When American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou wrote — To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power — she could well have been describing every mother on the planet. A lioness protecting her cubs, a mate supporting her partner and a rock holding up the foundation of a home; mothers are in a category of their own! Whether its chairing CEOs’ seminars or starting their own business, here’s looking at Mompreneurs who have made their dreams a reality.
NAME: Mugdha Pradhan, 42
BRAND: iThrive, a revolutionary health and wellness start-up that focuses on reversing chronic lifestyle disorders with evidence-based, science-backed nutrition coaching and deep interaction.
THE BEGINNING: For the longest time, I was struggling for solutions for my serious health problems. With modern principles of functional medicine and ancient wisdom about food, paired with spirituality, I was able to recover from multiple health issues and reverse my chronic illnesses. This inspired me to launch iThrive in 2017.
Born and raised in Bengaluru, my father was the factory manager for Joy Ice Creams. My mother, a trained nurse, worked with the Sathya Sai Hospital as a nurse and pathologist. After school, I would usually be with her assisting with minor work in the OPD. She worked on a voluntary basis. This exposure to compassionate healthcare primed me for my present work. The time I spent in my father’s factory kick-started my interest in food, ingredients and how creative combinations of raw ingredients resulted in delicious products.
THE JOURNEY TILL NOW: Initially, when I returned to India after walking out of my marriage, my family was not particularly supportive. Eventually, as they saw I was determined to fulfil my vision of healing, they lent their support. When I decided to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams, I ended up losing legal custody of my daughter as I didn’t have the resources to fight that battle in court. However, from that point to where I am currently, I have become a better, stronger and a role model for her. I usually speak to her in the evenings (currently in Toronto), and then enjoy a quiet dinner with my partner.
MY ADVICE: Be honest with yourself, invest in yourself, and nurture yourself. Only then can you raise all your babies (your businesses and actual children) with the strength, compassion and generosity that they deserve.
NAME: Dr Deepa Kotwani Ghosh, 35
BRAND: EmpMonitor, which is a cloud-based workforce productivity measurement and time tracking software used in a variety of industries.
THE BEGINNING: Founded in 2019, EmpMonitor is one of the leading employee productivity and time measurement softwares, helping businesses of all sizes. Born and raised in Junagadh, charting a career in business was not easy. I studied and practiced dentistry. After marrying a software engineer, I developed a keen interest in the IT industry. We came up with this idea to build EmpMonitor to solve the problem of tracking employee productivity and calculating resulting payroll.
THE JOURNEY TILL NOW: From being a dentist to CEO and Co-Founder, it has been quite a ride. But I never stopped learning. I believe there are always new skills to learn. Right from the beginning, I had my mother’s support. My family, especially my husband, has always supported my career choices. Being a working mother is tough, but I want to be a role model for my child.
MY ADVICE: You must believe that you are capable of achieving the goal you have set for yourself and take the risk of venturing into new territories.
NAME: Dr Pallavi Rao Chaturvedi, 40
BRAND: Get Set Parent with Pallavi, Brainy Bear Preschool and Activity Club and The Brainy Bear Store. ‘Get Set Parent with Pallavi’, a YouTube platform, offers informative videos on how to spend quality time with your kids. Brainy Bear is a first-of-its-kind affordable preschool and activity hub for kids. ‘The Brainy Bear Store’ comprises innovative products and learning aids to make early childhood learning interactive and fun for both parents and children.
THE BEGINNING: Having worked closely with children, coupled with years of research and my personal experiences as a multi-tasking mom of two kids, I wanted to share this acquired wisdom with other parents. When I began looking for a preschool in Bhopal for my daughter, I noticed the wide gap that existed in terms of the quality of education and infrastructural facilities in Tier 2 cities. This led me to begin a chain of preschools that impart quality education and aid the all-around development of children. The initiative of launching a YouTube channel was born out of the need for platforms that focus solely on the domain of parenting.
THE JOURNEY TILL DATE: Get Set Parent’s informative content has been highly appreciated. Even the Brainy Bear Preschool and Activity Club turned out to be a huge hit. What started in 2013 with just one school is now a network of numerous centres and the number is constantly growing. Being a Mompreneur, my biggest challenge is the unavailability of uninterrupted time. I have to constantly switch gears from my mom mode to entrepreneur mode. To be honest, my family helped me master the art of patience along with keeping my eyes on goals. They are the ones who made me realise that failure is the stepping stone to success. We moms can do anything!
MY ADVICE: Embrace your innermost self and start something fresh. Trust yourself and it will be worth creating!
NAME: Niraalee Shah, 37
BRAND: The British School of Etiquette India, and Image Building and Etiquette Mapping, which offer training and development, image building, personal branding and etiquette mapping as well as techniques for mastering your skills.
