Published: 14th May 2018
WSquare is giving women across Chennai the perfect environment to kickstart their business
Jinal Patel, who started WSquare, a co-working space exclusively for women, tells us how they’re creating women-friendly workspaces everywhere
Maintaining the right work-life balance isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a woman. Be it household chores, taking care of kids or trying to get back to work following a long break, women have much bigger hurdles to cross. That’s what inspired 26-year-old Jinal Patel and Vandhana Ramanathan to establish WSquare, a co-working space in Chennai, exclusively for women.
When the duo started their digital marketing agency three years ago, they realised how little they knew about running a business. As a start-up, they were operating out of coffee shops and restaurants and were working with a lot of freelancers. Soon, people started asking them where their office was. After about nine months, they started looking for pocket-friendly places to work out of. They found out that there were a lot of spaces for co-working, but they were quite expensive. That’s where the idea of WSquare came from. The workspace comes with all the amenities of a regular co-working space, but also takes into consideration the unique needs of women.
Women only: WSquare takes into consideration the unique needs of women
WSquare’s services are divided into four segments. The first is the working space. “We charge our clients a minimal fee of Rs 300 per day. We do not believe in charging on an hourly basis. We realised that there are a lot of women who need moulding, either to get their business started or to scale up. So we organise frequent workshops and training programmes to help women become more successful. We even have students who want to work on their research use the space,” says Jinal. The second is the market space, mainly to help home-raised entrepreneurs — women who have businesses but do not have the platform to make it grow. They help them by converting their space into an exhibition space. Third, they’ve started an incubation programme for students who want to start businesses. The fourth segment is for women who want to get back to work after a break. “We’ve created a mobile app called WConnect. We get their basic résumé, get experts to analyse it and then connect them with recruiters,” says Jinal.
However, there were a few initial challenges. “When we came up with the idea, it was quite a struggle to get funds. But our friends and family were our initial supporters. Now, we are hoping to get this running in other cities as well. A lot of people are still not aware of the concept of co-working. For the first six months, I was just trying to explain the concept to people.”
Women need to be catered to differently. Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back
Jinal Patel, Founder, WSquare
W2 is all you need
When asked how the space helps working mothers, Jinal says, “Vandana is a mother of two. For her, to manage her family and work is really difficult. So I usually have to fill in to keep that balance. But not everyone has that luxury. So at W2, we have a day-care centre to make it easier for working moms.” There are many other factors that make this space a great option for women so that women feel at home. “We have tie-ups with grocery stores and home cooks so that our clients don’t have to worry about cooking. We also organise frequent networking events so that the women get to meet more people,” says Jinal.
-WSquare was established on March 8, 2017
-They started Women-INcubate to focus on women-founded start-ups
-WSquare has facilitated 700 entrepreneurs
-Their mission is to ‘Bring Women Back’ to the workspace
-WSquare taps into an average of 40 per cent skilled women talent
So why is the focus on women really important? Jinal explains, “Women need to be catered to differently. Work-life balance for women is entirely different from what it means to a man. That’s why there is a need for a co-working space specifically for women.”