Meet Medarisha Lyngdoh, an emerging woman entrepreneur from Shillong
Hailing from Shillong in Meghalaya, Medarisha Lyngdoh is one of the emerging women entrepreneurs of Northeast India in the field of e-business.
In a conversation with The Northeast Today (TNT), Lyngdoh spoke about her journey and her association with eSamudaay, a platform for small local entrepreneurs.
Who is Medarisha?
Medarisha comes from a large family with seven siblings. A strong, independent, and enterprising person, Medarisha never shies away from any kind of job that enriches her experience.
"I did my first summer job when I was 16. I wanted to grow beyond this small town and to do that, I knew I had to dream bigger and find ways to achieve it," she said.
She did most of her schooling and college in Shillong, then went to Banaras Hindu University to complete her Masters in Computer Application.
She started her career with TCS as an engineer and was a part of the State Bank of India Core Banking Solution team. Over the last 15+ years, she has worked with multiple customers in the financial domain to help them with data analytics and business intelligence.
Medarisha's journey as an "enabler"
When asked what convinced her to jump to e-commerce and work for eSamudaay, Medarisha said, "I have always wanted to make a difference in the community and not just be a passive member. When I was approached to be part of eSamudaay, it was almost instinctive that I had to do it."
eSamudaay provides an opportunity to impact the community positively, she said, adding, "It is a revolutionary movement that strives to enable people to take control of their markets and not be taken over by a monopoly."
According to her, the eSamudaay’s model empowers and gives ownership to the community. "Our role is only to be enablers and not controllers. I was personally excited to be part of a movement to impact our community and country at large," she added.
Problems most women entrepreneurs face
Medarisha pointed out that women entrepreneurs from the region still need a little bit of push and the right platform for them to exhibit their skills.
"When we ran the campaign to get entrepreneurs, we received thousands of applicants and none of them were women. We knew that to empower a community one crucial aspect is to empower women," she said.
The constraints women face are different from men and via the eSamudaay's campaign, Medarisha looks forward to helping mitigate the constraint, and empower them to be able to set up a business, and become revenue generators not only for themselves but for the community they belong to.
"I come from a matrilineal community where women are empowered much more than most societies. I have seen the tenacity of women who have built empires from abject poverty. We need to tap on this tenacity of women all over India, to take control and do something that will not only enrich them but their whole community as well," she observed,
With the "Kamaal ke 10" campaign, our objective is to have at least 30 per cent (hopefully 50 per cent) of the L(Local)-Commerce entities on eSamudaay be woman-operated.
"As a small/home business owner, I want to get a platform where I can sell in my locality/town without having to worry about logistics like a physical store and delivery. eSamudaay provides that platform where I can start small and grow as and when I am ready," she said.
The eSamudaay’s technology platform provides the local entrepreneurs, producers, sellers, delivery agents with all the digital tools necessary to be able to run multi-seller, multi-category digital marketplaces in their community.
Challenges to building an India-centric solution
"I see challenges as an opportunity in disguise. For example, a language barrier in a multilingual country like India has resulted in solutions that ensure personalisation and also create a flavour of uniqueness," Medarisha said.
One major challenge is the range of internet speed in India, which can be as good as 100Mbps in cities and as low as 256Kbps in smaller towns. To reach these areas, one needs to build products that can be supported by mobile phones (lower internet speed and offline usage).
Opportunities in India
"We see that India is a diverse country with so many diverse products and cultures. This instinctively calls for localisation of markets and offerings. Localisation will build on the positive of culture and community and allow people to connect with like-minded people for business and social needs," she pointed out.
Message for aspiring women entrepreneurs
"I have always had a curious mind with a desire to 'Create Something out of Nothing'. I believe knowledge is never wasted however irrelevant it seems at that point. Knowledge gained always comes to use at some point in the future in ways one may not expect," Medarisha said.
"I truly believe that if we can achieve what we set out to do, we would be part of the solution to enable the local entrepreneurs to scale and retain the value within the community," she added.
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