Indian Women Entrepreneurs: From ‘Success to Significance’ with Intellitots
This week (Nov. 12 – 18) is Global Entrepreneurship Week! In honor of the millions of high-growth women entrepreneurs in emerging and developing markets that we connect with every week, we’d like to introduce you to a few more of them and highlight their impressive work. Please join us in applauding, supporting and promoting them!
By way of our women’s business network partner Biz Diva’s (India), we were introduced this week to Biz Divas’ member Pooja Goyal, the founder and director of Intellitots. Intellitots promotes excellence in early childhood education by bringing together innovative learning-oriented programs and products for children ages six months to six years.
Pooja was kind enough to answer some questions about her entrepreneurial journey. She is a serial entrepreneur and engineer from IIT Delhi with a MBA from INSEAD, France. She both worked and lived in the U.S., Europe and India, blending a successful track record at companies like Adobe Systems and Palm with her passion for early childhood education. Pooja has worked extensively to develop world class learning-oriented programs and products for kids. She is also a children’s book author, singer, and proud mother of two adorable girls.
1. Why did you become an entrepreneur? What was it that motivated you?
“In a nutshell, the primary motivating factor for me to become an entrepreneur was to move from ‘success to significance’. After having spent long years in the corporate world, I was soul searching to identify what I was passionate about.
My business partner (Shivani Kapoor) and I both had reached a point in our careers where we wanted to pursue a course where we could have significant impact . The education industry offered us that platform. We were both convinced about the importance of the early years and the impact these years have on the child as an individual, the family as a unit and society at large. Every small interaction we have with a child offers us an opportunity to make a difference. This desire to find meaning in what we do was definitely the biggest impetus behind Intellitots.
Secondly, education in India is undergoing a paradigm shift and that offers a variety of exciting opportunities to entrepreneurs like us. Blackboard and chalk is no longer the only method for teaching and learning. Schools are experimenting with a variety of innovative methods and curriculum in their effort to make learning more hands on and long lasting. This opens up many doors for companies like Intellitots to develop innovative programs and products and that is what makes education an exciting space to be specially in India.”
2. Tell us about one of your biggest breakthroughs – a triumph or struggle that was a pivotal moment in your entrepreneurial journey.
“Our big breakthroughs are still made up of myriads of small moments that we spend with our children, parents and teachers. This is just one:
Just last week, a mother wrote a four page letter as a Diwali greeting. Her three-year-old son attends the Intellitots preschool and has been with us for the last two and a half years because he attended the parent-infant program as a six month old and then graduated to the parent-toddler program at the age of one and onto the preschool at two and a half years. She thanked each one of the teachers that have touched her son’s life and conveyed her gratitude for making the early years so fulfilling, rich and happy for not just her son but for her entire family. She mentioned how proud she feels when her child is able to read, express himself confidently, cleans up after playing (using the song that we teach in class), insists on saving water and electricity and using paper bags (because of our focus on recycling). She thanked us profusely for just being there and being who we are. A testimonial such as this is such a morale booster for our entire team and we feel that we are on the right track and we have been able to stay true to our ideals over the last 4 years.
Another example happened a few months ago, when a parent brought to us a deeply troubled child. He was two-and-a-half years old and had been going to another preschool since he was two years. The child had reached a point where he traumatised by the thought of going to school. He would break into sweat in the middle of the night and would wake up crying and insisting that he would not go to school the next morning. The parents were at their wits end. We counseled and worked with the family for a few months. Four months later this child is as eager to come to Intellitots as any other. He in fact insists on coming to school even on the weekends so they have had to enrol him in an Intellitots enrichment program on the weekend (because preschool is closed on weekends). On such occasions I really feel that we are making a difference, one life, one family at a time and that is our raison de etre (reason for existence).”
3. What are your current business goals? What are your needs?
“Our current business goals are to:
- Reach sustainable profitability
- Expand to Delhi NCR
Our biggest need at the moment is to have strong mentors and advisors who are seasoned entrepreneurs and who can help us brainstorm the many ideas we are exploring.
Interested in being a mentor or advisor to Pooja and Intellitots? Please contact her via email here.
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