Friday, 2 March 2018

“I wouldn’t trade entrepreneurship for anything else”

“I wouldn’t trade entrepreneurship for anything else” replied Anjali Raj when asked about her entrepreneurial journey. Co-founder of 'ILove9Months', Anjali is driven by the passion to make  pregnancy healthy and memorable. 
Anjali belongs to the 1st batch of BBA from IBS Hyderabad where she was my student. Even as a teenager in 2010, she had her focus to do something different. She participated in many events which involved team work.

She went on to do her Masters from University of Warwick, UK. She followed her passion to become an educator. She is a Certified Childbirth Educator,  Lactation Educator, Pre and Postnatal Yoga Instructor, Prenatal Barre Instructor, Infant and Child Feeding Counselor and has been trained in KG HypnoBirthing.
After working as a birth and lactation educator in Bengaluru, Anjali is now driven to empower the women of India through knowledge, advocacy, and evidence-based techniques. Her ultimate goal is to impact as many women as possible through her skill and passion.

Anjali's story is part of the series titled 'Proof of the Pudding'"Proof of the pudding is in the eating" goes the old proverb. For a teacher like Ghumakkad, what is the pudding? 'Pudding' for any teacher is his/her graduating students. Then how  this 'pudding' in the form of former students is to be 'eaten'? 'Eating' can be symbolically equated with the placements or performance of former students in real life. This story is about Ghumakkad's former students who have become entrepreneurs. Most of the 2500 or so MBA, PGDM and BBA graduates taught by me have taken up a job. By embarking on the challenging path of entrepreneurship, few of these former students have proven the proverbial pudding beyond doubt! Who are these ten entrepreneurs? Are their business ventures diverse?

Their enterprises may not be huge, but they have followed their heart. They have pursued their passion. It was such a pleasure to reconnect with these former students and to learn their success stories. Thanks are due to each one of them for sharing their journey after graduation.

Name
MBA Graduation
Business Area
Venture Name & Location
MBA(HR) IBS(2010)
Career Coaching
HRscope Consultants, Patna
MBA(HR) IBS (2010)
Entertainment/ Theatre and Performing Arts
XpressionZ, Bangalore
MBA(Mktg) IBS (2012)
Image Consultant, Corporate Trainer
Tualmagis, Mumbai
MBA(Fin) IBS (2012)
Designer Soaps- manufacture and supply
Soapatite, Indore
MBA(Mktg) IBS(2013)
Designer Apparels and Accessories
Preksha Jain – The Fashionate, Kolkata
Anjali Raj
BBA IBS(2013)
Healthy Mother, Healthy Baby
ILove9Months, Kochi
Ishita Raksha and Nidhi Upadhyay
BBA IBS(2013)
A Gourmet Dessert Studio
17 Sugar Street, Hyderabad
Sriram Gundepudi
MBA(HR) VVISM(2016)
Employability Skills Training
Digi Freaks, Hyderabad
PGDM(Fin) VVISM (2016)
Digital Marketing, Web/App Development
Aresol India, Visakhapatnam

Anjali shared her entrepreneurial journey with us. Excerpts:

Has your entrepreneurial journey been as exciting as you had expected it to ​be?
My entrepreneurial journey has been a roller coaster ride! It’s definitely been exciting and fun, but this comes with its share of pressure, low times and intensively challenging situations. That said, I wouldn’t trade this for anything else!

What are the key challenges that you are facing in your enterprise and how do you plan to overcome it​? ​
Our biggest challenge is Lack of Awareness and Advocacy at every level of the societal pyramid regarding the importance of maternal wellness and its direct impact on maternal/infant health outcome. Secondly, India being a diverse nation has a lot of age-old tradition and norms including myths. Our challenge is to honour and blend age-old traditions with science, but keep myths at bay. We are managing these challenges by increasing awareness levels at every level and within the multiple stakeholders like the government, hospitals, corporates etc.
Our final challenge remains funding to grow and scale the organization. By proving our concept and increasing traction through our MVP, we aim at raising funds.

What is your message for present students who want to take the entrepreneurial dive​?​
I would always encourage students to take the dive into entrepreneurship. However, know the pros and cons, prepare yourself for extreme hard work, lots of rejection and challenging situations. If someone wants to get into entrepreneurship because they think its easier to be your own boss and work stress is lower, one couldn’t be anymore wrong!

'I love 9 months' is a team of three women dedicated to antenatal and postpartum wellness. In their words "We work towards empowering women to make the right choices during their pregnancy and after. We believe that every woman deserves the right to know how best to take care of her body and mind during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum." 

Anjali and team have won several awards. They were selected to share the stage with the Prime Ministers of India and Israel during recently concluded India-Israel Innovation Bridge. See the pictures below.

Govt of Kerala also honoured them for their outstanding work.
For those readers interested in knowing more about maternal  healthcare and the work done by ILove9Months, here is a short video.
Anjali is not the one to rest on her oars. She is working for her PhD at University of Warwick to assess the benefits of yoga for women who have conceived post a miscarriage. We wish Anjali all the best in her socially relevant endeavours.

Readers may also browse two related stories posted earlier:

Can Startup Management be taught?
Social Entrepreneurship- Learnings


Thanks for browsing. 
More stories of passionate entrepreneurs will follow. Stay connected.

     - Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/2nd March 2018

#StartupIndia #IndiaIsraelInnovationBridge #WomenEntrepreneurs #ProofOfThePudding #IBSHyderabad #ILove9Months #GhumakkadHarsh #GhumakkadHB #AnjaliRaj #MaternalHealth