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Pooja Bhatia created a platform which is a one-stop place to identify all calls, schemes, funding opportunities to women entrepreneurs.
Pooja Bhatia is an experienced IP and Licensing Professional, a Certified Licensing Professional And A Registered Technology Transfer Professional, she has worked in the domain of life science. She also has a Master of Business Administration in Technology Management from National Law University, Jodhpur.
During the 2020 pandemic when she embraced motherhood, she decided to quit her job to be a full-time mom, and later she created a platform called SAAply which is a one-stop place to identify all calls, schemes, funding opportunities to women entrepreneurs.
You have done your masters in Biotechnology, Technology Management and Business Law respectively and have a lot of experience in science, technology and innovation, what would you like to share about your journey thus far?
I’m sure this would be interesting to a few as my journey was not a straight path as it typically is and has not been restricted to a specific field. For most science students, there’s usually a predetermined path of doing your PhD, post doctorate and then ultimately joining a faculty or company for work.
As a science student I was also planning to do my PhD but then switched to the Information Technology sector and then being an entrepreneur, so there have been different landscapes of the entire journey. I believe that my journey has been about mostly about learning and meeting new people.
Being a research fellow in technology for 6 years, what was your experience and greatest takeaway from your research?
My main task was to research more on policy perspectives with regard to nanotechnology and different policy frameworks in different countries.
India, for example, has different approaches towards regulating differing technologies in nanomedicine, so my goal was to try and help the research community and entrepreneurs in moving forward until a proper legal framework or guideline is provided, how they will be regulated in the future what already existing regulatory frameworks are. It is important to think of regulatory aspect at the research level instead of waiting for commercialization.
I helped connect these dots from research to commercialization. As per research studies, India has shown potential and has lots of patents being filed, especially in nanomedicine research. I see opportunities growing in the field of nanomedicine in the Indian ecosystem.
Moreover, I did my research in 2012, so I’m sure there has been an even greater hike in number of patents, products.
What projects or business ventures are you currently working on?
I currently have two projects under the umbrella of my consulting service provider Inoberry, the first is Dhvaani, a platform showcasing women entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders and sharing their stories where I speak to different women entrepreneurs from the fields of IP (Intellectual property) and Innovation or any other technical field, innovation in technical products in market.
I find stories to be very important, especially for the sake of inspiring and learning from each other. Dhvaani is one such a platform wherein women entrepreneurs can share how they managed to work on their ventures and get everything in the puzzle together to make the picture beautiful. It also highlights personal and professional struggles faced by women, reassuring women that they are not alone.
Dhvaani is also working on 2 books showcasing women in IP and technology spaces, set to launch on the 8 of March this year. My second project is called SAAply, a one-stop solution to access government grants, calls for incubation and acceleration programmes and other funding opportunities.
It basically cuts down time spent on travelling and extensive exploration, curating information from India and around the world.
What challenges have you faced in your journey thus far?
I have come across lots of challenges, firstly, I remember trying to balance my part-time PhD and work when a faculty member told me that: “You are sailing two boats you’ll sink”.
Though this phrase haunted me, I just now realize how I’m still sailing in different boats as a mother with two ventures, consulting and staying afloat regardless. I quit my PhD owing to entirely different issues, but still stuck to what I thought was right. Secondly, I faced challenges managing work from Seattle in the USA. Working with Indian clients, I could only work during certain times, meetings happen at odd hours. I eventually left that job, even though I was in a position to run a technology transfer office with complete freedom to strategize how I want.
Lastly, now living in Seattle, it can be a challenge convincing Indian people that I know about India and its inner workings. Despite the challenges, I do come across people to respect and appreciate my work and that makes it worth it.
How would you like to inspire other entrepreneurs and innovators through your personal experiences?
I would advise new entrepreneurs to never give up and look beyond their expertise to find places where they can contribute. I was in IP and technology transfer but currently work in a domain which is entirely unrelated with limited interaction with entrepreneurs in IP innovation.
Despite being an introvert and not finding it very easy to speak a pick a mic up and speak, I always tried and encourage others to do the same and strive to work around hurdles. Especially for working mothers, I just want to tell them that even if you don’t complete all tasks for the day, give pat on the back even if you’ve accomplished one thing out of many.
With exposure to International entrepreneurial ecosystems, what challenges do you still see for young entrepreneurs in India, especially women.
India has a good culture, however, there are many challenges. Firstly, many don’t like to see women in leadership positions, and I’ve learnt from some women founders, that clients prefer to speak to their male colleagues instead of them.
Secondly, our family structure makes women entirely responsible for children and the household, leaving little room for work or entrepreneurship. Regardless, a lot of aspects of business goes beyond the Indian ecosystem, so I encourage those interested to explore and learn.
What has been your greatest support system?
There are people to whom I go to. Firstly, I have my parents. I can talk to them for hours and pester them for anything and share my thoughts. Secondly, my sisters and husband and lastly, my daughter, I would say, is my biggest supporter. The moment the clock ticks 8, she tells husband “Mumma will go to office now” and understands that those are my working hours. She sees me on call and waits patiently and then asks if I can, I talk to her. She was born during covid in April 2020.
Luckily, both me and my husband were working from home and our family could come over. Even though we had no experience, he attended child-rearing classes with me and was there to support me every step of the way, regardless of what I decided.
Being a full-time mom, how did you come to balance passion and family?
When you become a mom, you get good at multitasking and doing a lot of things together. Since I stayed awake a lot for the first few months after my daughter’s birth, I had time to plan things out, including work and marketing campaigns.
Now, as a full time mom, I make slots for each activity and have assigned time for working. I have this principle of breaking everything into steps. It makes things a lot easier to do. My husband does the same, and we know of each other’s schedules to manage family time, me-time and time for my daughter.
What are views on work from home options for women?
The work from home option is wonderful and should definitely be given more often. When I was working, I and other expecting colleagues as well championed for and continue to support work from home, At the end of the day, the given work plan needs to be completed, so physical presence is not compulsory to achieve that.
Unprofessionalism can happen inside office as well, so the key is to manage time, performance and task handout. Another upside to work from home is cutting down on fuel consumption or time spent on commute.
What would you like to say to younger women in business right now?
To learn any new task, one needs a 6-week window. It is important to take small steps, reassess, change strategy, move forward with the task at hand. It is important to keep reminding yourself that you can do it.
Especially through Dhvaani, I see that women often feel under confident or not fit for sharing their stories but once such stories are shared, many come together on common struggles as well as strengths, finding inspiration through learning from fellow entrepreneurs.
Image source: Pooja Bhatia’s LinkedIn, and metmorworks via Getty Images free and edited on CanvaPro.
I am Ria from New Delhi. I did my Bachelors in Political Science and History and am currently pursuing my Masters in Political Science from University of Delhi and Postgraduate Diploma in Criminal Justice from read more...
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