THE BEGINNING: I established Image Building and Etiquette Mapping in 2019 and became the CEO of The British School of Etiquette India in 2020. After a few months of being a mother, all I seemed to be doing was taking care of my baby and celebrating her milestones. I loved every bit of it, but felt like I had no other identity anymore.
That’s when I decided to re-evaluate my role. Restarting work felt like a step in the right direction and despite challenges, it has been worth it. I have figured out a routine (most days). I realised that being a working mother makes me feel content and empowered.
THE JOURNEY TILL NOW: In March, 2020, I affiliated with The British School of Etiquette United Kingdom and brought in The British School of Etiquette India to help entrepreneurs and professionals embrace change. My father, Rajesh Shah, has showed me the light at the end of the tunnel. Balancing work and family life is a daunting task for working mothers. Constantly forced to juggle kids, career and marriage can often lead feelings of guilt, frustration and stress. With a little intelligence and logic though, it is not difficult to achieve work-life balance.
MY ADVICE: Never limit yourself. You can be a mom and pursue your dreams simultaneously.
NAME: Nikky Gupta, 37
BRAND: Teamwork Communications Group is India’s first healthcare specialist PR agency in healthcare communication.
THE BEGINNING: The agency was co-founded by journalist Kamal Narayan and I in 2009. I was a PR professional in healthcare and he was a health reporter. The agency’s idea struck us after we realised that there exists a major void in the field of effective healthcare communication. We teamed up to start this organisation. It helped that we were partners in life. I am now Delhi-based, but was born and brought up in Kanpur, where in my family, women were content in their home-maker roles. However, I was always driven by the passion of exploring new avenues. Early on in life, I learnt the basics of entrepreneurship by keenly observing my father. After a degree in Mass Communication, I shifted base to New Delhi. After initially working as a journalist, I switched to Public Relations, and then co-founded my organisation in 2009.
THE JOURNEY TILL DATE: I have worked with a series of challenging projects. In 2017, when Govt. of India introduced GST, their technology backbone GSTN chose Teamwork Communications as its communications partner. I have been fortunate to enjoy a high degree of family support throughout my entrepreneurial journey, be it from my husband, mother or even my young children. You have to make daily choices, and organise yourself better. I have groomed my children to understand that they have a working mother responsible for her company. When you are a Mompreneur, you are essentially mothering not just your children but also your enterprise. I am happy that I am teaching my sons to value independent working women.
MY ADVICE: Believe in yourself and love yourself. You cannot have everything done perfectly, but you can make the best of what you have.
NAME: Shrutika Mudaliar, 38
BRAND: Turquoiseniche, which offers affordable, latest and trendy accessories for women. All the designs are exclusively handmade, fabric-based and hand painted.
THE BEGINNING: With an affinity for jewellery, I started Turquoiseniche in mid-2019 as a homegrown entrepreneurship and created quirky and chic designs.
THE JOURNEY TILL NOW: Without my folks’ constant support, it would not have been easy for me to spend long and irregular hours creating designs, completing bulk orders, participating in exhibitions and marketing on social media. I come from a defence family. After graduation, I worked in a managerial position in the CRM domain but took a professional break to cultivate my interests. My husband works at a senior level in a leading real estate company. My son Akshat is 13. As my workshop is at home, I can supervise his studies and extracurricular activities. I share a friendly rapport with him and he helps in packing and the dispatch of orders. At times, he comes along to procure raw materials too! I organise my schedule according to his. I get to spend time with my mother-in-law – my best advisor – and meet my parents regularly as well.
MY ADVICE: You have one life, so don’t settle for less. Go for your dreams. It’s time to rise and shine.
NAME: Kavita Kharbanda, 44
BRAND: Lakshita, which offers trendy women’s apparel.
THE BEGINNING: My husband, his brother, my sister-in-law and I started Lakshita with no prior experience. Now it is a popular brand in India for women’s apparel. I have graduated in Jewellery Designing. As designing has always interested me and has always been a part of my life, we started Lakshita in 2002.
THE JOURNEY TILL NOW: So far, it has been favourable with some ups and downs but we continue to cater to women all over North India. My family is my biggest strength as everyone has always encouraged me in every walk of life. I have three children and it has been a wholesome experience being a full-time mom and a businesswoman. With a little extra effort, I have been able to successfully balance both. Now, both my daughters have joined the business and I learn something new from them because of their skill sets and approach towards the business.
MY ADVICE: As our brand’s mantra states, many roles one life, and that’s especially true for women. None of our roles are easy. So don’t be afraid of any role, face it with confidence and a positive attitude.