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Etching a place in the design industry – case of DesignTheme Innoventics

Satyanandini Arjunan (Department of Management Studies and Research Centre, B.M.S. College of Engineering, Bangalore, India)
Prathima Bhat (Department of Management Studies and Research Centre, B.M.S. College of Engineering, Bangalore, India)
Ganesh R. Kumar (Department of Management Studies and Research Centre, B.M.S. College of Engineering, Bangalore, India)

Publication date: 15 June 2021


Study level/applicability

This case can be used in the core course on entrepreneurship for Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and Master of Business Administration/Post Graduate Diploma in Management (MBA/PGDM) students. It will help them to understand the motivations and challenges of women entrepreneurs, strategies to manage challenges, interactive style of leadership and their contribution to the economic growth of the country.

Subject area


Case overview

Roopa Rani, co-founded a digital design company, DesignTheme Innoventics (DTI), with her husband Yoganand, in November 2007, on the first floor of their residence. Yoganand’s creativity and Roopa’s determination made them bootstrap, scale slow and steady. As a novice to the industry, the initial days posed many challenges. Roopa hired artists to be appointed as designers, which gave them a unique selling preposition. They progressed slowly from a team of 2 to 20, with a revenue of INR 0.3M per annum to INR 12M per annum. As the company grew, Roopa wanted Yoganand’s support in handling the responsibilities, and hence, converted DTI into a limited liability partnership in 2013 and the couple were directors. As the client base improved, the need for shifting to a bigger space became more evident. A calculative risk-taker, Roopa, was forced to move DTI to a bigger office space end 2017, with a rent of INR60,000 per month. Meanwhile, they became a team of 20, with revenue of INR12m. The shift from no rent to a rented space made DTI slip to break-even. However, after two years, they moved into a smaller space and it coincided with the COVID-19 outbreak. Although the backlog orders were processed during the first quarter of 2020–2021, the business for the next quarter was affected. Social distancing norms created a shift in the way of doing business, which was a boon for a designing company like DTI. Now, the task before this self-made woman entrepreneur was to formulate strategies to scale up the business.

Expected learning outcomes

After analysing the case, the students will be able to: i. Value the contribution of women entrepreneurs towards the economy. ii. Examine the motivational factors and challenges of women entrepreneurs. iii. Understand the importance of networking. iv. Appraise the socio-cultural factors in a patriarchal society and their impact on the work-life balance of a woman entrepreneur. v. Appreciate the interactive leadership style of women entrepreneurs. vi. Formulate strategies to scale up the business.

Supplementary materials

• Agarwal, S., & Lenka, U. (2015). Study on work-life balance of women entrepreneurs – review and research agenda. Industrial and Commercial Training, 47(7), 356–362. doi:10.1108/ict-01–2015-0006 • Amit, R., & Muller, E. (1995). “Push” And “Pull” Entrepreneurship. Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, 12(4), 64–80. doi:10.1080/08276331.1995.10600505 • Buttner, E. H. (2001). Examining Female Entrepreneurs' Management Style: An Application of a Relational Frame. Journal of Business Ethics, 29(3), 253–269. doi:10.1023/a:1026460615436 • Carter, S.C. (1997). E. Holly Buttner and Dorothy P. Moore (1997), ‘Women’s Organisational Exodus to Entrepreneurship: Self-reported Motivations and Correlates with Success', Journal of Small Business Management, January, pp34-47. • Cohoon, J. McGrath and Wadhwa, Vivek and Mitchell, Lesa, Are Successful Women Entrepreneurs Different from Men? (May 11, 2010). Available at SSRN: = 1604653 or •Fletcher, J. (1998), Relational Practice: A Feminist Reconstruction of Work, Journal of Management Inquiry, 7(2), 163-186. • Kirkwood, J. (2009). Motivational factors in a push‐pull theory of entrepreneurship. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 24(5), 346–364. doi:10.1108/17542410910968805. • Malyadri, G., Dr. (2012). Role of women Entrepreneurs in the Economic Development of India. Paripex – Indian Journal of Research, 3(3), 104–105. doi: 10.15373/22501991/mar2014/36. Pal, N. (2016). Women Entrepreneurship in India: Important for Economic Growth. International Journal of Pure and Applied Researches, 4(1), 55–64. Pugazhendhi, D. P. (2019). Problems, Challenges and Development of Women Entrepreneurs. Emperor Journal of Economics and Social Science Research, 1(4), 48–53. doi:10.35338/ejessr.2019.1407. Shastri, S., Shastri, S., & Pareek, A. (2019). Motivations and challenges of women entrepreneurs. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 39(5/6), 338–355. doi:10.1108/ijssp-09–2018-0146. Tende, S.B. (2016). The Impact of Women Entrepreneurs towards National Development: Selected Study on Taraba State. Information and Knowledge Management, 6, 30–43. Xheneti, M., Karki, S. T., & Madden, A. (2018). Negotiating business and family demands within a patriarchal society – the case of women entrepreneurs in the Nepalese context. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 31(3–4), 259–278. doi:10.1080/08985626.2018.1551792

Subject code

CSS 3: Entrepreneurship.



Arjunan, S., Bhat, P. and Kumar, G.R. (2021), "Etching a place in the design industry – case of DesignTheme Innoventics", .



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Satyanandini Arjunan, Prathima Bhat and Ganesh R. Kumar

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