Shradha Sharma's YourStory.in features inspiring stories of innovative entrepreneurs
Success has been Shradha Sharma's constant friend. As a student, she consistently topped the class. She was a star in the media houses she worked for. Therefore, when she started a website (YourStory.in) for entrepreneurs to share their stories, success seemed guaranteed. But, for the first time, Shradha had to struggle hard to be successful.
The difficulties she faced were partly of her own making. She decided not to chase entrepreneurs who have made it big, but only those on the fringes. And then, she wanted to open the web pages for start-ups in social, rural and environment sectors, not just those in the technology sector. And, worst of all, she decided not to charge the fledgling entrepreneurs.
After two years, Shradha seems to have pulled off the impossible. With 47,000 registered members and three lakh readers, her website is alive and kicking. Recognition has come from many quarters, which includes the ‘Villgro Journalist of the Year 2010' Award and a NASSCOM award. However, the most significant sign of the venture's success is its ability to sustain itself.
“When you have numerous and outstanding innovators with you, the big guys will beat a path to your door. But the initial days of the venture were anything but easy,” says Shradha. Today, big companies and investors looking for promising start-ups approach YourStory.in. And they pay a fee for the services.
For Shradha, seeing brilliant innovators from obscure regions entering the mainstream is part of the reward. Many of the innovations in the pages of YourStory.in are things that most of us ignore or take for granted in our daily lives. For example, Srinivas Mahesh Reddy has devised tamper-proof mechanisms for vending machines. They protect the interests of the consumer and the manufacturer. In addition, he has a solution to stop avoidable oil and water spillages from tanker-lorries on the move. Then, there is Bhise, who has used the front portion of the bicycle to create a multipurpose faring instrument that performs tilling, weeding and harrowing operations.
Showcasing such stories makes Shradha's job enjoyable. Every day, YourStory.in has at least seven to eight stories that have to be translated, cleaned, rewritten and readied for publication. Shradha, who is based in Bangalore, works with a team that is spread across the country. This team is not totally desk-bound, but also reports from the field. “We have our eyes and ears in places where innovations are likely to happen. For example, we are in touch with students in numerous campuses around the country. Success is sometimes very, very hard work,” smiles Shradha.