By Susmita Barman:
The community chat alert introducing SHEpreneur Revathi Roy on the SHEROES app, really struck a chord with me. She was responsible for building a community of women delivery agents (DAs) in her logistics start-up Hey Deedee, and I wanted to know more about Revathi and her start-up journey.
I was also curious to know, how these women DAs felt taking up work in such a male-dominated space, but more than anything, I was awe-inspired to learn about a life-changing fact shared by Revathi – “My inspiration was my need. I had just lost my husband and had to feed 3 children and bring them up. The only thing I knew was driving and so, I became a cab driver and started to earn money on a daily basis.”
This left me wide-eyed, and I excitedly waited for the community chat to kick off. What I particularly love about SHEROES community chats are the candid conversations that give an insight into the journeys, struggles, and vision of leading ladies like Revathi Roy. Before Hey Deedee, she began her company FORSCHE, the world’s first platform that trained and placed women to become professional drivers. Wow. What a great example of women empowering women through social entrepreneurship!
Bringing you snippets from the candid conversations, where Revathi supported women entrepreneurs in pursuing their aspirations…
Shiny: Before starting something should we need to research the market competitors or the key is to do something that no one has done before?
Revathi: Hey! Shiny, one can’t always start something which no one has done before. The key is to do it well even if it’s an existing business. Like, so many restaurants keep opening. However, it’s good to do research and understand the gaps.
Ameena: I want to know about e-commerce businesses and marketing, like Amazon, E-bay & Flipkart. I’m searching for such business information in detail.
Revathi: We’re DAs for e-com companies and all DAs are girls. There’s huge potential in this business. World Bank says that this will become a 220 billion dollar industry by 2020. We want women to take control of this opportunity. We want to create job opportunities for 1 lakh women by 2020 by offering services in 200 cities. SHEROES community can help us do this. Let’s create a revolution!
Susmita: Was engaging women workforce for a male-dominated work a tough call? What has been your experience with frontline women workers?
Revathi: Yes! Engaging in a male-dominated field was tough because I had the herculean task of convincing both people who would work and people who would use the service.
Shiva: What are the essentials to start up? I’m very much interested to have my start-up specifically in healthcare analytics. Few guiding tips will be helpful to me.
Revathi: The first and foremost ingredient is passion and clarity of thought as to what you want to do.
Anonymous: Madam, how to become a driver in your company?
Revathi: Anonymous please come and meet my COO and she’ll tell you the process of becoming a DA.
Merril: For 100s of years, businesses have made money, but they haven’t necessarily been good for the planet. Would love to hear stories about the social transformations of your riders.
Revathi: Every girl of mine is a story of transformation and independence. These are real girls with real stories. Do watch our story on CNBC. Also, if you Google CNBC Revathi Roy, you’ll be able to watch it.
Harshita: My plan is to start a microfinance start-up – a platform where people hold the power to create opportunities for themselves and others by lending as little as INR 1000. I don’t have fund and I’m crowdfunding a nominal INR 5 from people. How to convince people because they’re expressing doubt?
Revathi: Whenever there’s money involved there’ll be doubts. I’m not a great proponent of crowdfunding. A POC (proof of concept) is first necessary.
Ankita: What if I fail after arranging funds externally and starting my business? There’ll be regret. How to handle this situation?
Revathi: If you don’t fail you’ll not succeed. Failing is very relevant.
The hour-long community chat left me asking for more and I loved the way my Friday afternoon turned into an interesting enriching session. That’s what community chats are all about! While Hey Deedee’s women fleet glide in their 2-wheelers delivering last mile packages, I feel positive knowing that women entrepreneurs are making the right moves. Feeling recharged, I look forward to more meaningful and inspiring conversations around start-ups in the community.
Women entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can join SHE Starts Up!, our community to support women entrepreneurs via mentorship, funding, community chats, and conversations. Here’s where you find unconditional support for your startup dreams!
About Susmita Barman:
I’m a SHEROES community member who believes in impacting young girls and women the right way for a better and progressive tomorrow. I’ve worked as a pre-school facilitator and developed K5 skill sets for an e-learning app. A happy-go-lucky mommy whose 15-year-old daughter is like a buddy. An uncompromising Bollywood fan and a die-hard foodie, writing is my superpower and content writing, my profession.