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These successful women entrepreneurs in Goa show us that Goa means business too – not just sun, sea and sand. Hear their inspiring stories!
Famous for its beautiful beaches and pristine natural beauty, Goa is one of India’s biggest tourism hotspots, popular with families, couples and even foreign visitors.
However there is more to this state then just sand, sun and waves. Goa is India’s richest state with the highest GDP per capita and is also home to many successful women entrepreneurs. Here we bring you some of the many inspiring women entrepreneurs in Goa, with stories that will make you think afresh!
Cheree Tree Concepts as the name suggests, is a company which helps its clients ’cherrypick’ the resources they require to build their marketing and branding platforms.
Unlike most entrepreneurs, Rina Barreto founded the company at the mature age of 45, after an unsuccessful attempt at opening a preschool. However she does not consider her age to be a hindrance; rather she considers it to be an advantage.
Barreto says, in this interview, “I used to think that starting out as an entrepreneur rather late was a constraint, as the millennial entrepreneurs have the benefit of taking technology in their stride and leveraging its power. However, I am fully aware that I have the advantage of tremendous experience and exposure, both in the corporate world and as an entrepreneur who has failed earlier. The ‘constraints’ actually encourage me to creatively redefine my services.”
She believes that Goa has the potential to be a startup hub just as it is a tourist hub.
Born and raised in the Middle East, but now settled in Goa, Ethel Da Costa is the CEO of Think Geek Media, besides being a writer. Da Costa obtained her degree in economics from the university of Goa and went on to have an illustrious media career career across media companies such as The Times of India, Tarun Bharat Publications, OHerald Publications, and Radio Mirchi 98.3FM (Goa).
Ethel Da Costa is now Founder & CEO of a Media, PR, Fashion & Lifestyle Content and Communications media company, Think Geek Media, which works with clients and celebrities to mange PR and host events, not only in Goa but across India and even internationally.
She has won many awards both for her media career and as an entrepreneur and has been recognized by the Goa Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Women’s Wing for Valuable Contribution toward Women Empowerment in Media, 2018.
Originally a civil engineer, Siya Shaikh worked for many multinational companies in Goa and Pune. However she was not completely satisfied with her career until her passion for travel and exploration led her to the villages of Goa where she met women who were running small businesses selling food, snacks and handmade jewellery.
However these women were struggling to make a profit inspiring Siya Shaikh to set up Gowomania as a community where the women entrepreneurs of Goa could promote and sell their products.
Today Gowomania Goa hosts a variety of events and activities such as pop up events, workshops related to stress management, time management, health management, competitions and so on.
They are also active in the sphere of social work providing help and financial support to underprivileged families.
In 1996 Ashwini Aditya started Shree Foods, a catering business from her home with only 2-3 staff members. Now, the her business has grown to cater for weddings, birthdays and events of more than 500 people.
Ashwini says about her journey so far, “It started out as a hobby and turned into a full time business. We have a good reputation and demand in Goa. All our staff is trained at our place; we don’t accept trained staff, so the taste and recipes are the same at any time. Moreover we have the pleasure of training boys who are illiterate and not financially well off into cooks and waiters. This also gives them a chance to earn a better living.”
When thinking of Goa , the first thing that comes to most people’s minds is the beaches. However there is much more that culturally vibrant state has to offer and in light of that Maria Victor founded Make it Happen, offering tourists a chance to explore less obvious aspects of Goa.
The company came about as a result of Maria Victor’s passion for travel and exploration. A management accountant by profession, she left behind her steady job in Mumbai to focus on Goa and offering great experiences to the tourists visiting it.
Something which makes the company unique is that it does not hire professional tour guides; instead, it employs locals who are passionate about sharing their heritage and culture. In Maria’s own words, “We approached retired professionals to lead our walks. With their various experiences in life, they organically become very good storytellers. To add to this, the availability of time in conjunction with personal touch takes their passion to another level. It was the idea of giving tourism in Goa a new narrative, as seen and lived by Goans, that got them interested in working with us.”
In an interview with Viva Goa magazine, Pallavi Salgaoncar describes her unlikely journey toward owning a cake shop. She says, “I have always loved eating sweets and desserts. Post marriage when I was based in Pune for some time, I tried some short-term bakery courses that triggered my passion for baking.”
Today her dedication and hard work have paid off as Pallavi Salgaoncar’s Desserts N More now has outlets in many malls in Goa such as Caculo Mall and Mall de Goa were it serves an array of cakes breads, biscuits and other baked goods.
Born and raised in Mumbai, Rachana Deshpande moved to the United States to pursue her higher education. She began her career overseas working for companies like Citibank, Highmark, and GoldenSource.
After the birth of her son in 2012 she decided to take a breath from her career to spend time in the home. However when her husband got a job in Goa she took the opportunity to re-enter the workspace and thus started aR consulting, which provides brand management and related services.
Today her company is thriving, having expanded its reach from smaller B2C entities, to government projects, MSMEs, corporates, real estate firms, and educational institutes. They have also recently opened a branch in Mumbai.
It seems that the charms of Goa attract not only people from around India but from outside the country as well. Such was the case with Masterchef Contestant and Australian Sarah Todd who fell in love with the people and culture of India while visiting for a food demonstration.
She chose to settle in Goa and start the Antares restaurant because in her own words, “Queensland with its Great Barrier Reef, its tropical climate, sea and food is similar to Goa and when I visited it felt like home – like a mini slice of Australia.”
Antares Restaurant and Beach Club located on the shores of Vagator beach is a 400 seater that has won acclaim within a short time. While they suffered from a massive fire in early 2019, they have subsequently recovered and reopened.
These women entrepreneurs in Goa are inspiring us to go visit beautiful Goa for more reasons than one!
If you know of a woman entrepreneur in Goa we should consider adding to this list, let us know in the comments below!
More in this series:
4 gritty women entrepreneurs in Mumbai who are beating the odds
5 highly creative women entrepreneurs in Gurgaon who’ve made it big
4 Inspiring women entrepreneurs in Chennai whose stories you’ll love
Amazing women entrepreneurs of Bangalore to give us entrepreneurship goals
5 women entrepreneurs in Pune who are not afraid to dream – queen size!
Lesser known women entrepreneurs in Kerala whose stories are so powerful
4 women entrepreneurs in Hyderabad you should know of
7 women entrepreneurs of North East India who are doing big business
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