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Woman entrepreneur makes a mark in a male-dominated industry

Woman entrepreneur makes a mark in a male-dominated industry

SME Inspirations

GlobalLinker Staff

GlobalLinker Staff

20 Jul 2016, 10:44 — 8 min read

To be a woman in a male-dominated industry is no easy task. But to be a successful woman entrepreneur, break all gender biases and create an exemplary organisation takes grit, self-belief, passion & perseverance. These are just some of the qualities that Geeta Handa has in plenty. When she took over her father’s fledgling organic animal feed supplement business, Geeta had little experience and faced the seemingly insurmountable challenge of establishing her credibility as a woman entrepreneur. In a short span of time, she earned the trust of her clients and peers in the industry and has established her company, Nurture Organics Pvt Ltd as a leading manufacturer of organic animal feed supplements.

In a candid conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), Geeta shares her commitment to creating an organisation that helps the farming community and is not focused merely on profit margins. Watch this video to know more about this remarkable woman entrepreneur.

 

GL: Tell us about your business.

Geeta: Nurture Organics was established in 1997 by my father. That is when we ventured into feed supplements for aqua culture. I was working with my father at that time and my father slowly eased away from the business. By 2002 I was at the helm of the business and going out into the market to sell our products. This is the time when we started to spread our wings and ventured into the poultry & dairy industry as well. We essentially manufacture organic feed supplements for animals which are totally free of harmful antibiotics. We have introduced various products that are user-friendly, organic in nature and in turn these products help in the overall growth and performance of the animal.

The word ‘nurture’ was given to the company because through our organic feed supplements we are nurturing the animals and ultimately the products that the end user (i.e. humans) gets is of very high quality. We are trying to bring technology closer to nature.

I now have a team of around 25 people. We have collaborated with a few companies, have joined some cooperatives and have issued several tenders for large businesses.

We have also been doing a few projects where we give consultancy to the farmers for setting up their farms, thereby educating people rather than just selling our products. So that is giving us a good edge over our competitors where we are trying to make Nurture Organics as one stop shop for all farming related solutions.

GL: Tell us about your educational background & how you ventured into this industry.

Geeta: My background is very different from my business. I have done my graduation in home science. My dream was to have my own bakery. Whenever I went to Bengali Market in Delhi, I would always see Nathu’s bakery, and in my mind I would think that I will open a bakery larger than this!

Then my father started Nurture Organics. He had problems working on the computer and so he told me to learn computers and help him with sending emails.

Initially when I started working with him, I never enjoyed the task of sitting on a chair and just working on the computer. Then in 2002 we diversified our business and I got an opportunity to go into the market to sell our products. I enjoyed the challenge of building the business.

GL: What are some of the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?

Geeta: I faced a lot of problems initially because it is a 100% male-dominated industry and being a woman, nobody took me seriously. In the marketing field there were absolutely no women. I had to work twice as hard to establish my credibility in the market.

Gradually I earned people’s respect when they realised that I was making sense and had in depth knowledge of my industry. It has taken me a lot of effort to reach where I am today. In 2002 my colleague Anurag joined the company and together we introduced many products in the market and have created a good working environment.

GL: What is the USP of your business?

Geeta: We derive the greatest satisfaction from the fact that we are creating organic animal feed supplements, which is a step ahead from antibiotics. If we can improve the overall health of animals with the use of some organic products instead of antibiotics, I think it is a very good challenge for us to overcome because this will greatly improve the quality of milk, eggs or meat that we humans consume. When we will have access to foods that are not adulterated with harmful antibiotics, our overall health will improve.

In addition, we believe in educating farmers to optimise their farming practices and go beyond just selling our products. Our clients also thereby feel that we genuinely care about them and are not solely motivated by selling our products.

My organisation is like a big family. I never impose my thoughts on my team by virtue of being the owner. I have never given them targets or forced them to make a sale. My team is free to work in their unique way and I only guide them. In case they have a problem convincing a client, I help them out.

In my field of work, there is often a language barrier. I have a team in Punjab that does not speak English but only Punjabi. I have always encouraged them to communicate in the language they are comfortable with. We organise small training programmes for our teams in various states that provide practical knowledge and training to the team in the local language that they speak.

GL: What is your big business dream?

Geeta: In my business journey I have formed associations with some wonderful clients and cooperatives. My goal is to expand my client base and continue to work with companies where we can build a mutually beneficial relationship. I have recently signed a contract with a French company which is the largest company known for flavours in this industry.

 

My dream is that Nurture Organics should be a place where people find solutions to their farming related problems. So my motive is to provide a solution for any problem that one may at a farm rather than being a company just selling their product.

I want to be the best company for animal feed supplements.

GL: What role do you feel GlobalLinker plays in connecting and assisting SMEs?

Geeta: When I joined GlobalLinker, I saw posts and videos for small business owners and I understood that this is a platform where SMEs can connect with each other. People keep promoting big corporates, but GlobalLinker is a unique solution that gives a voice to SMEs like us. This is the forum where businesses like ours that want to expand, can avail of many good opportunities and easily connect with potential partners, clients & other SMEs.
 

GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Geeta: It is always to nice to be independent, and work towards fulfilling your dream. Just trust in yourself. Go ahead and do whatever you want to do fulfill your dream. I have been very lucky that people who are associated with me, especially my family & colleagues, have all been extremely supportive. 

Keep believing in yourself and don’t pay attention to the naysayers along the way.

 

Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured member. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the member.

 

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GlobalLinker Staff

We are a team of experienced industry professionals committed to sharing our knowledge and skills with small & medium enterprises.

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