Meet these women entrepreneurs who went from being friends to co-founders
As kids, many of us have dreamed of running little lemonade stalls with our friends around the neighbourhood. Whether we were able to do it successfully or not, the message at the end of the day is that starting up with a friend is fun, and can bring a lot of joy.
Although there are naysayers aplenty, working with someone whom you can rely on and with whom you can be yourself can be one of the best decisions you make. Speaking with HerStory these two women entrepreneur duos share the stories of how they took their friendship to the next level and became co-founders.
(L-R) Juhi Bansal and Asha Lalwani, co-founders, WMOA
Asha Lalwani and Juhi Bansal met at a skating class, where both their daughters were enrolled during their vacations. The two started talking and connected over parenting and more, and eventually became close friends.
Asha and Juhi founded Working Moms of Ahmedabad (WMOA), which aims to unite and empower working mothers, facilitate friendships, and enable each other to grow while sharing stories about their parenting journeys. WMOA organises monthly meetups, and has over 600 mothers who have joined the community.
"Our unending conversation about juggling and managing our careers, homes, and children, made us wonder about many such Juhis and Ashas who would be willing to seek advice, vent it out, share confessions, network or just connect with like-minded mums and empower each other to keep going," they say.
The two cherish their friendship because of their fun-loving attitudes and the shared passion to challenge themselves to take on tasks that seem daunting.
On how their friendship enhances their entrepreneurship journeys, they say that they function "like engine and fuel." While Juhi is the engine that ignites the spark, Asha is the fuel that helps keeps the startup functioning. They say their expertise and personal qualities complement each other, and keeps them motivated to bring new ideas to the table.
Although friends can have the best synergy most of the time, there is a possibility of certain disagreements. On how they tackle such issues, Asha says,
"Generally, there are no differences between us. But even if there's a slight mismatch, we meet immediately and brainstorm over it. We try to reach a conclusion that is beneficial for our community of mothers, because our ultimate goal is to reach as many moms as we can and support them."
Over the next few years, Asha and Juhi aim to create a virtual platform for parents which will serve as a one-stop shop to navigate the world of parenting and access verified child-friendly locations around them.
(L-R) Rituparna Ghosh and Dhriti Chatterjee, co-founders, Boithek
When you think serendipity, think stories like that of Dhriti Chatterjee and Rituparna Ghosh. The duo, who chanced upon each other when the former accidentally went to the wrong party back in 2008, are now close friends and co-founders.
In June this year, they launched Boithek, which they define as a 'social conglomerate' that helps authors promote their books, with a small cafe to go along.
While Dhriti had previously started up with another friend, Rituparna was very new to the world of entrepreneurship. When she expressed her interest in dedicating her time to running a business, Dhriti immediately agreed to support her.
The friends initially connected over their passion for reading and dancing, and soon started a cultural group called Canvas, through which they conducted community and social activities together. They say the group is still their stress buster and helps them take a breather when things get hectic.
Dhriti and Rituparna feel their friendship is special because of their complementary personalities. They say,
"We both are straightforward and have always complemented each other. Understanding and complementing each other at the right time is the secret of our friendship. We are the perfect match, and our main assets are honesty and quality."
The two tackle disagreements by openly talking about them and resolving the issue as soon as possible. They say it has always been an unwritten rule from the word go.
In the next couple of years, Dhriti and Rituparna are confident that Boithek will be well-established in the market.
"We want to encourage the younger generation to start reading books again. We also want to expand outside India and connect with more renowned novelists for our clientele," adds Dhriti.
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)