KaronShaiva: Think Big - Think Foward

Karon Shaiva,Chief Impact Officer & Managing Director

Karon Shaiva

Chief Impact Officer & Managing Director

Entrepreneurship takes imagination and perhaps even a dash of insanity. Entrepreneurs are the ones who change the world and they see the world as they want it to be, not how it is. From the brilliant idea that propelled the Wright Brothers to invent a flying machine to the madness that propelled Steve Jobs &Bill Gates to invent personal computers,entrepreneurs pursue the ideas that others deem crazy. They intrinsically understand that logic is limiting but unconventional ideas can change things. KaronShaiva, Chief Impact Officer & Managing Director, Idobro, is one such shining entrepreneur who has been changing the landscape of social sector in India with her innovative approach. “I was always involved in the social sector, and my coming back to India for good was the watershed moment in deciding to take the jump and do something more definitive in the social space,” avers Karon.

With a strong desire to work for the betterment of the society, Karon joined a Mumbai-based NGO (Kherwadi Social Welfare Association) after returning back to India and begot her own social enterprise named Idobro. The firm provides last mile market access, linkages, capacity and other services for the empowerment and inclusion of women, social and green enterprises. Worked as general manager (marketing), business development head and director in multi-disciplinary domains across various industries over 20 years, and been an Apple dealer for 15 years,Karon decided to plunge into the unfolded path when she realized that NGOs need more help and social enterprises can be sustainable,to scale these NGO’s operations. Realizing the supremacy of social enterprises as an absolute poise to provide solutions in the future, Karon established her dream enterprise in 2003.
An Example of Success
The initial journey of Karon was fraught with multiple crunches, as she lost a key team member in her first annual Social Impact Conference (2012) due to a radical approach. She even invested significant amount for the launch of an -Commerce portal for NGOs at a time when getting even a high resolution image of products was a challenge, and the venture had to be shut down. She believes that e-Commerce portal was the necessity of the hour and critical for making livelihood programs successful. But these obstacles didn’t stop Karon from pursuing her dream of helping women, the differently abled, senior citizens, eco friendly organizations and more.

An active member of Cherie Blair Foundation and jury member of variousbusiness plan competitions,Karon invests & mentors budding startups eco-system (particularly youth & women) with her far-sighted wisdom

In spite of the many challenges that she brushed her shoulders with, Karon moved on as her belief in creating something unique that catalyze the development of ecosystem and crafts real world partnerships for social good kept growing stronger. Further, Karon’s ability to perform marketing research of the sector (before developing business model), creative thinking, communications and connecting with partners, members and employees enabled her to overcome afore mentioned barriers and lead her to where she is today. Devoting her everyday life to her firm, Karon managed to deal with the day- to-day challenges, whilst gaining insights and keeping the vision intact. As every expedition has its highs and lows, she elucidates, “2013 was probably our worst year and I thought we would have to shut down, but we managed to survive. After that, we have not looked back, but the truth is that this balancing never ceases and we have to constantly evaluate our plans & goals to stay true to the purpose”.

Setting a Benchmark
Even before she started operations of her business plans, Karon’s unique approach to market access and mainstream integration was noticed and honored with awards like Most Inspiring Social enterprise by Dr. (Late) C. K. Prahlad at The Pan IIT Global Conference (2008), and awards like Won Zeal 09 – The Entrepreneurial Show case, Best Partner (Non-Corporate) by AIESEC Mumbai and many more were showered post her wearing the entrepreneur hat. An active member of Cherie Blair Foundation and jury member of various business plan competitions,Karon invests & mentors budding startups eco-system (particularly youth & women) with her far sighted wisdom. Her personal story has been covered by the iconic series –Chicken Soup for the Indian Women Soul and she is a published author for the Afternoon Dispatch & Courier. Her immense contribution to the social sector assisted her to acquire national & international recognition and become a Jury member for the SEED awards in Africa and India for social entrepreneurship and Global SEED Gender Equality Award.

Today, being an individual who is passionately running a social enterprise, Karon is thankful to her husband who she says is her spine and a great supporter, her son who is a gift of God, colleagues and family for their faith in her and mentorship. “I work and live 24 hours; prioritizing what is important is based on need, not time,” avers Karon. She finds the book ‘Who moved my Cheese?’ by Spencer Johnson inspiring and advices her fellow peers, “There are three things to improve efficiency and effectiveness – Systems, Technology and Partners”. She believes that continuous improvement comes from asking what more – how else, hence suggests them to keep pushing.

An Inspiration to Many
Being a marvellouswoman, Karon sets an example for every woman who wishes to be the master of herown dreams. She advices the budding entrepreneurs, “Never give up! Every adversity you face, you become not just stronger but more innovative in creating solutions with the least amount of resources within maximum constraints. Entrepreneurship is difficult but an extremely satisfying journey”.