Here’s an extraordinary graphic novel on 20 women who mean business

Here’s an extraordinary graphic novel on 20 women who mean business

The entrepreneurial journeys of 20 women from all across India, We Mean Business is a chronicle of success stories created at the intersection of an anthology, a documentary, a graphic novel, and technology. It is a book that promises to be more than a book. A review.

A graphic novel that tells the stories of 20 real-life women heroes A graphic novel that tells the stories of 20 real-life women heroes

It looks like a graphic novel and is created like one – only the stories are not of comic heroes. The protagonists are real-life entrepreneurial stars from all over India and they are all women. The narratives have come together in We Mean Business, a book that promises to be an experience of 20 real-life success stories and then takes you beyond.

Put together by a trio: Vishwajyoti Ghosh, Shrutika Mathur, and Nishtha Vadehra – the success stories of the women have been brought alive through a graphic narrative. Ghosh says that the style he has adapted to narrate the stories graphically for each case study is different from the others as he has used his artwork to reflect the nuances of individual studies.

“The style of artwork I chose to tell the story of each woman in the anthology has inspired the nature of her story. Each case study is different from the others and so is the artwork. It took about a year to put the book together as we had to take a deep dive into small and accurate details of the entrepreneur’s journey,” graphic novelist, Vishwajyoti Ghosh who has illustrated the book told Business Today. 

We Mean Business – is a book with a mission. It is the fruit of an entrepreneurial incubation project launched by German support group – Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH launched in 2018. The programme will conclude in 2023. The project was titled the ‘Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs and Start-ups by Women’ and was initiated on behalf of the German Federal Ministery for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to promote aspiring and existing women entrepreneurs in India. 

Under the name of ‘Her & Now,’ the project supported the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Government of India, in improving the overall framework conditions for women-led businesses through targeted incubation and acceleration support for over 900 women-led businesses through targeted incubation and acceleration support for over 900 women and to build a gender-sensitive entrepreneurial ecosystem to nurture women-led business networks.

“Out of all the women who participated in the programme, 40 successful businesses were shortlisted out of which 20 stories were selected for the book. We interviewed and closely studied the journey of all the women. Small details about their lives were brought out to show what inspired her to become a businesswoman. All this effort resulted in the colourful anthology – which is a documentary of aspiration and inspiration,” Nishtha Vadehra who has been at the helm of putting the book together with Ghosh and Mathur, said.

The protagonists of We Mean Business are a diverse mix. Many of them are also from Tier II and III cities. The transformational stories of the women are each documentary in their own right and were shaped during the pandemic as many had to rely on jugaad to put their businesses together. 

In the book, you will find the journey of Bharti Aribam Sharma, Neerja Palisetty, Sarwat G Bagwan, Dilu Sharma, Reena Bharti Rana, Elizabeth Yambem, Vanita K Vidhate, Ishu Shiva, Lovely Baruah, Babi Kumari, Hemlata Mishra, Saka Shailaja, Deeksha S Gupta, Vekuvolu Dozo, Sapna Sharma, Maggie Lalnunsangi, Sarita Surale, Nengneithem Hengna, Zainab Raj and Manju Devi.

An eye-opener

“The stories were eye-opening for us. How each of the women with limited resources put their all in to shape their dreams. It was an awe-inspiring journey for all of us as we worked on the project,” said Ghosh.
“The exercise of getting 40 narratives in place and then shortlisting them was challenging as each story was valuable in its own merit,” Shrutika Mathur said. 

A book that goes beyond covers 

Each of the 20 stories of the book has a QR code which leads the reader to the web presence of the author. We Mean Business goes beyond being a book with this feature. The book serves as a bridge between the lives of the women and their entrepreneurial journey and the reader. One can easily get deeper into their story and become a part of their world and migrate from a handheld book to the web. Pick this book up for inspiration.

Published on: Oct 22, 2022, 1:39 PM IST
Posted by: Sharmila Bhowmick, Oct 22, 2022, 1:11 PM IST