Efficiencies notwithstanding, gender bias is a reality

by Upasana Taku, Co-founder, Zaakpay

Nature of business: Internet payment gateway

Been in business since: September 2010

Advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs: Do not be afraid of failures, have a great business idea, listen to your inner voice and just do it!

I began my entrepreneurial journey in 2009 when I left my job to join my husband Bipin Singh to scale up MobiKwik, a venture he had started about six months ago. Since then we have co-founded another company called Zaakpay that today made its mark with its integrated online payment solutions. Being in the service industry, I have not faced the challenges that a woman entrepreneur usually faces while setting up a shop. However, there have been many instances where I have dealt with prejudice and downright invasion of privacy.

For instance, an investor once asked me when I was planning to have babies. Though I laughed him off at that time, I found it to be in rather bad taste. Incidentally, my husband who is also the co-founder is never asked that question, although we have both put in our best efforts in the business. Another senior executive at a large financial institution was so taken aback with my sharp communication skills and felt so threatened that he never even bothered to hear my arguments. He even called me a brazen angry woman with attitude.

That’s the kind of bias that women entrepreneurs have to deal with on a daily basis in our country. But if you are good at you’re job you learn to take it in your stride and do not bother too much about it after a point of time. It’s your hard work and efficiencies that matter at the end of the day. With single and married women living in nuclear families, it has become easier for them to cope with work load as they are able to hire household help and get on with their work. Between the two start ups that I have founded with my husband, we employ nine women employees and we do not treat them any differently from the male counterparts. They work hard, party harder and have contributed amazingly to our growth!

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