Entrepreneurs especially startup founders in India have reasons to rejoice. At long last, their demands for a space to interact and enrich the startup ecosystem is being heeded to. Club CafeBiz belongs to a series of initiatives taken by people to facilitate interaction among startups, mentors, and funders.
The founder Aparna Mishra describes it as ”A one-stop place for startups as they move to metros for pitches, mentoring and fundings. I am developing a network wherein the startups from Tier two or Tier three don’t have to go to metros for all this. This platform is just 5 months old and we have around 90 startups on the platform. We help them, promote them and support them. We are working very hard to make this a sustainable model.”
Helping Women Entrepreneurs
The idea behind the initiative had its inception four or five years back when Aparna attended the 10,000 Women Goldman Sach's program, an exclusive for women entrepreneurs. “During the course I realized that there has to be a place or a website which is just for Women, this could help her in business too. But after completing the course I got busy in my work and this idea was parked somewhere in my mind. During these years many women have come up with this same idea and they are doing good in their Cities. Then finally last year I again thought of converting the Idea into action. But it took me few years again but now I have transformed my idea into the Visual action now. Initially, I had thought of only Women Entrepreneurs on the platform but few people advised me that the CafeBiz platform should be open to all Entrepreneurs and Startups. Which I thought was correct in a way too.”
The Tough Way
Aparna has faced all the hardships endured by entrepreneurs who are the first in their families to break off from the standard job model. “When I left my job in 2008 and ventured into my work, my first obstacle was my family, my parents. As I come from a family wherein no one has ever done business, so me going into business was not acceptable to them. But then I had made up my mind, so I just went ahead and now my parents are proud of me.
When I moved in the market for the work it was like starting from zero. I used to do cold calls. My work experience of 18 years rounded off in Zero as doing a job and running your venture are two different things. I faced many problems in my work. As there as no one to support me so I was doing everything single-handedly. The Venture is not just business but a combination of Sales, HR, Finance and so many legal registrations. You have to handle manpower issues, payment issues and at the same time strive hard for work too.
Since I am based out of Lucknow, a city which has very less exposure and opportunities for business. So it was a problem for me. There are hardly any options for a person who wants to starts something. Either you are born with a silver spoon or you have a family business then this city is the best to be in otherwise it's really difficult.
But I never felt defeated or never lost the confidence. Rather these roller coasters in my life have really made me a strong woman. There was a fire which broke out in my call center last year. Everything was damaged but I kept my cool and dealt with the situation very strongly.”
If nothing else, being an entrepreneur is a great learning experience where you have to deal with so many divergent aspects of the whole modern life. Aparna signs off with these takeaways from her ventures as an entrepreneur “I have become very passionate about Entrepreneurship and wants to help, support anyone who wants to be or still an Entrepreneur. I have learned one thing from my ventures that keep striving for good work and keep moving ahead and cross all the obstacles in your life coz I have chosen the tough path and I have to travel it with a lot of confidence, self-esteem, passion, and perseverance.
That is why ‘ Dream, dare and Passion’ are my keywords of my life.”