Shefali Chandan  

Founder & Editor

Jano – the online history magazine for Asian Indian families

Shefali Chandan
What her business does

We explore and publish the untold and unknown stories from history that are relevant to Asian Indians and South Asians in India and across the diaspora. Our pedagogical philosophy is “know, think & create”. We provide teens and their families with a deep understanding of each topic (every issue of Jano is focused on one topic which we then explore thoroughly). Our stories and articles are accompanied by activities that promote critical thinking and vocabulary building and finally, our blog encourages teens and young adults to express themselves and share their own ideas.

Her business journey and how she arrived at the business ideas and started her own business

I’ve worked in educational media for about 2 decades at organizations like Scholastic, Time and PBS Kids. After my daughter was born, I wanted some flexibility and also felt that there was an opportunity to provide Asian Indian families with history focused content that would aid identity building. Historical knowledge is known to build self-confidence, self-esteem and good judgement among learners. While there have always been sites and books that offer the “food and festivals” kind of multicultural content, there was very little research based, pedagogically sound historical content for this ethnic group. I felt that there was an opportunity to fill this need and utilize my background in education (I have a Masters in education from Harvard University) to bring world class content to this audience.

What she finds most rewarding about having her own businesses

I love the daily challenge! Of course at times it is overwhelming but I’m never ever bored and love the outlet for creativity that running your own business provides. I know that when my daughter is older, she too will find the educational materials that we publish to be of great value. Parents and teens who subscribe to Jano seem to like it a lot and that feels extremely rewarding.

How she approaches being a mum and an entrepreneur

I’m still working on it. Often I do feel that I’m working all the time with recess time only for family. Setting boundaries between work and family is something that I struggle with.

The biggest challenges she has faced in her business
Finance! Our revenues haven’t yet kept pace with our expenses and I haven’t had the time or connections to search for potential investors.
How she overcame those challenges
I’ve started talking to potential angel investors. I think we’re ready to showcase our product to investors. We have a great prototype (and more) and hope to attract people and organizations who might have an interest in our business.
What do you celebrate as accomplishments in your business?
Creating truly well designed and visually compelling digital content for our audience with great writing, primary sources, hard to find photos, first-hand accounts and videos.
Advice to mums considering entrepreneurship
You’ll always regret it if you don’t try it. Once you take the leap it becomes a lot easier. Also, my daughter is so proud of me. I want her to know (through my example) that she can do anything.

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