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Perspective

Tough As Nails
Stories of top women professionals have been well-documented; entrepreneurial successes much less

N Mahalakshmi

I am delighted to bring you the 2017 edition of Outlook Business Women of Worth. We have been profiling women entrepreneurs from different parts of the country, across diverse businesses for the past couple of years. Stories of top women professionals have been well-documented; entrepreneurial successes much less. Yet, when we decided to launch this special edition, we were a little nervous about its sustainability as we really did not know of too many women entrepreneurs. 

But the space was emerging, funding was plenty and with a lot of younger women exploring new ventures, we thought we might just have many names to showcase in the coming years. It turns out that with or without gen next, there are enough and more stories of super women entrepreneurs that are yet to be told. 

We are sure you will find the women featured in this year’s edition, very inspiring. Many of them are lesser-known names who have stayed away from the media glare, until now. Among them is Sandhya Chandrasekharayya who quit a cushy software job to contribute to a trekking blog that gradually transformed into a sizable startup. At the other end, Lata Bajoria’s tale is of a parrot in a golden cage. The cosmopolitan girl got married into an orthodox Marwari family and lost her identity entirely, only to reclaim it post her husband’s demise. When half your life is lived in a certain manner, it may just be impossible to re-orient yourself but Bajoria has done so. Consolidating her husband’s jute mills, and turning her attention to social issues, she now lives life on her own terms, unapologetically. 

Then there is the incredible Monica Liu, a success story of sheer grit and back-breaking hard work. From being homeless and penniless, Liu went on to become a successful restaurateur, running five popular restaurants in Kolkata. Liu describes her journey as “arm-breaking” — tossing noodles and washing utensils all day when she started out, with just one helper to support her. But she endured the pain and never gave up. This tenacity is a common trait of all the entrepreneurs featured in the edition; hope you enjoy reading each story.

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