After giving birth to a child the life of every woman completely changes. Some women leave work and plunge into household chores. The other, on the contrary, discover new fields of activity. Olga Oshurkova belongs to the second type. She is not only a mother of two children but also entrepreneur and inventor. In her childhood, she already had inclinations of a businesswoman. At the age of 13, she organized a school teaching guitar playing. When he was 18, she registered her own individual enterprise and worked under a contract with foreign companies.
Once Olga was waiting for her friend next to the dairy kitchen and heard a child crying in the queue. It was frosty outside, and the young mother tried to feed the child, but the mixture in the bottle was cold. This situation inspired Olga to create a food system that would make it easy and quick to prepare baby food in any conditions. She realized that she wanted to work in the real sector of the economy and produce products. That is how the project Baby Food Preparation Kit appeared. It not only eases the process of feeding babies but also decreases the occurrence of enteric diseases.
The project was a raving success. It won James Dyson Award and entered top-10 best projects according to Forbes. It also won in the innovative convention in the nomination ‘The Best Socially Significant Innovation Project’ and was included in the list of 40 best start-ups in the world according to PlugAndPlay China. Then there were pre-orders of this product from all over the world.
However, the situation was clouded by the fact that her son had medial strabismus, and this disease only progressed with time. Three years of fighting this disease gave no result, but Olga Oshurkova did not give up. She started developing a new project, a portable lens-free eye simulator, which allows to improve the eyesight for both children and adults. As Olga noted, when her son began to practice on it, he managed to improve his eyesight from 10% to 95%. After that, all her acquaintances asked her to make the same device. Olga realized that it was necessary to focus her attention on the further development of this invention. That is how she started her business in this field.
Having set an ambitious goal, Olga registered a trademark, received a patent for her invention, thought over the production technology, designed the device and solved the financial and organizational issues of her business. The final stage of its development was conducted in cooperation with ophthalmologists, engineers and educators. Now the simulator is used in medical institutions and is sold in optics stores. Even a package for the delivery or export of this simulator was developed. And an inscription ‘Made in Russia’ on this product made its developers proud of what they did. According to Olga, she was so absorbed in that work that did not notice how she earned the recognition and gratitude of customers from Russia and abroad. This product is now popular in the USA and in Europe. There are no devices like her one in the international market.
Olga Oshurkova calls her business social, since it produces goods necessary for children and adults and also provides jobs for people with disabilities who participate in the assembly of those devices. They undergo special training and after that do all the work at home. In total, there are 35 people involved in the work. Over two years, the company managed to go from the idea to wholesale sales to different retail chains.
This way was not easy. For example, Olga had to sell her car and get five consumer loans. According to her, it would be much easier if there were programs supporting women entrepreneurs. She believes that it is extremely important to improve this field, for example, to create communities, to conduct training, to provide financing, to work out programs for international internships, to develop special programs for women with children, to help in bringing products to the market, etc.
According to Olga Oshurkova, state support is very important at the initial stage of such an entrepreneurial activity. One’s small business can’t compete with large companies alone. In addition, it is very difficult to track counterfeit products and fight entrepreneurs of no scruples. That is why support in respecting the rights of patent holders is necessary. Olga entered the Public Council of the Federal Service for Intellectual Property to offer considering issues of interdepartmental cooperation and work out these mechanisms.
Olga thinks that many mothers have entrepreneurial ideas and a great desire to start their own business. That is why all women who realized their potential and achieved success in this field should inspire them and be role models for them. They can show on their own example that one can overcome challenges.
“"I am proud of our women and mothers. I believe that we will overcome any difficulties and achieve greater heights for the sake of our children's future”, said Olga Oshurkova.
Supporting women's entrepreneurship makes it possible to increase the number of small businesses and, as a result, the number of jobs and tax revenues. This will contribute greatly to favorable development of our country's economy.
Maria Solomina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov