"You educate a woman, you educate a generation" - Interview with Yeshasvini Ramaswamy
It was a privilege to interact with Yeshasvini Ramaswamy, MD of e2e People Practices & JGi iDEA Program . Read on to see what she has to say.
1. Could you please tell us about the role of JGI Ventures in promoting start-ups?
Yeshasvini - JGI Ventures started with the vision of Dr. Chenraj Roychand, the founder of Jain Group of Institutions. The main focus of all of us here is to give shape to the entrepreneurial aspirations of the student community. Young ambitious students from the JGI Group have been funded by JGI Ventures to convert their ideas in to an enterprise with close monitoring and mentorship. JGI Ventures is set up to support and mentor successful entrepreneurs who will create jobs and help contribute to the economic prosperity of the country.
2. Does it also provide seed fund for start-ups? If so what is the average and range of seed fund invested in start-ups by JGI Ventures?
Yeshasvini - Our investment is a combination of debt and equity. We believe more in the passion of the entrepreneur and his idea rather than the industry he/she hails from. Hence we are a sector agnostic fund for start-ups. We have a very thorough business plan vetting process where training / guiding component is also involved. We have to motivate people to create jobs rather seek one.
3. Tell us about the initiative of CEO Satsang? Is it part of JGI Ventures or a different and independent initiative?
Yeshasvini – CEO Satsang is a CEO Enablement Program, launched as a flagship initiative by the School for Leadership Excellence, which is an emerging School for Entrepreneurs and CEOs in India, Bangalore. It is supported by JGi Ventures. (More details on www.ceosatsang.org)
4. You are also the MD of e2e People Practices Pvt. Ltd. How do you manage to wear all these different hats? What keeps you motivated?
Yeshasvini – I am primarily the MD of e2e People Practices Pvt. Ltd and also anchor India’s first and premier full-fledged MBA program in Entrepreneurship aptly titled JGi iDEA www.jgiidea.org. My role is Ventures is supportive. Being an entrepreneur is a full time job, and we are accustomed to wearing different hats at any given point of time. The sheer excitement and challenge of being at the helm of things and making a difference to our society propels me to keep forging ahead. From very early on in my career, I understood the importance of team work over individual glory and I still believe a successful entrepreneur works collaboratively with his or her team. To put it in short, the power to create change and bring value to our customers and stakeholders is a driving force behind me.
5. Are women entrepreneurs any different than the male entrepreneurs based on your interactions with many entrepreneurs? If they are, please could you tell us in what way? Or is the entrepreneurship DNA gender agnostic?
Yeshasvini –Though entrepreneurship is DNA gender agnostic, however there are subtle differences in the approach. Women entrepreneurs generally thrive in areas where high degree of Emotional quotient is required and this works to their advantage, however their male counterparts usually adopt a more pragmatic and rational approach. The world is moving towards meritocracy and equal rights across corporations and soon the gender inequality factor would be passé.
6. What are the key skills an entrepreneur should have to reach the heights of excellence?
Yeshasvini –An entrepreneur is most importantly a leader in his or her own right. He or she should have traits of successfully leading and guiding the entire organization in achieving excellence in their chosen field.Traits like determination and drive, a well developed cognitive capacity, a high degree of self-confidence with integrity and trustworthiness are needed. Another important trait, which helps them to be liked by their subordinates, is sociability. Our message to potential entrepreneurs and start-ups would be to chase “Excellence” in whichever venture they plan to start, and to be willing to accept the numerous challenges and hurdles which will invariably come their way. This should not hinder them from forging ahead and dreaming big but rather propel them to strive harder towards their goals with passion and determination.
7. Your word of advice for the budding entrepreneurs ?
Yeshasvini – Entrepreneurship is not all about taking Machiavellian risks and being successful from the onset. It is not as glamorous as it is made out to be, and the road to success is often long and arduous. However, the satisfaction and fulfillment of creating something unique and one’s own is immensely fulfilling and motivating in the long run, and worth the time & effort.
A clear vision with a compelling reason to exist and differentiate, backed with proper planning and a good support system of friends, family and with guidance of the right team will go a long way in making your entrepreneurial journey a success. Entrepreneurship involves taking numerous risks and making hard decisions at every juncture of an entrepreneur’s journey. It needs to be carefully planned and calculated, and should be taken keeping the broader scheme of things in mind.
8. How do you think can women empower themselves in a better manner?
Yeshasvini –Women need to start believing in themselves and their capabilities. There is lot of things going in favor for them, as a number of them are successfully stepping into boardrooms of power and ascertaining their authority and class.
There was a time not too long ago when women were hired at managerial positions to handle the silent quota factor. This was a way to appease forces demanding the presence of women in such positions. While it may have started this way, today there is openness to hiring better-qualified women in what was once a male bastion.
Conversations with those who work on par with strong women on the managerial side of affairs at the work place say that such women bring almost all the same skill sets to the table as their male counter-parts, but what is different is the impact they make. Women tend to be good listeners and are able to apply theoretical knowledge practically. This allows them to come up with suggestions that are vastly different in perspective compared to others who may have been doing this for generations and are known to stick with tried and tested formulae.
Possibly stemming from a women’s role in the household, women are never scared to ask tough questions when it comes to the workplace, thus opening up situations for debate. There is also research to show that their ethical standards can be much higher than that of men.
On a lighter note, it is felt that most men CEOs tend to share office debates with their wives or even mothers and often seek and follow counsel from them. This makes it easier for them to accept well thought out viewpoints from women in management positions.
9. What are some of your five year goals? Do you have any new initiatives in mind and are you scaling existing initiatives?
Yeshasvini - Scaling up. (iDEA – want more youth to choose entrepreneurship as an option, consulting and creating value to more customers. At e2e, we have already impacted 46 organizations. The learning has been invaluable and the success stories inspiring.)
10. Please tell us why you are Glad2baWoman?
Yeshasvini – I am proud to be a woman who is independent and respected for what I have contributed to society, rather than being judged merely by being a woman. There are lot of inborn qualities and traits which we women are gifted or bestowed with, which to my mind helps make our society a better place to live in. As aptly stated by the famous author Brigham Young ,“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”