Mentoring tends to focus on the future and broader skills for personal or career development. Mentoring is as indispensable as start-up capital for the entrepreneurial industry. At the same time, research strongly supports the importance of mentors for entrepreneurial learning. Unlike a management relationship, mentoring relationships tend to be voluntary on both sides. The idea behind mentoring relationships is a semi-charitable one: that the more successful, senior partner, the mentor, wishes to pass on some of what they’ve learned to someone else who will benefit from their experience.
Pia Singh, Head-Government Initiatives & Relations, Startup India Foundation, is also a Strategy Consultant, Author, and a speaker. She has enjoyed many positions in Government, private and Multinational organizations in Operations, Organizational Development, and Strategic Planning. She can align, lead, and grow a world-class Operations team from 10 to 1000 people and she enjoys Strategic Planning, Organizational Development, or Solutions to your business challenges.
Root cause problem solving
Pia explains that the major goal of the Startup India Foundation is to help people do what they are doing in a better optimized and cost-effective way.
“Entrepreneurs, who are running a business, sometimes find themselves in the middle of things with low clarity on how they should proceed. We, at 3 Catalysts, help them find solutions to the challenges that they are facing. That is the reason we have named my department Business Solutions and Advisory - It is the core of what we do - We do root cause problem solving and sum it up with corrective action and preventive action,” she says.
Driving inspiration from a humble background
Pia comes from a middle-class background and she briefly explains as to what inspires her to help guide, and advise others. “An average middle-class family has to struggle to get their children to study in the best of the schools they need to manage cash flows or even take loans to have their children get the required higher education. That is the background I come from - Where culture and values take a front seat instead of money. I did everything that an obedient child is expected to do right from getting high marks to getting higher education from a Science background, government job, a high paying multinational job. But the day I stopped to think about what I wanted to do - a job was never the answer,” she says.
She up-skilled herself, learned the nuances of consulting, did certifications, and worked on projects without getting paid just so that she could learn how things are done in the real world. “The next option was a Startup, and I did try it - but only when I became a mother. And, in the classic trade-off between Motherhood and Career, I chose my daughter. Life as a single mother is not easy and I had so much to offer the world. So, I thought, if I cannot start up, the least I can do is to help people start well!” she says.
Go-to person for solutions
Pia thinks that the Three C's of Mentor-ship Role 1: Consultant. Role 2: Counselor. Role 3: Cheerleader, is an interesting definition of 3 Catalysts that she has heard. “It is the three partners that make 3 Catalyst what it is. I think being an Empath, my major focus is on counseling. That is kind of the right balance between consultation and cheerleading. You know, we have assigned these titles to each other and my namesake is the KeyMaker, The other two are LiveWire and MindSmith. Technically I am the go-to person for solutions in our organization,” she says.
Healthcare at the doorstep
Currently, Pia has been focusing on a new section which is ‘Healthcare at the doorstep’ which has been taking form for the last couple of months. “We are working on a scalable model for Digital Transformation in Healthcare Delivery Optimization to make the Primary Health Care available at the doorstep in Tier 3 and Tier 4 areas of India,” she says.
Embracing New Normal
Pia expresses that she is happy that at least we are talking about the new normal as is and not as abnormal as some people would like to call it. “I think the older we get the more difficult it is to embrace change. I look at it this way - digitization has been talked about for more than half a decade now - the only thing that is different is that the Change is suddenly upon us and we have no choice but to adapt or perish. As an old proverb goes, If you cannot accept it, change it; but if you cannot change it, accept it. And we all know what is the wise choice to make right now,” she says. “As an ever optimist I would say, count it as a blessing! It is just the shift from physical to virtual - Imagine, if instead of your freedom to travel, it was the internet that went off - You would not have the choice to adopt. You are being given a choice - Be grateful, embrace the change and move forward,” she says.
Enjoyed working for Royal Bank of Scotland
Pia has varied experiences of working in Government, private and Multinational organizations in Operations, Organizational Development, and Strategic Planning. But it was multinationals that she enjoyed working with the most, “Especially, Royal Bank of Scotland. Although every sector has its ups and downs, I still believe that multinationals have a better work culture than other sectors comparatively. As for functions, anything that involves making lives better is a welcome field, although, my favorite remains “Strategy”,” she says.
Startup India Foundation helping first-time entrepreneurs
Pia explains how Startup India Foundation is helping first-time entrepreneurs, “It provides everything that a first-time entrepreneur needs on one platform. Served on a palette, if you can say that! From boot camps to incubation and mentorship, Startup India Foundation has the experts from various sectors and fields who can help you to understand how a particular idea or a prototype would work as a business solution, and then help you do it as well,” she says.
Women empowerment and Entrepreneurship
Pia has been juggling multiple roles. She has been undertaking to mentor for Startups as well as Business Expansion, she is a community speaker on women empowerment & entrepreneurship. But she mentions that Women empowerment and Entrepreneurship are hands down her favorite. “I am a feminist to the core, in the right sense of the word. This is what led me to be a mentor for women-owned businesses on ITC SheTrades. This is also why you see me talking about women empowerment most often, and why a woman-owned business gets priority over other start-ups as far as my time is concerned,” she says.
Stand with your people and find out solutions
Pia shares some personal thoughts, “It is OK to be confused, it is OK to be scared, and it is definitely ok to be unaware of what is going to happen. As leaders in your own business or industry, People are looking up to you, not just for the solutions and answers but also for the reassurance that you would stand with them. Try to find out solutions, as unconventional as they might be, that will help you wade through the sea of uncertainty into the light of what lies ahead. Assess where you are and decide where you want to go, and then find a way to do it that is both less painful and more sustainable in the long run,” she says.
(Edited By- Rabia Mistry)