Rajesh Bhat, Founder & CEO, Iron Lady

Rajesh is a serial social entrepreneur (Iron Lady is his sixth start-up). He is also the Co-founder and Trustee of Head Held High Foundation. Rajesh’s work has impacted lakhs of people over the last 14 years. He’s been awarded as the Real Heroes of India by CNN network. Mr. Amitabh Bachchan has showcased his work on StarPlus. Read or watch more about Rajesh at: SmartCEO, Economic times, CNN -IBN, or StarPlus. Special highlights of the event was when Iti Rawat, Founder of WEFT announced the entry of Mr.Rajesh Bhat founder of The Iron Lady who walked in a saree to show his empathy towards the women worker. He made a strong statement from his relentless work on empowering women for the last 15 years. WEFT awarded him the Transformation Support for Women Leader of the Year award.


It’s the twenty-first century and we are all waking up every day to head to work to make a living. But is there gender equity in the field? Does everyone get equal opportunities and prominence on the platter to prosper? Well, let’s think this one out.

From being told to sit still and look pretty to the phrase “be the man of the house”, there has been a bias towards women. As a matter of fact, women were not even included to contribute in the first three industrial revolutions, reflecting the status of “The Second Sex”, as coined by literary maestro, Simone de Beauvoir, to depict how women are always kept “second”.

Fortunately, corporates across different industries are realising the stereotypical monopoly that’s rigged the system since ages. They are striving to create a better professional space for women entrepreneurs to thrive. Some of the ways that the corporate industry is supporting women entrepreneurs in are:

Acing the awareness game
Making women a part of the corporate world, regardless of their employment status with the company, is one way to go about it. Corporates can lend their support to women as they fan the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) segment. The sector can explicitly support women by conducting workshops that bolster their entrepreneurial spine and enable them to spread their innovative concepts and ideas like wings and fly across the skies of growth. For instance, creating campaigns, pursuing and drives and conducting workshops on – creating awareness about how to manage numbers in profitability, including something as basic as how to save a massive chunk of money with regular investments and other efficient practises and tips to transform women’s dream into a self-sustaining start-up can be of enormous help.

Hear ye, hear ye!
Women entrepreneurs have been making significant strides for a long while; however, their efforts often go unnoticed or worse, are often underrated. All they want is to be heard alongside having equal opportunities to prove themselves. By associating with women entrepreneurs on a full-time, contractual or per project basis – corporates can help by offering them a platform that provides them with professional exposure without any bias.

Hiring women entrepreneurs to work with them while offering fair remuneration without any gender divide makes them and their art, company, venture or endeavours feel heard. Uplifting their status in society and giving them an opportunity to earn what is rightfully theirs, the corporate sector can accelerate their growth in the global market.

Being a catalyst of holistic growth
Serving as a catalyst of growth by fuelling women entrepreneurs’ ambitions, the corporate market can offer skill-based programs and personality enhancement courses that contribute to women’s tale of success. Some of the industry leaders have already stepped up responsibly and are helping women hone their skills to monetise from their art. The corporates are further offering personal transformation that whets womeneurs’ business sense and thus their venture’s profit margins.

Entrepreneur joining hands with AI
Artificial intelligence, especially with industry 3.0 and the recent attention to web3, is catching the eye of people and scurrying past the mark of progression deftly. From voice control to optimising work softwares and regulating operations with a tap or gesture control- it is taking the global market by storm. AI has become the beacon of hope for young entrepreneurs, elevating their business to new heights and helping them pursue mundane and strenuous tasks with ease without being a victim to ergonomic risks or putting their brand’s efficiency and profitability on the stake. Taking inspiration from the current entrepreneurial trend, corporates can make women entrepreneurs more accustomed to the integration of technology, AI and ML in specific. The corporate industry can also lend the leading women across the verticals to adopt collaborative technology and increase their efficacy, accuracy and proficiency by folds while simultaneously suggesting them about how to create more opportunities for aspiring women entrepreneurs to join forces.
Being well-versed with AI algorithms and integration will facilitate success and business growth for women entrepreneurs and aid them in levelling up.

Digital education and skill-based courses to carve the road
Digital education, often connected with young students, is also inclusive of any and every person with an inquisitive mind or an enthused-to-learn attitude, including women. This creates an opportunity for corporations to ease the crease for women entrepreneurs and allow them to bloom in a space teeming with resources and raw information as well as processed educational modules and matter that will help them grow. For instance, offering a plethora of courses at an affordable price, and offering women entrepreneurs coupons to avail them could be a great place to start. Currently witnessing the attention given to social media, women entrepreneurs can learn about marketing and digital advertising, creating business strategies for digital platforms and physical platforms alike, SEO plans and Google Analytics amongst so much more. It is all about offering a place to learn and equipping them with the required prerequisites before women entrepreneurs can slay it in their respective industries.

Investing in women-owned businesses
The biz world is swarming with women entrepreneurs taking the lead. In the past 7 years, women-owned businesses have increased by a whopping 21%. However, the tides often turn rough for them to sail their boat to the other end due to lack of investment and capital. Investing in a female-owned company can be a great move creating ripples in the industry as women strive for their dreams with the funding. Helping in keeping their business stable and supporting the numbers of women-owned brands to skyrocket, this could be a significant step towards creating an unbiased, gender-diverse business space.

Getting down to basics
Another way to help women entrepreneurs to run a business is as simple as asking, literally. Surveying local startups around the geography of a big corporation and understanding what women-owned businesses require from the source itself could be a wise move. From sending support letters to sharing their content and if the pocket allows, investing or collaborating on a project or contractual basis with female-owned brands and labels is what we need. Corporates can help in different ways, all we need is an intent and a direction to start.

Bringing women entrepreneurs financial stability and empowering them to take on the challenges head on with equal opportunities, perks and payout, corporates can become the strongest allies supporting naari shakti worldwide.

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