Winner of the NextGen Pitch Competition 2021, Little Patakha, discusses how support from WBENC and the WBE network helps build a business.

It is no surprise that most of the main characters in children’s books and other media are white, male and able-bodied. However, over the last few years, the interest in products that reflect our changing world and diverse communities has increased exponentially. This is where Little Patakha (, a children’s multimedia company focused on the importance of representation, comes in.

Patakha is the Hindi word for firecracker and there is no better way to describe children – full of potential, needing just a spark of encouragement. The visual and verbal messages that children receive from media teach them who is important and who isn’t, who is visible and who they shouldn’t pay any attention to.

Little Patakha introduces them to sounds, cultures and people that children may not normally come across. We have books to teach new languages, puzzles that look beyond stereotypes, and games that introduce them to kids who don’t look like them.

We have postcards, stickers and much more. Seeing these images in different media and getting a wider exposure to a diverse world makes that the expectation, rather than the exception which is mostly the case at the moment.


Accessing the Benefits of WBENC Certification

We are a WBENC-Certified WBE and participated in the NextGen Pitch Competition sponsored by The Walt Disney Group and The ActOne Group in 2021. Seventy-six 60 second videos were selected from all the entries for an online showcase as the first round. From here, 25 businesses made it to the semi-final round, followed by 13 that advanced to the finals hosted live virtually.

This was an incredible group of women sharing their brilliant ideas and stories supported by judges who were insightful and encouraging. It was an honor for Little Patakha to win this pitch competition, the $15,000 grant money as well as a scholarship to the Tuck-WBENC Executive Education Program. These are all immensely helpful opportunities for a small business just starting out and we plan to make full use of them. The grant money will help Little Patakha create new products, purchase computers and other technological supplies and hire a marketing team to make sure we widen our reach. The Business Program will play a big role in making sure Little Patakha puts its best foot forward, always.

Preparing for, and participating in, this competition allowed us to evaluate our business plans and refine our presentation to create a concise and impactful pitch. It helped build confidence in our vision. The questions from judges and comments from attendees allowed us to hone our message.

A huge bonus is how it brought businesses together, to connect with other WBEs, allowing for future supportive collaborations within the network. And of course the certification provides us with the opportunities of working with corporate and government entities.

We have no doubt that our certification, the WBENC network and the backing of this program will open many doors for Little Patakha. We look forward to continuing our mission to spark curiosity in young minds, promote diversity and shatter stereotypes.


Akshata Nayak
Founder, Little Patakha

Akshata Nayak wanted to design a book so her daughter could learn her native language, Konkani. This single idea blossomed into Little Patakha, a woman-owned business that helps young minds discover a world of different cultures, stories and ideas.

Akshata was born and brought up in Bangalore, India. She moved to the U.S. in 2003 and earned two Master of Science degrees, in Biochemistry and Applied Clinical Nutrition. Presently, she spends her time being a mom, a nutritionist at Alternative Roots Wellness Center that she started with her husband, and Chief Product Officer at Little Patakha.