Secrets of Women Entrepreneurship in Bikaner

Dr. Trilok Kumar Jain
Published on: 11th February 2014
Bikaner, a desert city with a population of 5 Lakhs displays rustic features and spiritual orientations, and therefore called the Chhoti Kashi (small Kashi- the holy city of India). Here new technologies are hard to find and new businesses are difficult to start, as traditions and traditional technologies are loved and followed. Kalpana is a home-maker in Bikaner city and prides in the fact that she manages her home well. However, she wanted to contribute something financially also to her home. She didn't want to take a job where she would have to leave her home daily - as she wanted to take care of her small daughter and therefore she decided to do something staying at home. She was exploring alternatives. Finally she was able to start CA coaching centre at her home in online mode (satellite classes). She was the first person in the city to start online satellite based classes.

Her distant relative (brother-in-law) Bharat Jain suggested her to start CA coaching institution in online education mode. She inquired with many CA students and they told her that Bikaner was a small city and they didn't find faculty members to teach many subjects, hence online education could be an acceptable option. This business required investment of approximately Rs. 17 lakhs; hence Kalpana had to explore all the possibilities. She didn't want to take loan. She wanted to start the business with her small savings which were only a few lakhs. The business started as a franchisee of ETEN CA - online classes of Chartered Accountancy course. This was the first online class in Bikaner. There were varied responses to the initiative. She didn't do advertisement or publicity. There was no staff in the beginning. She used her contacts to motivate the CA students to join the coaching classes and Bharat also worked for the same. Kalpana was satisfied that she got 4 students in her first batch. The number might have been small, but Kalpana was contented with the response considering the first time launch. However, she daily communicated with these 4 students to know their problems, their feedback and to provide them required support. These 4 students spread goodwill of the programme and many more students started joining the classes. Kalpana was not comfortable in English as she had studied in Hindi medium and faced problems with computers as her online classes required advanced computer knowledge. Hence, she hired employees for email and other communication.
women entrepreneurship,home maker to business maker
ETEN CA had some of the best faculty of the country in accounting, taxation and other subjects. Renowned tax consultant Girish Ahuja, who was also ETEN CA faculty, visited Bikaner (on his personal trip on the request of CA Association of Bikaner) and this gave an opportunity to Kalpana to spread goodwill. She requested Dr. Girish Ahuja ji to visit ETEN CA also. Dr. Girish Ahuja agreed. Kalpana enabled all the ETEN CA students to interact with Dr. Girish Ahuja ji and this had a positive impact. Next year Praveen Sharma (another renowned ETEN CA faculty) was invited and similar treatment was offered. This further gave an opportunity to extend ownership of the centre to the students. The students felt extremely proud in hosting and receiving these eminent guests.

The CA students studying in ETEN CA were given home-like treatment. These students started treating ETEN CA Bikaner as their own study centre. From the first day, students were given extraordinary freedom, responsibilities, and a sense of trust. Whenever Kalpana had to go out, she would entrust her study centre to the students and show her confidence on them. The students had to stay for long hours at the study centre. One class would be of approx. 3 hour with a break of 10-15 minutes in between. A few students were taking 3 classes a day. Such long hours of study wouldn't be possible without homely support. If some student wanted to eat something, Kalpana was there to provide something home made to them. The students were also provided contacts of nearby food vendors who were told to provide good quality home-prepared food. If any student faced any illness, Kalpana was there to provide required medicines and support. Those students, who were casual or careless, would get motivational words from Kalpana. These constant endeavours enabled the centre to have very good results. The CA final students were able to have almost 80%+ results, while IPCC and CPT Students also had very impressive results. The successful students realised that the true reason behind their success was the centre and they started popularising it.

Today, after 2 years of the ETEN CA's start, it has over 150 students studying in it any time. Now, many companies have opened their franchisees, and considering the success of ETEN CA Bikaner centre, they have started online classes in Bikaner. These new centers put their huge advertisements near the student centre of ETEN CA Bikaner centre. Some of them are able to woo away a few students; however, these new study centers continue to face problems. They give heavy advertisements, hire admission consultants and use extensive publicity to woo the students. However, there is no change in the policies of ETEN CA Bikaner's policies and practices in spite of huge competition now. The old policy of no advertisement, no publicity, and no admission agents still continues. All the classes are still filled to their full capacity. As soon as a new course starts, the seats are filled up. The students share the word of mouth publicity of the new courses and immediately the registrations of the course get completed. Kalpana is satisfied with her progress, however, she now finds herself in a very tight schedule from 5.30 am in morning to 9.30 pm. In addition to CA, now CS classes have also been started. Although she has two motivated centre managers (Darshana and Uma) to manage the centre, she realises that she must continue to pay 100% attention to students so that the centre continues on its success path. The business has restricted her social and personal life substantially. She continues to manage her home and business from the same building. Her business model is simple - to minimise operational expenses without compromising the quality.

As soon as fees are received, the fees are deposited in the ETEN CA's HO account. The Bikaner centre gets 40% share of the revenue to manage the operational expenses, to meet the recurring and non-recurring expenses. In spite of all the care, there are mistakes which are unexpected, unplanned and beyond imagination. Kalpana has to regularly upgrade computers, technologies, systems, software and equipment, which require capital investment. There are also regular repairs and maintenance expenses. As the business grows, the unexpected problems also grow. Kalpana wishes to keep the business growing but doesn't want growing problems. The increased business volume also bring increased stress and work pressure and Kalpana worries whether she would be able to maintain the old system based on the concept of "empowered students" in ETEN CA Bikaner centre. She thinks that it is better to keep the business volume small so that it is within the ambit. When she received the proposal from ETEN Company to start other online classes like CFA, IIT etc., Kalpana plainly refused and asserted that she was happy with what she was doing and was not willing to expand beyond limits.
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