Cultivated as a catalyst to provide solutions to the gender gap, Ladies Who Lead by Aabha Bakaya is Mumbai’s first-of-its-kind community for career women (both entrepreneurs and professionals). The platform enables the exchange of ideas, business experiences and learnings, and strategic opportunities and resources to help career women meet their professional goals. It also celebrates ladies who lead through professional accolades, strong moral fibres, and admirable lifestyles. 

In conversation with TC46, Aabha Bakaya shares three business lessons that helped her achieve success, talks about what it’s like to help young ladies navigate professional challenges, set goals, and work hand-in-hand in the community, and emphasises on the importance of collaborating with people who ‘get you’.

1. What’s your educational & professional background?

I studied media & communication at UNSW in Sydney, Australia and have been a broadcast journalist for 15 years. I’ve recently turned entrepreneur with AB Network and my platform, Ladies Who Lead. 

2. What prompted the idea for Ladies Who Lead?

There are so many boys’ clubs and networking events. I wanted to build a serious space for women in business to engage and interact in a meaningful way so that they can help each other accelerate their business, create long-term plans and catalyse grow. The idea is to build networks for mutual success.

3. Did you always know you wanted to work in this space?

I think it evolved and happened very organically. I’m pleasantly surprised every day at how opportunities unfold and I can see we are filling a need in the ecosystem. This gives me the conviction to continue to build the brand. 

4. What was your first milestone & how did you get there?

We have had several successful events across formats from networking dinners, fireside chats and panel discussions. We have also had an overwhelming number of Instagram live session views, and attendees at our Zoom Masterclasses through the last 6 months. Today we have several established brands, including those from our own community that we proudly associated with.

5. What are your tips for an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to enter this space?

A lot of people are looking to build micro-communities and there is a use case for it. The more targeted your community is, the better as people have a range of options these days and want to spend time on a platform they feel is useful and personalised to their goals and needs.  

6. What were the 3 best business/financial decisions you made?

Lesson 1: Learning to value the services you offer, and yourself. 

Lesson 2: Creating value for your customer, your client, and your community.

Lesson 3: Learning to find a balance between growth and sustainability.

7. How long did it take you to monetise your venture? 

The inflection point was fairly early on as we found we had created a platform, a voice, and a call to action that people resonated with and wanted to be a part of. That had its own organic snowball effect. Early partnerships are what helped us grow and monetise our events and meetups.

8. Are you looking for funding for your business?

We have several interested strategic investors at this stage that we are happy to court. We are grateful that they see our vision in building this network. 

9. Who are the key early employees one needs to secure to work in this space?

  • Someone who understands the digital space well.
  • Someone who understands partnerships and can manage events. 
  • Finally, and something we’re still looking for – someone to work on business development to balance the creative side of the team. 

10. How do you intend to scale up your business in the future?

We will soon be opening a paid membership version for our package which would provide members access to exclusive events, luxury offerings and more exciting and curated opportunities.

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About Self-Starters

We spotlight inspiring women who are entrepreneurs or have skill-based passion projects and are willing to share knowledge, advice and tips about getting started in the space. Each Self-Starter’s story will be highlighted in a prime slot on the Homepage for a whole week, after which their story will appear under the ‘Work’ category on The Channel 46.