Ruche Mittal’s goal is to connect women entrepreneurs in India, helping them create successful businesses and maintain a healthy work-life balance. The community, Her Entrepreneurial Network (HEN), is network-focused and based on four verticals. These areas of networking are peers, experts and mentors, product and business owners and, finally, new markets. These verticals make HEN a comprehensive platform where members can connect with anyone they need to be successful.
From Facebook to full-blown entrepreneurial network
HEN started as a Facebook group, but Mittal found that it quickly ran up against the platform’s limitations. “That’s when we started thinking, should we be dependent on Facebook? Or do we need to create our own platform?”
The HEN team built a custom space for their community’s conversations. With this move, the community blossomed.
India is a massive market, and Mittal saw the opportunity to take that market by storm with HEN. Her first priority was to allow members to network and make connections that lead to new and exciting opportunities.
“Around the globe, women are looked upon as the key responsible people around families and homes,” said Mittal.
Data and surveys back up her point. Women are far more likely to adjust or make sacrifices in their careers to take care of their families. According to the Pew Research Center, in the fall of 2020, working moms were twice as likely as dads to say they had a lot of childcare and household responsibilities. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly makes separating work and family harder, but these are trends that were firmly in place pre-pandemic.
In 2019, women were also more likely to ask for reduced hours to take care of their families. Going back nearly a decade to 2013, the Pew Research Center surveys show that women spend almost twice as much time on housework than men (14.2 hours compared to 8.6 per week) and more hours on active childcare (10.7 compared to 7.2 hours per week). The gaps have come down over the years, but women still make more family-oriented sacrifices than men.
Managing work-life balance and taking care of a family while trying to advance your career or run a business is always difficult. Many women may feel that they can’t have both. They think one needs to be sacrificed. Mittal disagrees. “You do not need to compromise your family for your dream, or vice versa. You can do both.”
Her business journey started with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program
Mittal didn’t hesitate to jump into the business world. She took part in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, a three-month initiative focused on educating 10,000 women entrepreneurs around the world. In that program, she learned lessons that she’s applied to HEN. The program gave Mittal the experience and inspiration she needed to jumpstart HEN, and she hasn’t looked back since.
“I got exposed to so much information and I was able to make sense of that in my own business. I felt there must be so many more girls like me, who would be running a business and would want information. If you don’t know that there is a way of doing something, you don’t have the information to do it.”
From that information comes ideas, visions and dreams. That information can be used to create new, amazing things in so many ways. “I felt we should create a system where we can share information. Once it’s shared, people can choose to use it or not to their liking.”
Mittal hopes to expand the entrepreneurial network. “We are open to lots of partnerships across the globe. We are so waiting to partner with you and to make the world a smaller place for women entrepreneurs.”
Her advice for other entrepreneurs
Mittal’s advice centers on belief. “Believe it to achieve it. If we don’t believe in ourselves, nobody on this planet will. So that’s where the journey starts. We all just need to tell our daughters that even you have the whole power to believe in a dream and live that dream.”
Empathy is also essential. “It stands for me on top of the list, how you can connect with people and how believing in yourself can help you cross borders. The way we can build businesses and make a difference to the society that we live in is bringing empathy in as the core element of our being.”
Check out our other features on women entrepreneurs!