Pioneering Foresight: A Gender-neutral Entrepreneur’s Story of Enabling Job Re-starters
Deprivation of job promotion on gender grounds should usually drive one to despair and frustration. Sunitha Bharadwaj was made of different mettle. She took it upon herself to turn the unsavory incident into an opportunity to help women and men alike in restarting their careers. Her venture Back to Work, founded in 2019, is an inclusive forum that helps job re-starters get back to the workforce after a break. Her other venture, HomePreneurs, offers a marketplace where women can easily find buyers for their products. HerMoneyTalks caught up with this dashing businesswoman for a deep dive into her riveting career graph.
Sunitha Bharadwaj is a graduate in Mass Communication from Mysore University and became an entrepreneur in 2012, by starting Atriium. She followed this up with Unicorn Ideas in 2015. Here she curates new ventures and helps startups with her expert knowledge in corporate branding, strategizing, and operations management.
She has worked in the startup environment since 2009. Sunitha has been involved in an online skill development venture when it was hardly heard about or believed in even by investors.
How it all started for her
“When I landed my first job, my father helped me in planning my finances. But today, I am capable of managing it myself,” begins Sunitha Bharadwaj, a true blue entrepreneur with a do-not-give-up attitude.
“In one of the organizations I used to work at, they refused to give me a promotion on grounds of being a woman. This was an American subsidiary. The head of the company said that the men may not feel comfortable working under a woman! This bizarre explanation came as a shock. It inspired me to empower women by starting my own organization,” says Sunitha.
In one of the organizations I used to work at, they refused to give me a promotion on grounds of being a woman. The head of the company said that the men may not feel comfortable working under a woman!
“Entrepreneurship happened accidentally, but today it is a passion,” Sunitha bursts into easy laughter. Without any mentors, she plunged into business back in 2011. Back then, the startup scene in India was still in a nascent stage.
With fire in the belly and untold passion for startups, Sunitha became an expert at strategizing for business. She immersed herself in business expansions, funding, operations, brand marketing, and customer acquisition strategies.
Converting hurdles into opportunities
“I faced a huge cash burn while developing Atriium. The tech company I had hired to develop the website was not meeting deadlines. Worse, they never handed over the source code to us. I made stage-wise complete payment to them. But it was a big deficit,” recounts Sunitha about one of her early challenges.
I faced a huge cash burn while developing Atriium. The tech company I had hired to develop the website was not meeting deadlines.
All these struggles made her a much stronger organizer. So much so that she could no longer say ‘no’ to opportunities and responsibilities that followed.
Sunitha’s present organization, Bk2Wrk initially focused on only female job re-starters. Later, realizing men encountered similar struggles in their lives, she started to help male job re-starters as well. This is where she displayed a rare maturity in today’s gender-divisive world.
Planning and market understanding the twin keys to success
Sunitha advices all women entrepreneurs to never be afraid of mistakes in life. She inspires them to set phase wise goals to reach their dreams.
If a woman has a strong and market-conducive idea and has done her research in the segment her venture is in, entrepreneurship is not a difficult task.
“Networking and understanding of the market and customers are very important as it is the consumer who makes our business successful,” opines Sunitha. With water-tight financial planning helping her flourish in business, she reveals that money really matters a lot in a woman’s life.
“If a woman has a strong and market-conducive idea and has done her research in the segment her venture is in, entrepreneurship is not a difficult task,” declares Sunitha. She also believes that, as a business builder, one should be always prepared to tread that rough path to bring in success.
Life-saving money management hacks from a pro
- Plan a budget for your venture.
- Set cash flow budget for every stage and a little aside for unforeseen expenditure that may come up.
- Well planned salary budget is a must.
Sunitha signs off by stating that women have good money instincts and are excellent financial planners. She is a consultant to various startups and helps them in almost every sphere of business. Sunitha also continues to help job re-starters find their dream job after a career break.
Her maturity in business affairs and balanced perspective on gender issues has rubbed off many a woman she has worked with.
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