Radhika Batra is a social entrepreneur and founder of Every Infant Matters which is dedicated at improving the lives of disadvantaged children and ensuring ubiquitous access to healthcare. She has been included in Asia’s FORBES 30 under 30 list of social entrepreneurs.
One of the unfortunate things about having a business-oriented mindset is that we’re creative people. People often call us “the jack of all trades.” Every day, we come up with new business ideas and how we can go about implementing them as soon as possible. How Did You Know When You Had The Right Idea?
“As a young resident doctor, I have always treated patients Who are the poorest of the poor,from slums and villages. But I was not content with what I was doing. I always wanted to do much more and go the extra mile, and find sustainable solutions for health problems of the disadvantaged. I remember one day I was in the clinic and a mother came to me carrying a blind child. I remember the child was angry, he kept hitting his mother and screaming in frustration. Later I found out that the child had become blind recently. I could just imagine how much trauma he was going through, how much she was suffering. I also found that the blindness could have been prevented just by giving two drops of vitamin A. And immediately the thought came to my mind. What are we doing for the two 50 million children in the world who are vitamin a deficiency and are at grave risk of losing their eyesight? This led to the incorporation of every infant matters as a not-for-profit organisation with a mission of preventing irreversible blindness in malnourished children”.
What challenges did you face while switching from Medical to Social Entrepreneurship sector?
“The social entrepreneurship sector is very different from the medical sector. As a doctor your immediate concern is the patient in front of you. Social entrepreneur has a much bigger horizon. There are many things that doctors do not know,, please I know for certain that I had no knowledge of these areas. Fundraising, building resilience, building sustainability, monitoring and evaluation, developing partnerships, preparing budget, all these were new to me.It was like entering a new arena. I had to learn all this and much more, and most importantly I had to think from public health Perspective rather done a single patient perspective”.
Did You Experience Failures? If So, What Did You Learn From Them?
“Yes of course I have experienced failures. And I have learnt a lot from every failure. Most importantly I have learnt to use failures as a steppingstones to success. I will give an example. I invested a lot of time ripping apart to ship with local NGOs in a country in Africa, only to find out later that they have strict regulations and medicines cannot be shipped into that country. So all the time and energy went to waste. But this taught me a valuable lesson. Setting up a project is like putting the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle puzzle together. I have learnt that every piece must be in front of you and only then can you make solve the puzzle and make a picture. Even a single piece if missing will lead to failure”.
Accomplishing great things requires a class-A team. How Did You Build Your Team?
“I am proud of my team. It is a superlative team consisting of dedicated individuals in India and other countries. When I started talking about my work and every infant matters, many people Got very excited and offered to volunteer or become partners. But I proceeded with caution. I took care to find out about the qualifications of each such person, how much time would they be able to invest, I’m just by talking to them I could gauge whether fun it is a temporary thing for them or whether it would be long-lasting. Another way of building a class a team . I also met the brightest and the best and most dedicated individuals in international conferences such as those organised by the one young world. And this is how I found my director partnerships for Africa”.
Your friends are going to doubt you, your family is going to encourage you to make the safe move. The business world in itself isn’t a very friendly one. Being women there is an additional pressure of not being taken seriously. How do you handle adversity and overcome both self-doubt and doubt from others?
“I have always focused on my mission. This is how I stay on faced by negativity and adverse comments. I feel being a woman It’s actually an advantage,I am perceived as being empathetic and genuinely committed to the cause. Lucky that my family has supported me wholeheartedly. My parents feel, like I do, but we have one life to live and let us do the best we can for as many people as we can”.
Growing a business requires so many trade-offs. What is Non-Negotiable for you?
“Financial integrity has always been nonnegotiable for me. I believe the donors give us funds Because they trust us, and in no way shall I ever violate the secret covenant between donor and recipient”.
What’s the one thing you’d like to share with upcoming women entrepreneurs?
“I would like to tell upcoming women entrepreneurs to have courage And be kind and not let toxic people pull them down. I would also advise them to be very practical in life. Dedication and passion and good intentions of all very important, but it is equally important to have a good business plan, a dedicated team, and the resources to fulfill your mission”.