In IFORHER’s feature of Emerging Women Leaders, we speak to Akriti Verma, the Founder of Renaissance Industries (Akv Wall Putty). Akriti Verma shattered multiple societal stereotypes to build a successful business worth crores, from scratch. Here’s her inspiring story.
Even though we are living in the 21st century, women are still expected to follow a conventional path – get educated, get married and raise kids. But there are few, who are born rebels. The ones who gather the courage to shatter the stereotypes and follow their heart. One such courageous soul is Akriti Verma, the founder of Akv Wall Putty, who is inspiring thousands of women across the world to venture into the male-dominated field of manufacturing!
Whether it was higher education, or choosing to set up her own business over marriage, Akriti had to fight for everything at every step of her life. Akriti Verma spoke to IFORHER team to share her inspiring journey of fighting against the patriarchal society, to set up a successful factory of Akv Wall Putty, in a male-dominated sector.
Akriti Verma – The Rule Breaker With Rebellious Childhood
“Born as a woman in a middle-class family in the regressive society of Bihar, I had no other choice but to learn to fight for my dreams since I was a child. My father, Atul Kumar Verma, a State government employee, and my mother, Kriti verma, a homemaker, always loved me but wanted me to follow the conventional path that many families expect their daughters to follow. So, I had no other choice but to be stubborn when it came to my dreams!”
Our society celebrates when our sons get a chance at a better education. But, when it comes to girls, we tend to shame them for being ambitious or if they want to leave behind their families for education!
“I got a chance to move out of Bihar and study at one of the most prestigious universities of the country. Sadly, many people asked my parents to not let me go for higher education. “Ladki ko Delhi bhejogey toh wo haath se nikal jayegi”- they would tell my parents! But, I remained committed to my dreams. And, after a lot of persistence, my parents let me go to Delhi. While I thought it was my last battle to fight, but I was so wrong. It was just the beginning!”
After completing her education in Delhi, Akriti got a chance to study at Singapore University. While society attempted to shame her parents once again, but this time her mother took a brave stand.
“People would come to my home and tell my parents – ‘Tum Ladki Ko Kuch Zyadaa Hi Chooth De Rahe Ho, Dekhna Yeh Sir Jhuka Degi! Iski Shaadi Kardo!’ But, this time, my mother took a stand for me. She said ‘My daughter would do great things that she is destined to. No one can stop her till I am alive!’ In short, my mother gave me the wings to fly!”
Akriti Verma’s Courageous Decision To Choose Her Business Over Marriage & Set Up Akv Wall Putty
At an age of 26, when society expected Akriti to get married, she took an unconventional decision of leaving her well-paying job in Singapore, to set up a factory in Bihar. The society, that raises a woman to be a wife, daughter-in-law and mother, saw Akriti’s decision to set up a factory as a sign of nothing more than madness and stupidity!
“On my face, they would tell – ‘Ladki ka bahut ambitious hona yeh achi baat nai hai! Factory set-up karna toh ladko ka kaam hai!’ They would tell my parents how setting up a factory makes me an unfit choice for being a wife! How Indian men don’t like ambitious women! There were many who, rather than applauding my courage to create jobs for young people, were constantly shaming me for not getting married! But thanks to my mother, I was unflustered. She was the wind under my wings. She constantly kept shutting down negative voices!”
Major Setback That Taught Akriti To Use Her Pain As Fuel For Her Dreams
Akriti hardly knew the mother who fought like a true warrior for her dreams, won’t be there with her when she would be scaling new heights! In 2019, Akriti lost her mother to sudden death. The death of her mother was a monumental loss. But, Akriti refused to indulge in self-pity. She realized the real way to honour her mother was to make her venture successful.
Finally, Life Started Rewarding Determination Of Akriti Verma
Within no time, Akriti Verma’s company turned profitable with more than one crore revenue. Even industry couldn’t blind itself to this self-made woman, who was unstoppable in making a mark in the cement industry, which is predominantly dominated by men.
For her inspiring journey, Akriti was rewarded with many industry awards – The Young Achievers Award from India Awards Forum, and Rising Brand of Asia by Barc Asia.
While the journey ahead isn’t easy, but Akriti is all pumped up with the challenge. She is ready to expand in global markets and launch a new products range! She is aspiring to make her company, one of the leading brands in cement-based products in next 5 years.
Akriti’s Inspiring Words Of Wisdom To Every Women
As Akriti continues to shatter the glass ceilings, she has an inspiring message for all the young women across the country:
“Even though my company is making crores of revenue, and I’ve generated employment for many young people; society still sees me as unsettled. They continue to tell me – ‘Factory toh chalti rahegi, ab shaadi karlo aur settle ho jao’.”
“It is sad how our society blinds itself to women’s achievements and dreams. It is sad how, not career or dreams, but only marriage and kids are seen as a yardstick to measure a woman’s achievement. I hope young women refuse to let society control their dreams! I hope young women refuse to follow society’s predefined path for them! I hope young women learn to dream big! Because every Nykaa or Biocon started with a dream. It all starts with a dream!”
At IFORHER, we are in awe of Akriti Verma and her undying courage as she stood against the whole society for her dream. We wish her luck and hope she will keep inspiring many more women to fight for themselves! Don’t forget to tell us what do you think about Akriti Verma’s courage and her inspiring story! You can also reach out to Akriti Verma at her Insta.
(This post has been drafted in collaboration with Rennaisanace Industries to celebrate the leading women leaders.)