“Usually the ordinary and simple things turn out to be the most extraordinary.”- Pawani Rekha Khandelwal, Founder/CEO, Aatm Nirbhar.
“My mother wanted to learn to ride a scooty and it was a major task to find her a professional trainer.” This is where a beautifully inspiring yet one of a kind journey, of empowering women began.
Pawani Rekha Khandelwal, ,a couple of years ago, realized that it was a complicated job to find for her mother someone professional who could train her to ride a scooty (two-wheeler gear-less scooter). And she couldn’t help but think that it was a need that needed to be catered to; a need for professionals whom women were comfortable with and trusted.
When finally after scouting for a lot of time, she did find a trainer, and after her mother did learn to ride, her mother said, “Mere to pankh lag gaye hain!” (I’ve got wings!)
Those words stirred something within Pawani, and that’s how Aatm Nirbhar came into being.
About Aatm Nirbhar
It’s needless to say that the need for female riding trainers is very off base. We haven’t heard of this need and consequently there isn’t much supply of this need either.
Aatm Nirbhar is a for-women-by women social venture that provides trains women in riding scooties. With HQs in Gurgaon, Haryana, they are a team of 25 people + trainers, working with due diligence to empower women via giving them the gift of mobility.
How often is it that we order something and the rider that comes to deliver it is a man? Almost all of the times. That’s what Aatm Nirbhar is all about changing.
Their primary objective is to take mobility to each and every woman of India. And for that they have a well-skilled team of professional female trainers so that women can learn to ride the two-wheelers with every comfort possible.
Their principal intention is to arrange for all the women a nurturing and comfortable environment where they could fearlessly learn how to ride, without anything worrying them.
When asked what are the core values of the start-up Pawani said, “Our priorities are the quality of training and the safety during training. We go above and beyond our ways to make things convenient for the women we train.” Be it the timings or the location, they always make sure that the women in training are made available all the possible conveniences.
New Beginnings For The Women of Mathura
This venture began in 2017 in Mathura where there seemed to be a lack of entrepreneurial society. A sense of connection was amiss. Women usually felt demotivated despite having good ideas. They couldn’t find validation.
There was a need to develop a community to overcome these challenges and to address these causes Pawani founded the non-profit Aatm Nirbhar Women’s Association. She is also the Founding Curator of Global Shaper’s Mathura, which is a youth-oriented community and comes under the World Economic Forum.
Many Ordinaries Make An Extraordinary
She revealed that what Aatm Nirbhar is trying to do is really very ordinary. It’s just something that hasn’t been paid attention to or hasn’t been considered before. She added that all they’re doing is making riding more accessible for women.
The most fulfilling and important accomplishment of Aatm Nirbhar is that they’ve given a lot of financial independence to a lot of women by way of training them to ride.
The women who trained with them now have the confidence to have an opinion; they understand the value of having a say in matters and all of that has happened because of the confidence these women have gained because they learned how to ride a scooty.
Pawani’s Start-up Tip
Always pay your own salary first because if you can’t pay your own salary how will manage to pay others’. Have loyal people on your team, who believe in your vision. Make sure of finance and HR compliances. Take care of accounting from day one. Be very fierce when it comes to hiring people and don’t settle for the first person you like. Make provisions for at least three months of operational costs.
Starting From Scratch is Always an Option
After one of their very skilled master trainers, who was a great value addition to their team left, Pawani found herself back at square one. She did not know how to train all those women who were reliant on her. She picked herself up and made a point of going to all the trainings and overseeing everything personally. And then, there was no looking back. It has been 3 years since the inception of her startup and it has only flourished since then in giving women a sense of pride, confidence and of course WINGS!
She says, “If you think you’re failing, remember, you can always start from scratch, because if you did it once, you can definitely do it again!” and that’s the kind of spirit and fortitude all of us need.