From handful of women entrepreneurs in India, Prerna Mukharya stands out for the challenge that she has taken up – provide high-quality, technology-driven field survey services to researchers and corporates. This is the inspiring story of Prerna Mukharya who did her graduation at Delhi university and Masters in Economics from Boston University. She served as a researcher at MIT and Harvard before coming back to India and setting up her own research and field survey firm “Outline India”.
We know that field surveys and research is a labour intensive job and it requires patience as well as a coordinated team effort to come up with a detailed survey results. Most of the researchers manipulate the primary research data and the result is poor quality fake assumptions. The management fails to predict from this data analysis resulting in poor customer satisfaction. The management is looking at the kind of information that reveals competitive advantages and innovative breakthroughs.
Outline India, founded in 2012, is in a mission of creating high-quality, authentic field surveys across India. They are competing against the age-old research agencies who produces irregular and non relevant results doesn’t even distill meaningful insights and helps in driving strategic decisions.
Outline India specializes in field data collection across India together with research and policy assistance. They assist with primary and secondary research, survey designing and consulting. The core areas of operation includes sectors such as health, education, governance, manufacturing, agriculture etc. They are operating within the academic/research space and targeting the small to medium segment. As of now the operations are focused in Northern and Central India, Outline India has ambitious plans of expanding pan India.
Having been researchers, we have been at the other side of the table. We understand field processes and go to the field ourselves. We bring a faith factor to the table, together with a young and energetic team. – Prerna Mukharya
Completely bootstrapped, one of the key challenges for Prerna and her team will be to find a potential investor. As this is one of the sectors that the Indian startup evangelists has shied away, we need to take an inspiration from Prerna who took up the challenge of taking up an interesting entrepreneurial journey in a challenging sector.
About Prerna Mukharya:
She worked at the Centre for Policy Research on a World Bank Project studying health and education across rural India. The study was conducted across 19 states in India, in around 1600 villages and involved piloting interventions, fieldwork, survey designing, training, conducting workshops, statistical programming and extensive data analysis. Prerna also worked at the Economics Department at Harvard University in the field of Development Economics and Trade. At MIT, she worked on mortality and demography in the Indian context. She did a short project at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) focusing on the African sub continent. Prerna holds an MA in Economics from Boston University and a Bachelors with Honors in Economics from Delhi University.
Based in Delhi, there are 11 members in her team. The company has worked with 20 clients so far and has provided data to European Centre for International Political Economy, United Nations Millennium Development Goals, Organ India, Department of Economics, Davidson College, USA, Business Insider India and Water Aid.
The entrepreneurial journey was not a cake walk for Prerna. Unlike urban India, she believes that the people in rural India are more courteous and much more accessible for surveyors.
When working on the field and there are no roads and no internet or even mobile connectivity, you get stuck somewhere, you have to work in 40 degrees without water – is when you realize that the rows of data in the Excel sheet is a lot of pain and hardship – they scream that pain and hardship.
Making a start up work is all about perseverance! What we do is not easy, we have issues of weather, transport, communication, safety; it’s a lot of micromanagement and you have to work hard to keep all the pieces together. But this is also what makes it exciting says Prerna on her passion of being an Entrepreneur.
As an advice to budding Entrepreneurs she says as long as you can get up from your bed every day and believe that you can go out there and make it work – I think that’s more than half the battle won.
As Winston Churchill said “Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking your potential.” It’s true about Prerna and her young dynamic team. The journey has just started and I really hope Prerna’s story will inspire and fascinates people who embraces the spirit of entrepreneurship in themselves and go out to realise that dream.
So, come, explore and share with us your journey too.