Pain, Grit, Determination and Success - Story of Patricia Thomas
Notwithstanding the important role played by women entrepreneurs in economic growth, they still constitute a minority of all entrepreneurs. While women entrepreneurs create new jobs for themselves and others, they also provide businesses a different perspective to management and organizational problems.
Major hurdles faced by women entrepreneurs include gender-based barriers to starting and growing their businesses, discriminatory property, matrimonial and inheritance laws and/or cultural practices; lack of access to formal finance mechanisms; limited mobility and access to information and networks, etc.
However, driven by technological innovation, ease of accessing capital and favourable economic policies we have seen a growth in women entrepreneurship in India. At this stage, growth is concentrated in few regions with four southern states and Maharashtra accounting for over 50% of all women-led small-scale industrial units in India.
While, the world is full of success stories of women entrepreneurs, we are sharing the journey of determination of one such woman entrepreneur.
A 17 year old Patricia Thomas, eldest of 3 siblings, met Narayan, a Brahmin boy, and married him against the wishes of her Christian family. She soon discovered that Narayan was an abusive drug addict. Her marriage shattered, with no financial support and two children to care for, she knew that she could either succumb to the burden or fight. Nowhere to go Patricia turned to her passion of cooking, took a 100 rupee from her mother and started making pickles, jam, jelly and squashes. Soon, with two disabled employees, she started her own mobile cart at Marina beach selling cutlets, samosas, fresh juice, coffee and tea.
Through a long struggle spread over 12 years, in 2004 she was about to start a restaurant along with her son Praveen. As misfortune would have it, her married daughter died in a road accident. They started their first restaurant ‘Sandeepha’ in memory of Patricia’s late daughter. Since then Sandeepha has 14 outlets across Chennai.
Patricia Narayan was awarded the ‘FICCI Woman Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2010. 3 decades of hard work, 14 outlets, 200 employees and a daily income of 2 lakh, Patricia has proved no hurdle can ever stop a determined soul.