This article is a part of the series about the special entrepreneurial start-ups that have been built on a social cause but not for a charitable purpose. These are the perfect examples of mixed economy, the fair blend of socialist and capitalist economy.
The Making of an inclusive entrepreneur
Miss Kalyani Khona, at the age of 21, is a budding entrepreneur in India, had finished her Project-20 and was very clear about her further life-goal.
This Project-20 was actually a very interesting and creative project in itself that deserves to be an integral part in every youth’s life. Miss Khona had chosen 20 different career paths and invested her 4-8 weeks working in each of her chosen paths to know what does she really wants to do in her life.
And in the end, she decided that she is going to be an entrepreneur in the matchmaking field!
After the decision was taken she started hunting a good office to start her own boutique-matrimony. It was during her search of office she went through some experiences that made her add a niche in her chosen business plan.
She decided that her matrimony unlike all others would focus on persons with disabilities and special conditions.
Miss Khona realized that there were plenty of matrimonials but none of them were inclusive for the persons with disabilities. She strongly believes that ‘no one deserves to be alone unless they wish so’. But, she found it difficult to convince everybody about her entrepreneurial plans. Firstly everyone was in doubt about the capabilities of a 21-year-old girl as a matchmaker who herself had not entered and experienced the institution of marriage. Further the reason for a matrimony focused on PwDs was out of the understanding level of most of the people. In the general public opinion it’s more than enough to educate and get the person with a disability any job for survival.
Although her father had always taught her that if you believe in a cause you should work for it no matter what others say or believe. And, this gave her determination to work for her goal.
The most important thing about Miss Khona’s plan was that she didn’t go to the path of charity. She saw persons with disabilities as potent consumer base for her start-up and entered into her business with a cause.
With her endeavors Miss Khona started the first boutique matrimony for persons with disabilities and special needs at Mumbai in 2014. As this was not a charitable work, she had to charge membership fee from her customers but she decided to subscribe her first 100 customers without the first membership charge.
Opposed to the general opinion Wanted Umbrella, the brain-child of Miss Kalyani Khona, was warmly welcomed by her customer base. She arranged meetings differently for her different customers. The set-ups included ‘Table for Six’, ‘One-on-One meetings’ and the most informal monthly and quarterly meet-ups for the members.
Growth of little ‘Wanted Umbrella’ into big ‘Inclov’
The overwhelming response to Wanted Umbrella encouraged Miss Khona for the expansion of her business. She found that her consumer base was very large and she cannot tap the deserved benefits with an offline office based in Mumbai only. To expand her functioning area she decided to take her business online.
As she had already invested her savings of Rs. 2 lakhs in Wanted Umbrella, Miss Khona was not in position of investing other Rs. 5 lakhs for developing the mobile app she wished. So she along with her friend Shankar Srinivasan started crowd-funding her project which she named ‘loveability’. It was quite overwhelming for her that there were people who believed in her idea and helped her gather more than Rs. 6 lakhs. But, there were many who were against the name ‘loveability’ because it contained the word ‘ability’ which was not actually required.
After getting the crowd-funding and valuable suggestions from the fellow entrepreneurs, Miss Kalyani Khona and Mr. Shankar Srinivasan co-founded ‘Inclov’, the world’s first matchmaking app focusing on Persons with Disabilities and other health conditions like obesity and thallesemia. Launch of the app in January, 2016 was a great achievement on Miss Khona’s part. In less than 2 years she started catering people from all over India after starting her local matrimony in Mumbai.
The name Inclov is the derivative of ‘Inclusive Love’ that defines the motto of the application. Founders of the app do not want to segregate persons with disabilities from the other sections of the society; they wish to make society inclusive. And so the app is open to everybody regardless of their physical condition. This app is like all other matchmaking apps but with some extra features… inclusivity being the most important.
Matchmaking system of Inclov uses the following attributes for filtering the prospective match for every individual:
- Medical condition
- Availability of cure
- Level of independence
- Lifestyle choices
As the app focuses on inclusivity, it is built in such a way so that people across diverse abilities can use it and choose their life-partner without being dependent on their friends or family members. It is completely accessible for the persons with visual impairments through screen readers and talk-back programmes. People with colour-blindness and retina disorders can change the font size and colors on the screen according to their own personal need.
Features of the Inclov app
Apart from the inclusivity and accessibility there are some other features in the app that makes it really special.
Assurance of genuine profiles
The app is well designed to ensure safety and privacy of its clients. All the profiles in the app are reviewed and verified to crop away the possibility of spammers. So, one can stay assured that the person and the information in the profile are genuine.
Well protected privacy
The app provides with an in-built chat system. This means you do not need to bother about sharing your personal contact number or email id unless you become comfortable and feel that the person on the other side is reliable.
Safety from cyber bully
The app is designed with disabled option of screenshots i.e. no one can take a screenshot of any part of the app. And the app also doesn’t allow you to share images thus protecting you from being prey to any cyber bully.
Future plans and progresses
The brain child of Miss Khona has grown faster than her expectations. And with the growth of it, her expectations has also grown. The co-founders of Inclov are not satisfied with level they have achieved… they have more plans for future.
- Presently, the Inclov app is available only on Google Play Store but the app is in process of being developed for iOS. We hope that iOS users soon get included in the most inclusive matchmaking app in the world.
- The one of its kind app in the world is catering the users based in India only but it is supposed to be serving clients all over the world in near future.
- The developers are all set to include the new feature of video calling in the app so that the persons with speech impairment are not bound only to type for conversing with the person they are interested in. Video calling feature will also allow people to be more familiar to each other before meeting in person… this would specially be beneficial for persons with Down syndrome.
Extension of ‘Inclov’ into Social Spaces
After 6 months of launching of Inclov i.e. in June 2016, Social Spaces was launched, an extension of the project. Social Spaces give an offline meet-up platform to its members and interested individual. The Social Spaces are formed on the idea of giving the persons with disabilities opportunity to be social and meet people with different backgrounds in a friendly environment. It is always assured that the venues of Social Spaces are accessible with ramps at entrance as well as exits. The washrooms too are taken care to be accessible. And sign language interpreters are always available to help persons with hearing or speech impairment.
Hope the two young entrepreneurs keep on developing with their innovative and inclusive business model and persons with special needs keep on getting their soul-mates.