Name: Bhawna Shah
Business: Brainy Knights
Location: Bangalore, India
Industry: Education & Training
Reason for starting? “God please give me the strength to generate more employment for my country.” This is the prayer that I say everyday when I wake up. I have been working as a zero salary CEO and have invested every single penny back into my business. Every extra dime goes into creating a new job. I do not wish to take home more than what I need and all that I need is peace.
India is growing at a very rapid pace. We need to educate our society and education has to start early. Our mission is to leverage the power of technology and take education to the most remote locations of India. We help set up preschools to educate the early learners and also generate job opportunities. Most preschools are run by women and therefore this venture helps us empower women by making them independent. We make learning fun filled by providing audio-video enabled learning.
How do you define success? I was born black and society wasn’t really fair to me. They called me ‘not fair’ and I looked at them as ‘not fair.’ The tryst continued until I found my calling. I realized that I have been chosen to prove that life is not about skin colors but the colors that we fill in around us by contributing to society and helping growth. Growth and happiness can be enjoyed only if people around us are also growing. If the world around us is happy only then we can be happy too and not otherwise. Success for me is about standing as an inspiration for all those who wish to take a step forward and dare to stand against all odds. Success is about proving to the society, “If I can, you also can.”
Biggest success: My biggest success came when I was approached by a woman and she said that she looks upon me as her inspiration. She was facing challenges on her personal front and was not sure how to handle them and move forward in life. I helped her setup a preschool from scratch. I gave her the courage to keep moving forward one step at a time and not look back at all. She successfully runs a preschool today and is leading a good life. The joy in helping someone become empowered is far greater than the joy derived from earning a lot of money.
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? My biggest challenge is to convince women that they have the ability to be financially independent and to make decisions. Women in the eastern part of the globe have yet to believe in themselves and make decisions on their own. They need to do what they want and not what others want them to do. A happy woman can build a happy society. I have had to take a lot of counseling sessions with woman and convince them to be independent.
Related: Women & Money: The Confidence Gap
Who is your most important role model? My role models are Kiran Majumdar and Chanda Kocher. They have proven that we need to be modern in thoughts and not in our dressing up. We can do serious business in this modern world and be traditional at the same time. Tradition is our identity and we need to stand by our identity.
Edited by The Story Exchange