Get inspired by Sairee Chahal as she talks about creating a safe space for women, what inspires her, the challenges she’s had to face, and what she wishes to achieve in the future.
Very rarely do you meet someone who is not only ambitious and driven herself, but also strives to inspire and uplift others. Sairee Chahal, Founder and CEO of SHEROES, is not just a successful woman entrepreneur. She has been working relentlessly to engage with, encourage, and elevate the status of millions of women around the world.
With the SHEROES social network, she is helping women find emotional support, be a part of a community, chart a worthwhile career, and become financially independent. In this interview, she talks about the revolutionary platform she founded, her journey so far, and what she wishes to achieve in the future.
What inspired you to become the champion of women everywhere and start a social platform that caters exclusively to them?
More and more women are coming online every day, and the SHEROES social network is creating more value for women internet users in a highly scalable way. Women are looking to grow their identities. They want to connect with other women in various capacities, and invest in their financial, physical, and emotional growth. All these growth journeys are visible on the SHEROES platform. It’s not only a safe space for women to engage, but also a high-energy, fun, and inclusive space for women to come together and grow as a tribe.
Can you take us through the journey of SHEROES – how it started and what it’s evolved to become?
SHEROES started out as a jobs and opportunities platform for women. But as our users demanded more, and started sharing more of their aspirations on our helpline, we developed a complete online ecosystem, with communities, utilities, opportunities and resources. This is accessible via the SHEROES app and our website.
Economic independence is a key theme on SHEROES. Members can learn about entrepreneurship and grow their enterprises – especially micro-entrepreneurship – through initiatives like the SHECO Academy, mentorship, live expert sessions, and accelerator opportunities. Our members can also learn about new career opportunities and get advice through initiatives like Career Hour, upskilling webinars, and workshops.
Some of our unique features include Ask SHEROES, a chat-based counselling helpline that supports thousands of users every day; SHECO, our social commerce platform; and SHEROES Money, which will offer financial products and services to our users.
What are some of the challenges you faced while creating a platform specifically for women?
Safety, or rather, lack of safety, especially for women internet users, is a key problem of the internet. We have created a safe space, leveraging AI and machine learning, as well as a community-supported framework to keep the platform safe and abuse-free.
Where do you see the majority of members coming from? What is it they are seeking from SHEROES?
Around 70 percent of our members come from outside Tier-1 cities, and many from really remote locations. Around 5 percent of our audience comes from the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the US. On our helpline, we have seen women logging in more and more from remote areas such as Papaura village in Sakaldiha, Chandauli Tehsil, UP; Baramula, J&K; and Namburu village in Guntur district, AP. What women seek is support, opportunity, appreciation, connection, and positive engagement, and SHEROES beautifully connects these dots.
Could you say something about the SHEROES helpline and how it’s come to counsel women?
The SHEROES helpline is a chat-based counselling service that can be accessed at the click of a button on the SHEROES app. It is a free service for members, and they can chat with a counsellor about anything. Issues range from career difficulties and self-image issues, to cases of domestic violence, and relationship and sexual issues. To date, over two million women have benefited from the SHEROES helpline.
What are the various women-specific issues/topics that SHEROES tackles?
Most of the topics are universal to women and can be organised into four buckets – careers, counselling, creative, and commerce. Women engage on all these topics via our various initiatives such as SHECO, our social commerce opportunity that nurtures entrepreneurial mindset. Every day, women can attend expert live sessions on a wide range of topics. Entrepreneurship and micro-entrepreneurship is another major thrust area, as well as financial savviness and growth via our platform SHEROES Money.
Does SHEROES help women from all walks of life become financially literate and take control of their own lives? If yes, how do you do it?
Yes, we have a vibrant Money Matters community, where women discuss all aspects of money, from saving and investment to recognising financial abuse to developing a healthy relationship with money. The conversations here inspired the launch of SHEROES Money, our platform that will offer a range of financial products and support to our members, looking to borrow, invest, and learn about financial opportunities.
Please talk about some of the key achievements of SHEROES and how many lives it has touched.
SHEROES is a revolutionary platform, because it is the first and largest online ecosystem for women. So far, one million women have benefited via opportunities and 50 million via all SHEROES properties.
Being a women entrepreneur yourself, what advice do you have for women who would like to start something of their own?
Have belief in yourself and your idea, even if others don’t get it. Find supporters, cheerleaders, and mentors. There are plenty of forums for support and advice, so start connecting to find the support you need.
What plans do you have in the near future for SHEROES? Where do you see it five years from now?
I see SHEROES being accessible in all Indian languages, and continuing to go deeper into serving our members in an inclusive way. Today, we are a 21 million strong women’s network, and we aim to have 100 million women on SHEROES in the next few years.