Priya’s Shakti is an innovative social impact multimedia project that helps illuminate attitudes towards gender-based violence. Spearheaded by filmmaker Ram Devineni, Priya’s Shakti, received the 2014 Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund from the Ford Foundation. We chat with Ram about the Venture. An Excerpt from the Interview
- What made you start your venture?
We wanted to create the first Indian comic book superhero who is a woman and a survivor of rape. We were motivated by the protests that occurred after the horrible gang-rape that happened on a bus in Delhi in 2012. We felt that we needed a strong identifiable character to address outdated patriarchal views and create empathy for survivors of gender-based violence. “Priya’s Shakti” is not a typical business venture because our motivations are for social good and not driven by profits. Still, the comic book has been a cultural and economic success.
- What has been the key to your business’s success?
We have created a strong empowered character in the spirit of Superman and Wonder Woman, who teenagers can connect with all over the world. The comic book was released in December 2014 at the Mumbai Film and Comic Book Conventions and immediately went viral with over 400 news stories all over the world.
- What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
The comic book was for free to download, and now the major challenge is to turn the initial success into a sustainable endeavor while retaining our core mission for social good. We think partnering with major foundations and corporations is the key and also branching the story into other languages and countries. Lastly, we support licensing the content and stories to ethically responsible corporations because they can be an asset to spreading the message of women’s empowerment.
- Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
We have several consultants working with us, but are inspired by the work being done by our NGO partner – Apne Aap. The NGO has been critical in our outreach and ensuring the comic book benefits women who are survivors of gender-based violence in India.
- Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
Our major technology partner is Blippar, which recently opened offices in India. They are the largest augmented reality company in the world and instrumental in the technological innovations in the comic book.
- What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
Our customers are also our fans. We have been blessed to have the support of them and they are key in spreading the message of the comic book. We plan to crowd-source future ideas and test them out on our fans before creating new stories.
- What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?