This Woman-Led Upskilling Platform Empowers Common Indian Women

By: WE Staff

Nishtha Yogesh, Founder and CEO of Hunar Online Courses, is revolutionizing women's empowerment in India through practical education. Her vision is to provide accessible, real-world skills for financial independence. With government-certified courses, personalized support, and inspiring success stories, Hunar is shaping a future where every Indian woman thrives in her chosen field.

In Hyderabad, India, Hunar Online Courses is changing lives for women. Nishtha Yogesh, the Founder and CEO, strongly believes that education and practical skills can truly empower women. Hunar is dedicated to helping Indian homemakers achieve financial independence through courses tailored to their needs.

Nishtha's journey is all about using entrepreneurship to empower women. In today's world, where women are taking on more significant roles, Hunar is right on trend. The platform goes beyond typical courses, focusing on creative skills like fashion design and makeup, making education directly applicable to real life.

Our conversation with Nishtha delves into why she started Hunar and how it's positively impacting women. It gives us a glimpse of Nishtha's commitment to making education accessible and empowering for women. She shares her vision for Hunar, aligning with the growing trend of online education.

Hunar's approach is simple yet powerful: it aims to bridge the gap for educated homemakers, offering not just knowledge but also practical skills. Nishtha's leadership stands out, showcasing how Hunar is creating a positive impact in the world of education and women's empowerment. With a straightforward and impactful strategy, Hunar is making education work for every woman's journey toward financial independence.

Here are choice excerpts from the conversation where Nishtha sheds light on the how and why behind the program.

Rachita: Can you give us an introduction of who you are and a bit about your current ventures?

Nishta: Certainly. I am Nishta, and I hail from Hyderabad. Growing up in a family that values gender equality fuelled my aspirations to dream big. I embarked on a career in chartered accountancy, achieving the distinction of becoming the youngest chartered accountant in the country at that time. Following this, I spent three years at KPMG, gaining diverse insights into various industries that laid the groundwork for my business acumen.

At the age of 21, I co-founded my first business, focusing on CA education, which we successfully operated for about two and a half years before its sale. Subsequently, I took on a role with a prominent Hyderabad group, leading the creation and launch of an e-commerce fashion portal. After a rewarding two-year stint, I pursued an MBA in entrepreneurship at Babson College in Boston, globally renowned for entrepreneurship and family business education.

During my time at Babson, the concept of Hunar was conceived, and we've been actively developing it since. Recently recognized in Business World's 30 under 30 list as one of the founders to watch, my life, like many entrepreneurs, predominantly revolve around my business.

Rachita: Nishtha, can you share the inspiration behind founding Hunar Online Courses? What led you to create a platform specifically focused on empowering women through skill development?

Nishtha: Hunar's inception was rooted in the transformative power of education and skill development, inspired by my mother's work. Witnessing the positive impact of skill acquisition, particularly in fields like fashion and design, I envisioned extending this opportunity to women across India. The rise of online education provided the perfect avenue to make education accessible, practical, and tailored to the unique needs of Indian homemakers.

Rachita: Your journey from chartered accountancy to entrepreneurship is intriguing. How did your background and experiences shape the vision for Hunar?

Nishtha: My background in chartered accountancy instilled a strong work ethic and resilience. Working in the corporate sector, I gained valuable insights into various industries, setting the stage for my understanding of business. However, it was the stark realization of the disparities faced by women, coupled with my entrepreneurial spirit, that led to the creation of Hunar. I wanted to bridge the gap by providing affordable and convenient access to practical education, specifically tailored to the needs of homemakers.

Rachita: The concept of 'Hunar' is fascinating. Can you delve into how the idea for this online learning platform, with a focus on creative skills, came into being?

Nishtha: The seed for Hunar was planted through my mother's work as a fashion design teacher. Witnessing the transformative journey of women learning new skills and becoming entrepreneurs in their own right fuelled the idea. The challenge was making this transformation accessible on a larger scale. The rise of online education in 2016 provided the perfect platform. The vision was clear to offer practical courses that empower women to achieve financial independence. Hunar aims to address the vast market of educated but unemployed homemakers in India.

Rachita: It's impressive how you are addressing the unique needs of Indian homemakers through your courses. How do you reach out to women, and what's the process of getting them involved in Hunar Online Courses?

Nishtha: Our outreach primarily leverages social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp. We invite women to experience free trials of our courses through our app or website, allowing them to sample the content. Following this, we engage with them, guiding the sign-up process. Additionally, we conduct physical workshops in different cities, creating opportunities for direct interaction. The goal is to make the learning experience accessible and convenient for women across diverse backgrounds.

Rachita:  Which courses are the most sought-after among women, and are there government-recognized courses offered on Hunar?

Nishtha: All our courses are government-certified through the National Skill Development Corporation. In terms of popularity, courses in bridal makeup, dessert-making, baking, and garment-making stand out. These courses align with the aspirations of women looking to gain financial independence within their communities. The focus is on practical skills with immediate real-world applications, making the learning experience meaningful and outcome-oriented.

Rachita: Ensuring the practicality and effectiveness of courses is crucial. How does Hunar ensure that the skills taught are not just theoretical but applicable in real-life situations?

Nishtha: The effectiveness of our courses rests on three pillars. First, our curriculum is designed to create marketable products or services, not just theoretical knowledge. Second, we provide 24/7 access to faculty support, allowing students to address doubts and receive guidance in real-time. Lastly, students are required to produce and submit their work at intervals during the courses, ensuring practical application. Our support system extends beyond course completion, guiding students from skill acquisition to successfully entering the market.

Rachita: The impact of Hunar on women's lives is commendable. Can you share some inspiring success stories of women who have transformed their lives through your courses?

Nishtha: There are numerous inspiring stories, but one notable example comes from a small village in Haryana. A woman who completed our bridal makeup course became the go-to makeup artist in her area, breaking stereotypes and inspiring others. Another success story involves a woman who, after completing our boutique management course, not only opened her boutique but expanded, providing employment to others in her community. These stories reflect the tangible transformation and empowerment that women experience through Hunar.

Rachita: Looking ahead, what are your plans and aspirations for Hunar? How do you envision the platform evolving and expanding in the coming years?

Nishtha: Our vision for Hunar is ambitious to be the go-to platform for every Indian woman seeking practical skills leading to financial independence. In the next five years, we aim to reach 10 million women, offering diverse skills for job opportunities or entrepreneurship. We plan to expand our course categories, increase regional presence, and explore partnerships for effective outreach. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that every educated woman in India has access to practical education, breaking barriers and empowering them, irrespective of their background.

Rachita: That's a compelling vision for the future, Nishta. As we wrap up our conversation, do you have any advice or words of wisdom for aspiring women entrepreneurs or individuals aiming to make a positive impact through their work?

Nishta: Absolutely. Firstly, trust your instincts; they are a powerful guide, often leading you in the right direction. Secondly, break free from societal norms that might try to define your path. Believe in your dreams, even if they challenge traditional expectations for women. Break stereotypes and shatter glass ceilings. Thirdly, build a network of mentors and a robust support system. You don't have to navigate the journey alone; seek guidance and support when needed. Fourthly, never cease learning. Education and self-improvement are ongoing processes. Embrace opportunities for growth and evolution. Lastly, when you achieve success, leverage it to empower others. Pay it forward and extend help to those who may not have encountered similar opportunities. Your success is a platform for driving positive change and enhancing the world.