What is the role of a father in building a strong female entrepreneur?

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On the occasion of Father’s Day (20 June, 2021), sheatwork focuses on how fathers have inspired women entrepreneurs to forge ahead

Are family ties an opportunity for women entrepreneurs? Looking at the important role of the ‘family’ in women’s entrepreneurial experiences we have seen that family ties inevitably have an impact on their performance. Research has also verified the existence of this strong bond. So, obviously the “family dimension” has a huge impact – especially the role played by fathers.

The women entrepreneurs’ segment has been on the rise and in 2020, India ranked 112 in terms of the gender gap in the overall workforce. And, fathers have left a deep influence on some leading entrepreneurs we check with. Whether it was, their strong work ethic, their ‘never-give-up’ attitude or their advice to just believe in yourself, we came across a strong inspirational sway across different business lines.

So, on Father’s Day – June 20 this year, we focus on the mantle that rests on fathers. And, some select women entrepreneurs have answered this question in many varied ways – how has your father been an inspiration on your journey to become an entrepreneur? Read on to check their reactions:

  • Anuradha Prasad, Chairperson & Managing Director, BAG Films & Media Ltd

My father always believed in education of women & he felt that it was most important to have good education. Empowering us – was his most important mantra. He believed that given equal opportunity, a woman would make her place. When I decided to become an entrepreneur his only advice was that – even if you fail, don’t regret….atleast you tried…that’s the mantra I follow till now.

  • Shammi Pant, Co-Founder, MyJen

My memory of my father is his beautiful smile. Pearl white teeth and kind playful eyes, he was a man seeking experiences in life. He invested in people and never gave up on anyone. As a businessman, he went through a roller coaster ride of success and failure. For him, I was the intelligent one, who could achieve anything! He made me feel invincible perhaps, that is where my strong sense of independence comes from. Fearless of change I embrace and crave new experiences and seek adventure. I never saw my gender as a limitation. It was only after I grew up, I realised how fortunate I was to have a father who saw me for who I am, and ensured my gender never became an excuse to not to do anything. Rather he made me believe it is my strength.

  • Jahnabi Phookan, Immediate Past President, FICCI FLO & Co-founder of Jungle Travels India and Assam Bengal Navigation Company under JTI Group

I want to raise a toast to my father today for his guts to turn entrepreneur in his late 40’s. That was the turning point not only in his life but for the Assam Tea industry as well. And it certainly nurtured my spirit growing up in those electric years.

Back then, Assam had 80 percent of tea production but no Tea Auction centre of its own. The Tea Auction centres were then in Calcutta and in London.

And none of the big 4 Tea Broking firms of India would agree to set shop in Assam.

I am proud of my father who just quit as Director, in one of these above mentioned 4 British-origin Tea Broking firms, to take up the challenge to start his own tea broking firm in Assam.

It was because of men like my father, Jayanta Kumar Borooah ( affectionately called JK) with his Eastern Tea Brokers Pvt Ltd and two other homegrown tea broking firms that the Guwahati Tea Auction was finally born in 1972. GTAC has turned 50 years old now.

  • Ruby Sinha, Founder, Sheatwork

My father’s biggest gift to me was his firm belief in my abilities, which in turn, gave me the self confidence to take on challenges as I grew up. He believed in the power of education and encouraged me to have a career. His strong sense of duty towards his extended family and friends, alongwith his ability to nurture human relationships helped me understand the value of cultivating a great team and building strong relationships at work, as an entrepreneur. He would somehow manage to take out time from his busy life to enjoy a good laugh with friends, watch his favourite team play football, celebrate community events or simply enjoy a good home-made meal, which taught me a life-long lesson in work-life balance, which is more of work-life integration now.

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