Anuja Mittal was recently named as the President of the Ladies' Wing of IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This position is new for her, but her association with the wing is more than two decades old. She has served as an executive committee member for many years. Now, she has taken a leadership role to lead the wing at this time of COVID-19 crisis. Mittal shares with Jescilia Karayamparambil her experience and challenges.
What is your vision for this unusual year?
It is a tough time. Our vision was always about encouraging women entrepreneurship. Now with this COVID-19 crisis, I would advise these entrepreneurs to continue with their respective endeavours.
At any given point of time, we have 200 entrepreneurs— the number is large because the wing prefers it that way. These entrepreneurs are divided into segments like gourmet, fashion and others. And then these entrepreneurs usually come and participate in the annual IMC exhibition. But the physical exhibition will be difficult this year. So, we are mulling over having a showcase virtually. We do not want these entrepreneurs to lose hope.
What will this virtual programme be?
We are building on a plan where we can run a virtual exhibition where these entrepreneurs can exhibit their products. So, they do not lose out on anything. This will be an online event but we will make sure that a physical exhibition takes place as and when everything is back to normal.
As of now, the entrepreneurs have invested a lot of money, and we do not want them to suffer for the goods that they have made.
What happens if these women entrepreneurs decide to forgo entrepreneurship due to the crisis?
These women have already put in a lot of investments to build these inventories that they cannot back out. These entrepreneurs may go for a distressed sale most probably (but they might not let go).
We do not want these entrepreneurs to be discouraged at all. We will do whatever is there in our capacity.
Our aim is to give preference to first-timers who do not have a physical presence. In our exhibition, we give a platform to those who cannot afford to have shops and options to publicise their work.
We will continue to support these talents in whatever way we can. This is why we want this online activity so that these women entrepreneurs do not have to struggle to get publicity. IMC’s social media team will take care of the publicity. While IMC will take care of such activities, these entrepreneurs will only have to keep their inventories ready.
In this competitive world, one needs to spend a lot to get some exposure.
What is the theme for this year?
The theme looking at the present scenario is ‘WE Elevate’. W stands for woman and E is the environment. We have harmed our environment and now we need to do whatever we can to protect it. So, we decided that we will combine women empowerment with the environment.
What will your advice be to all these women entrepreneurs?
Don’t lose courage, but hold on. We will all bounce back, it is just a matter of time.