Entrepreneur is not an easy term, neither to spell nor to be. For a young organisation to flourish there are more hurdles to cross. On one Monday morning as I sat through the Young Urban Women Leaders Summit organised by ActionAid, I could relate to most of the struggles that the panelists talked of. Those were the one we have faced as Hidden-Pockets in the past one year of our existence.
Jasmine Lovely George, Founder of Hidden-Pockets, was one of the speakers on the panel discussing Global and Local trends in working with young women. We had 3 other panelists from AWID, CREA and Japleen Pasricha, Founder of Feminism in India. Here’s sharing a few dominant trends in order to give some solace to all young organisations who are struggling to make a difference. Whether you are a man or woman, it doesn’t matter. This happens with all.
The trends are as follows:
1.Too many applicants and too little funds for specific causes.
There are limited number of Funds that organisations from around the world apply to. And a very few get shortlisted and even fewer get the fund ultimately.Be it bigger organisations or the younger ones the fund remains unchanged.
Once we met a participant in one of our walks who happened to be a young entrepreneur and the topic of funding popped up from nowhere. We could only chuckle as we had applied to the same funds and both of our proposals had been rejected, which called for a chai and a ranting session!
2.Crowdsourcing materials for online portals help.
Asking people to write for us always lessens our burden. It also gives a platform to the budding writers. It’s a win win for both sides. Feminism in India, an award-winning intersectional feminist digital platform shared this piece of useful information for us. It started as a Facebook page three years back and now has more than 500 articles, publishing 3-4 articles a day on its website. So that’s the power of crowdsourcing!
3. Look for advise from your seniors.
We always look up to our elders for advise. Their first hand experience matters a lot since they can help us avoid doing the same mistakes. Guide us through the lengthy and draining procedures. Most importantly a statement such as ‘It happens, it’s usual.’ ‘It happened to us as well.’ gives a boost and a ‘We shall overcome’ feeling takes over. We have been lucky in this matter since our seniors have always lent a helping hand, through words of advise and moral boost-ups from time to time.
4. Monetary & Evaluation (M&E) handling is toughest for all young organisations.
M&E is the part where you need to discuss the project expenditure in a great detail under technical headings that half the time we do not get. There are experts specially hired for this work. And we definitely do not have the funds to hire one. We were always very confident with our proposal but the ghost of M&E always haunted us. We even got our friends on board and did sit through with them to help us crack the crypt of M&E but in vain. We have faced rejections only because of this monster.
5. Skill sharing helps.
While we discussed our shortcomings and difficulties we also talked something useful. Collaborating with fellow organisations, sharing our skills is a useful way to combat these difficulties. It’s cost effective and organisations do what they are best in resulting in a good product. AWID teaches us how to create contents through its webinars, Feminism in India taught us social media tools, from FRIDA we can learn crowdsourcing.
While we felt a feeling of oneness as we discussed, we did feel light inside as we now knew there are more people out there who are facing similar issues. We are not the only ones. We have more folks around us to look for support.