Promoting entrepreneurship among women – Ms. Uma Gopalan, President of Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE)


AWAKE – Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka is a not-for-profit, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) founded in Bangalore, India, functioning towards ‘ Empowerment of women via entrepreneurship development programs to develop their financial condition ‘.

In an exclusive interaction with SME Venture, Ms. T. M. Uma Gopalan, the president of Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE), said that “AWAKE strives to promote entrepreneurship among women as a means to achieve self reliance and socio-economic independence.  AWAKE provides support and guidance to aspiring women from rural, urban, national and international arenas to be successful entrepreneurs, irrespective of their age, academic, social, economic background. “

Here is the citation of interview that we have been organized with Ms. Uma Gopalan

  1. When did you elect as president of the association of women entrepreneurs Karnataka and What are the major activities performed under your association?

I have been selected as a president of the association on 22nd July 2017. There are major activities performed under our association  such as Entrepreneurship Awareness Program,  Entrepreneurship Development Program, Development Program in Food Processing, Skill Development program in Handmade Paper Products, Skill Development program in Chemicals Based Products and Computer Hardware and Networking and many more

  1. Can you explain future proposed projects of your association towards SMEs?

We are striving for more and more developments and welfare programs regarding small-scale industries. In the upcoming days, we want to plan several Entrepreneurship Awareness and development Programs, along with various exhibitions which surely going to help the entrepreneurs. Another important project we are targeting to hold. That is setting up cold storage and incubation in various fields like a bakery, cut fruits, and vegetables.

  1. How many members are there in your association and which are the departments come under your authority.

In our association of women entrepreneurs Karnataka, we comprise total 3500 members.

We got the departments in industry and commerce, such as MSME,  KSWDC, NI MSME, NSIC, Banks, KSFC etc,.And there are many industries coming under our association such as manufacturing, food processing, electrical and electronics, mechanical, automobile and many more.

  1. What are the recent projects undertaken by the association of women entrepreneurs Karnataka?

Already we have taken very advantageous projects and schemes for women entrepreneurs Recently we conducted Entrepreneurship Awareness Program in Various Colleges and Entrepreneurship Development Program Throughout DIC.

Skill Development Program in Hand Made Paper Products, Homemade Chocolate Making, Catering Skill Training on Series along with an intensive campaign on NSIC schemes for MSME’s Though NSIC  are the major activities undertaken by us recently.

Online Marketing Through Encovate and Financial Schemes By BNI and  Star Health Insurance and Online Market support through – Mindtree and KSW&CD  (Loan Under Udhyogini Schemes for Women Entrepreneurs) and  Online Market support through Shopmatic & Amazon / KVIB Schemes Is there any larger issue that you are trying to address?

  1. Is there any larger issue that you are trying to address?

Years ago, it was rare to find women entrepreneurs playing the big leagues in the business world. Opportunities were rare and men dominated the game. Times have changed, though, and currently, women are at the helm of businesses globally despite the challenges they have had to face as opposed to their male counterparts such as Marketing, Finance, B2B, Digital Marketing, Exhibition for women Entrepreneurs, Joint venture, Dissimination of new technology at free of cost

  1. When did you start your journey of entrepreneurs and how was it?

I started the company called U M Fiber Works in 1985 in Bangalore. And started structural Adhesive and Polymers in1990. Also started U M Traders in Coimbatore in 1987.

Every successful startup has three things in common: putting together a fantastic team, understanding what their customers want, and to cut down costs maintaining the quality of a product or service. Any startup that can achieve these goals, will be able to succeed. Of course, it will take some time, but eventually, everyone succeeds if they are all on the same page. The good news is that all of these goals are hard but doable. If others can do it, so can you.

  1. Which are the challenges you have been faced in your association?

We live in rapidly changing times, especially for businesses. Consider that, in a single generation, businesses have had to adapt to entirely new marketing channels (web and social), decide how to invest in and utilize new technologies, and compete on a global stage — things that were barely imaginable to our parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

One side effect of these rapid changes and growth is that no single president — or any employee, for that matter — can be an expert in everything. This has been, perhaps, always true, but it has never been more apparent.

This is why, in my opinion, some of the biggest challenges associations face today are best met and addressed with qualified consultants & past presidents. Bringing on a consultant helps organization add the expertise and skills they need to address particular problems at particular times and can provide the best possible outcomes.

Just a few of the challenges I see members facing that are best addressed with the help of a consultant include: I faced certain challenges which I would like to explain in brief

Being able to predict customer trends, market trends, etc. are vital to a changing economic climate, but not every woman has like Warren Buffett-like predictive powers. Bringing in a consultant trained in reading and predicting those all-important trends could be the difference between a bright future and a murky one.

Many presidents I know are ideas people; that means they’re great at the big picture and disruptive thinking, but less well with things like cash flow, profit margins, reducing costs, financing, etc. An organization like AWAKE  may not require a full-time CFO but would do better to employ a financial consultant who can step into the role as needed

Using a meaningful set of rounded performance indicators that provide the organization with insights about how well it is performing is key. Most heads  I know are not experts in how to develop KPIs, how to avoid the key pitfalls and how to best communicate metrics so that they inform decision-making. In most cases, associations rely on overly simple finance indicators that just clog up the corporate reporting channels.


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