Exemplary entrepreneur: Dr. Anita Sharma

EducationWorld September 2021 | People
Dr. Anita SharmaDivya Sharma (Delhi)

Edupreneur Dr. Anita Sharma is the Jaipur-based co-founder of Stuprorefying Pvt. Ltd aka Inkpothub (estb.2018), a unique networking platform for research scholars, professors and students to collaborate, organise research studies and share knowledge. A polio survivor, Sharma is also the founder of Drive On My Own (DOMO, estb.2018), the country’s first driving school for persons with disabilities.

Inkpothub’s valued clients include several IIMs; Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida; IMT, Ghaziabad; Fortune Institute of International Business, among others. Moreover, DOMO has certified 110 people with disabilities.

Newspeg. On International Women’s Day (March 8), the All India Professionals’ Congress — professional wing of the Indian National Congress — in association with Star Foundation included Sharma among 21 women achievers felicitated with ‘The Most Inspiring Woman of Rajasthan Award 2021’.

History. Sharma was just six months of age when the dreaded polio virus struck her, paralyzing her from waist down. Nine surgeries later, she is able to walk with crutches and calipers. Nevertheless, Sharma pressed on to graduate in business management from Rajasthan University and Banasthali Vidyapeeth, and was awarded a Ph D by IIM-Indore for her thesis on disability and entrepreneurship. In 2006, Sharma began teaching as assistant professor of Banasthali Vidyapeeth (2006-2011). This was followed by stints at Thapar University, Chandigarh, IIM-Indore and IIM-Amritsar (2018-2019).
While teaching at IIM-Amritsar, Sharma conceptualised a networking platform for research scholars and in 2018 invested Rs.3 lakh from her personal savings to co-promote Inkpothub together with student Nishant Singh. The very same year, she promoted DOMO. In 2019, Sharma quit academia and became a full-time entrepreneur.

Direct talk. “In 2018, while I was reading for my Ph D at IIM-Indore I became aware that most higher ed institutions other than the IIMs didn’t provide mentors for research scholars. That’s when the idea of Inkpothub was born. Since then, additional investment of Rs.10 lakh over the past three years has enabled us to upgrade the platform into a marketplace for professors to find the right fit for research positions and students, the finest mentors. Currently, we have signed up 22 mentors for our 145 students. My DOMO dream was also realised in 2018. I used my customised car that I have been driving for 20 years as a training vehicle for my students and this venture now provides in-person driving workshops countrywide. Our mission is to enable physically challenged individuals to travel to destinations and places of their choice without depending on others,” says Sharma.

Future plans. Encouraged by the success of Inkpothub and DOMO, this indefatigable academic entrepreneur has drawn up ambitious plans for the future. “Our focus will be on maximising Inkpothub’s online presence. I intend to invest Rs.5 crore over the next three years to develop the platform’s technology. I am also in talks with a German automotive company that manufactures adapted retrofit products. I believe once they enter the Indian market, customised cars equipped with advanced technology for people with disabilities will become a reality,” says this exemplary can-do entrepreneur.

Also Read:Online ed innovators: Natasha Jain and Sonia Agarwal Bajaj

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