Embracing humanitarian, one child at a time

Priya Virmani is a political and economic analyst. She is the founder and director of Paint Our World – a humanitarian project that works with underprivileged children

Q: What has made you so successful as an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur for me begins with a mindset. A mindset that then plays itself out – one way it does that is through new ventures you set up. This requires a quiet confidence (not a brash one) and resilience. I keep working on myself to develop resilience. A certain thought process that works purposefully for me and continues to be a source of quiet confidence and inner strength, is perceiving failure as feedback and learning. And the journey of life can only get more purposeful as we learn with the feedback our mistakes give us.

Q: How do you define true entrepreneurship? What is the importance of working women or women entrepreneurs ?

For me genuine entrepreneurship is posited on the conviction that my venture will result in value creation for myself and for others.

For a woman to work or be a entrepreneur – that should be entirely her own choice. Choice is what is fundamental to all – men and women. A woman, just as with a man, ought to have the freedom to exercise her choice that allows her to fulfill her fullest potential. The process of work and of being an entrepreneur enables enormous learning and this learning usually adds to one’s identity and self reliance. Working, and entrepreneurship in particular, can be a most empowering journey as long as we stay committed to being resilient with what we believe in and more importantly our self-belief in the face of hurdles which are often inevitable.

Q: How did you deal with the glitches that come running a startup ?

The glitches are many and it is not unusual to get disheartened at times and very disillusioned with the system. However, it is these very same challenges that allow the opportunity to think out of the box, to solution find and grow. And even if I feel weighed down at times, I get right back up and employ my energy to bring innovative and imaginative thinking to bear on the problems. And the evidence of the beauty of my venture gives me the positive ammunition.

Q: What inspired you to initiate a startup/concept like this ?

The desire to make a meaningful difference. The number of children abused in India according to Government figures released in 2007 is 150 million girls and 73 million boys, and this figure equals more than the combined populations of the UK, Germany and France. The empowerment model I have developed is posited on rigorous psychological research, is cost-effective and scalable. Most of all, we are seeing visible and measurable improvements in our children’s behaviour and I am proud and humbled to report that they are all going to good schools now.

Q: What is your go-to marketing strategy?

Simple – self belief and belief in my venture.

Q: What is your Life Mantra?

To believe in my caterpillar struggle – without which I would not have developed my butterfly wings 🙂

Q: Any powerful message to the women clan about life, work, social stereotype?

Do not shy away from obstacles – be they social, emotional or financial. Obstacles come our way to help us develop our best selves. Use courage in the face of problems. Obstacles give us this chance to exercise the muscle called courage. Like the exercise of muscles makes them stronger, facing our fears develops courage. And when you tackle life courageously, ultimately (even if quietly) even your greatest detractors whether from the family or the outside world will take note of you, they will develop respect (even if grudgingly) for you. All this is great, yet, you are doing what you believe in for none of this – these are just likely consequences. Make a choice to live courageously so that you take charge of the script of your life rather than living a life scripted by others for you. And become an inspiration for others. Remeber – it is YOUR life, and YOUR journey!