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Kick Starting our Entrepreneurship Journey to Break the Bias

Over a year ago Nupur Khandelwal & Reka Tokes co-founded SheRocks! They came together with a unified vision to elevate and advance women by helping them be more confident. We had a fireside chat with Nupur and Reka to learn more about their entrepreneurship journey.

Qs: What worked?

Nupur: We started with an idea and it is surreal to see it ignite and now be burning bright. We’ve had engagements with women from vulnerable communities, post-secondary and high school students, newcomers to Canada and professionals in the workplace. I am most proud of our team of talented women that bring diverse life experiences to rally our cause.

Reka: When we introduced our vision, the response was (and still is) overwhelming, every single one of them said, yes, we need this, we need to empower and support feeling more confident. It is very reassuring to hear that and to know we are on the right path. The team is amazing. They are knowledgeable, dedicated and super fun to work with - I can’t wait to get together in person again. On that note, another thing that worked really well is establishing the company, bringing together a team, designing our programs - all virtually!

Qs: What didn’t work and what did you do?

Reka: The best thing about our team is that all of us are open to new solutions and approaches, so if something doesn’t work, we quickly look for new ways. When we realized the initial program length was too long, we shortened it. Talking to teens we’ve discovered that certain platforms don’t work for high school girls, so we’ve adapted. As co-founders we constantly balance giving freedom and direction to the team, incorporating their feedback.

Nupur: We’ve had many bumps and roadblocks along the way. It has been daunting, especially when we are faced by unknowns and situations that we have never encountered before. At times we called time-outs and shifted our approach. Other times we kept moving ahead with the conviction that we wouldn’t know if our ideas would work until we tried them out. We’re taking an active approach to learning.

Qs: What is your message in light of the International Women’s Day 2022 theme, Break the Bias?

Reka: Breaking the bias starts with women, not asking for change but making change, every day. As a leader, speak up in every situation when others need you to advocate for them. Champion and acknowledge other brilliant women every time you see them succeed.

Nupur: Know your passion, dream big and pursue your dreams. Every so often, I see talented women shortchanging themselves by trying to pursue what others think they should be doing. It is ok to focus on what matters to you because YOU matter!

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Ask an expert: What skill do I need to run a startup? (Harvard Business Review, Jan 2022)

Being proactive while taking an active approach towards learning along with adopting a flexible mindset is key. Seeking founding members with diverse skill set can give the competitive advantage to the start up. As you establish your leadership style focus on building relationships.

Before taking the plunge, prospective entrepreneurs need to know that the path to building a winning business may involve many years of hard work, long hours and little recognition. Key traits like resiliency and self reflection enable aspiring entrepreneurs to go the distance.

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