The startup ecosystem in India is yet to see more women leading the way. While many women leaders have set up successful businesses, the numbers are still skewed. They may have brilliant ideas to start up, but often lack the support and guidance necessary to give wings to their dreams.
Female educators such as Savitribai Phule, Begum Zafar Ali, Durgabai Deshmukh, Kadambini Ganguly & Chandramukhi Basu worked tirelessly to provide quality education. However, their contributions have been suppressed in front of male educators like Rabindranath Tagore, BR Ambedkar and many others, thanks to a patriarchal society.
Nonetheless, here are some women educators still working hard to bring quality education, and this time they are donning the edtech entrepreneur hat.
Vidhu Goyal, WONK App
Vidhu Goyal launched the WONK App in 2016- India’s first AI-powered mobile application that streamlines the process of connecting tutors within a specified geographical area, to students and parents. The idea of this app was born when Vidhu was unable to find a verified home tutor. WONK services include verified tutors at pre-negotiated fees, payment of tuition fees through EMIs, and tutor swap. The platform has 35,00 registered expert tutors, and over 27,000 students and parents. WONK also received the Digital Innovation Award from the Government of Haryana in 2018.
Akanksha Chaturvedi, Eduauraa
Akansha Chaturvedi founded Eduauraa to provide quality education at an affordable cost. Eduauraa offers educational content for students from class six to 10 in maths, physics, chemistry, and biology. The syllabus for CBSE, ICSE, and seven state boards are available in Hindi and English for packages ranging from ₹ 999 to ₹ 2,499 per year. Premium subscribers get 1.25 lakh hours of entertainment across genres and languages, and the subscription also includes value-added services like e-books and test papers.
Dr. Mona Mathur, Million Sparks Foundation
Ninety percent of teachers lack up-to-date skills, motivation, and training to research new interesting ways of teaching. This acute issue gave birth to Million Sparks Foundation (MSF) in 2016, a non-profit that focuses on creating free mobile and web learning tools and platforms. The organisation also curates world-class content from various sources and organises it for the relevant curriculum. With over 85 percent success rate, MSF nudges teachers through personalisation and automatic/manual follow-ups to ensure completion of training. Due to these efforts, MSF was awarded as the most innovative ed-tech startup in the Asia Pacific at BETT Asia 2019 in Malaysia, and the best Indian tech startup award by the Global Edtech Startup Awards 2018 at the Learnit Conference in London, January 2019.
Aashi Sharma, Edubull
Delhi-based Aashi Sharma co-founded Edubull, an e-learning platform and app in 2018 with content curated by academicians and teachers from prestigious schools and colleges. Aashi set up Edubull with a dream to provide content for every learner, and teaching technology for every tutor and educational institution. The Edtech startup offers over 3,000 courses, 10,000 exams, and 50 certifications. The platform offers free tutorials and branded content at ₹ 999 per year. The app witnessed a 300 percent boost in the Covid-19 lockdown period, and is aiming to reach 3 lakh users by the end of 2020. In addition to this, Edubull is also set to launch another platform, e-professor, designed to help institutions and individual teachers take their operations online.
Ashwitha Reddy Chinnamail and Suchitra Reddy Chinnamail, Level App
Ashwitha Reddy Chinnamail and Suchitra Reddy Chinnamail, founded Level App in 2016 as a personalised tutoring solution that fits every student's needs. The Hyderabad based app provides both subscription and instant learning. Every year, Level App organises ‘Each One, Teach One’, a social campaign to help teach the needy. The sisters are constantly tapping into the opportunity in Tier II and III towns, and rural areas in India. Another unique feature about Level App is that women comprise 60 percent of the development team, 75 percent of tutors, and 100 percent of the IoS app development team.
The female literacy rate in India is lower than men. Though the gap is bridging slowly, it will take years for women to be at par with men in every field. And yet, the good news is that women today are becoming self-sufficient and are working towards empowering each other one step at a time. The efforts made by these women entrepreneurs can be best summed up in Michelle Obama’s words, “When women are educated, their countries become stronger and more prosperous.”
(Edited by Anju Narayanan)