including the likes of Suchita Salwan, Co-founder of Little Black Book, Akhil Malik, Co-founder of Zostel, Aditi Srivastava, Co-founder of Pocket Aces, Prabhtej Singh Bhatia, Founder of Simba Craft Beverages, Karan Tanna, Founder of Yellow Tie Hospitality and  Som Narayan, Co-founder of Carbon Masters. The panel discussion was largely on the millennial trends titled "Making of Future Leaders." It saw some revelations of how Indian millennials are seeing a transition in everything that contests in the business world. From business culture to beer consumption trends, the content they are looking out for, the discussion saw several millennial behaviours come to the surface.

Celebrate the Spirit of Entrepreneurship

The event saw the launch of Entrepreneur's Coffee Table book, an initiative by Entrepreneur India. The Coffee table Book is a collection of India's finest and the most successful entrepreneurs. It's dedicated to the men and women who have left enduring stories of entrepreneurship.

The 35U35 event saw winners and people come together to celebrate the victories of entrepreneurs under 35 and most importantly, to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship. Each of the winners is changing the business ecosystem in India with disruptive technologies and innovative business ideas. The vibe of 35U35 initiative is also meant to inspire the generations to come who are finding a footing in the industry.

No comments:

Post a Comment