From modest beginnings, Kamala Raghunath’s business expanded exponentially once she joined a networking platform, offered by WEConnect International, that enabled her to break through the corporate hierarchy.
“As a small woman-owned business, the networking platforms that were introduced to me were immense,” said Ms. Raghunath.
It all started after she earned an engineering degree in Bangalore. Ms. Raghunath decided that a 9 to 5 work environment did not appeal to her and starting her own business was the right move. She founded R K Industries, which allowed her to determine her own schedule.
The business began by manufacturing 50 small, complimentary quartz watches framed in sandalwood for the local market. Soon 50 became 100 and then a large order of 3,000 watches paved the way for innovation and growth.
Earning a national and global reputation as a reliable manufacturer and supplier of designer clocks in wood, acrylic and metal quickly followed. As demand increased, Raghunath further diversified into corporate gifting and expanded her business to Gift Links, which caters to corporate India’s vast gifting and promotional needs.
With still more expansion in mind, Raghunath joined WEConnect International. Participating in many WEConnect International events in India, Texas and Florida gave her the opportunity to network her way to corporate contacts previously beyond her reach.
In addition, Kamala gained invaluable insights from other WBE’s.
“It made a difference to know that you were not the only one facing certain issues in running your business,” she said.
Through WEConnect International, Gift Links has solidified partnerships with IBM, Accenture, and has become a preferred vendor for Corporate Merchandise and Promotional Gifts at Ernst & Young (EY).
Raghunath’s success is undeniable. When asked if she had faced certain challenges as a woman entrepreneur, Raghunath said that in retrospect, she feels that as a woman entrepreneur in those earlier years, a hesitance to take big risks was her only limitation.
“I was not a very big risk-taker and so I was following the old school business growth and development model, where business developed slowly and steadily,” she said. “It probably would have increased more quickly had I been able to take the big risks that big businesses take in terms of financial support, business strategies, etc.
“Every small business should strive to earn profits and review them regularly. This keeps the embers of the entrepreneur fire alive and vibrant and it will drive them to increase those figures.”
Today, she continues to share her knowledge and vast experience by mentoring women entrepreneurs through women’s organizations like WEConnect International.