BENGALURU: As a new entrepreneur, Radhika Timbadia, proprietor, Champaca, admits that it was challenging to come across the high flux of employees in the F&B industry. “When our employees left, the team felt demoralised and we had to absorb the cost of training new ones,” says Timbadia,who got the first prize at the Futurepreneur Grand Challenge 2019-2020, an attempt to recognise and support women entrepreneurs. The awards were hosted by Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship recently.
But that was a lesson learnt and Timbadia resolved it by having stronger processes and creating an environment where people want to stay. “I am also learning to manage better dealing with the vendors and distributors as we go along,” says the former ecologist who worked in the field of conservation for 10 years before setting up Champaca, a cafe to bring to the fore an experience around books, through food, curation and a community.
To participate in the challenge, one could either identify (or nominate themselves) women entrepreneurs in the F&B sector with inspiring backgrounds who have overcome odds and challenges to get their businesses running. For Anshu Archit Jhunjhunwala, founder and chef, Food for Thought, the challenge is striking the right balance between home and work, as she says being a woman entrepreneur this century is no different from any before.
The COVID crisis, which caught the world unawares, hit Akshaya Ravindra Babu, founder, Sihi chocolaterie, hard and quick, considering she is in the B2B segment. “Businesses were asked overnight to shut, and I was left with over 300kg of chocolate in my home kitchen. There were only two options, either I could eat it all up or make use of it effectively to promote it.
At this time, you cannot test your strategies to see if it works or not, you just get creative and trust your gut,” says the fifth prize winner who initially decided to put up simple recipes using chocolate on social media handles to keep people engaged. “But 80 per cent of our business came from business clients and only 20 per cent from home bakers or cooks. We strengthened the second part in this period and started to cater to their needs. Today, we are almost at the end of the 300kg,” she says.