There weren’t many women entrepreneurs in the 90s, as women in that time didn’t much take up work and were engrossed in household chores only. Education for women was not given much priority than, but even in such times women entrepreneurs emerged setting an inspiration for millions of girls in the nation. One of these successful entrepreneurs is – Meena Ganesh.
She grew up in Kolkata in the south eastern railway colony. Her father was an engineer there while her mother a housewife. Being in that decade of time she rarely saw women who were very career oriented and she imagined a whole different life for herself at that time. She completed her 10th in one of the schools in hr locality and then moved to Chennai with her family. Where she went to Jawaharlal Vidyalaya Senior Secondary School, now famous for its alumnus Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google Inc. after completing her higher secondary from there she went to pursue a bachelor’s degree in with honors in physics, from Women’s Christian College. At that time she imagined her future to be a professor and continue research; she was not at all ambitious about business and management. In her under-grad degree she got exposure to the world and since her brother had studied in IIM she got to know about career opportunities in business and management.
She applied to study in IIM and got selected in all of them. She chose IIM Kolkata as her brother had already studied there, and it proved to be a huhe adavnatage as there she met K Ganesh, her batchmate whom she married in 1985.
In 1985 she joined NIIT as an IT consultant as she had specialized in IT and finance at IIM. She left NIIT after working for 7 years. In that time she had overseen 40 of the company’s training center. She was than involved in financial re-engineering of NTPC Ltd one of India’s largest energy conglomerate.
Meena joined Microsoft in 1995 after she left PwC. She set up the consulting division for Microsoft in New Delhi. In the 5 years that she spent at Microsoft she learnt how to develop business models and how to scale them up.
In 2000 she and her husband co founded CustomerAsset.it helped US based internet companies to get customer support. Though with the sudden change and revolution with dotcom they had to change their business by focusing on the needs for call center for large corporate. When they came to know there would be not much further growth here they sold it to ICICI bank for 20 million dollars.
She than helped TESCO put up their back office hub in India. She became the CEO of the third largest MNC at that time and she built it from scratch and than up it to a level that matched the most complex finance and IT related services operations. Almost 4000 employees worked under her at that time.
While Meena was working for TESCO her husband opened another entrepreneurship in 2006 by the name of TutorVista. After working for TESCO for 3 years she joined her husband in his venture. As at those times the condition of internet and mobile phones was very poor in India, Meena made it her goal to find how to publicize it in India in a way that it was beneficial to both the company and the general public. She learnt that parents mostly spent their money on school and post-school tutoring. They thus targeted this idea and sold them to around 3000 schools.
The startup kept growing and after 5 years they sold most of their stakes to a British company by the name of Pearson and PLC and for some time they took a break to enjoy the profits of their hard work.
The husband and wife duo than started GrowthStory- a venture building platform- as they call it in 2013. They generate ideas, build a business plan, and usually put together a core team, largely comprising those with whom they have worked before. They then make some investments in the different plans until they find a suitable investor and then sell the venture to him. BigBasket, online jewellery store BlueStone are examples of such ventures started by them and then sold to potential investors.
With growthstory they also got the idea for Portea medical. Portea came up with a different solution for healthcare. Most of the healthcare services are offered inside the hospital but Portea helps deliver healthcare to your doorstep. From taking care of newborns and elderly, physiotherapy and post-op care it takes care of everything. Portea currently has more than 1 lakh home visits a month across 21 cities and has a workforce of about 4,500 people.
Things we should learn from her success-
- The market is an open place with new ideas coming n every day; we should have an eye for such potential.
- Detail and perfection is everything, one should never overlook any problem however small it might be, a person with such an attitude will surely build a successful organization.
- It might seem silly to ask questions now and then but never fear to do so. Always ask questions it helps increase knowledge
- Don’t turn a blind eye once you have had a successful venture always be on a lookout for problems that might arise.
- Whatever initiative you take, doesn’t have a half baked idea, know your venture by heart.
- Sometimes it becomes hard and all you need is a shortcut , but it won’t help in the long run so make sure you take the best path even if tedious
- Focus on the new trends in trends in technology and make sure to stay updated and make your business stay updated with them.
- Make sure your customers know you and can trust you. It helps build up business.
- Choose smart employees to work with. They help take up the business even if it asks a lot at first.
Setting up a new business might seem hard at first and you will face hardships and doubts along the way but the satisfaction when it takes flight of success is immense, Meena is a determined and hardworking women. Who took mere ideas and made them into multimillion companies just with her dedication and her belief in herself. With the support of her family and husband she achieved great heights which no women had dreamed of achieving in that era. We should all learn from such an amazing woman and inspire from her. She taught us that hard work, dedication, courage and determination helps cross any boundaries.