International Women’s Day 2018 | The Future is Female

Women have come a long way from being just a homemaker. The women entrepreneurs of today are chartering unknown territories unabashedly and fearlessly. Be it in education, investing, travel, fashion, retail, fitness, and anything and everything under the sun, they are proceeding with gumption and unbridled fervour towards changing the world.

To celebrate today’s most influential female trailblazers, we at Business Goa have compiled a list of Goa’s top female entrepreneurs to watch this International Women’s Day! These female entrepreneurs are striving to effect social change and change the way of business for the next generation


Archana Bhobe | CEO, Snip Salons & Spas

Style Guru

Archana Bhobe

Armed with a diploma in Fashion Technology and well established in her career as a qualified fashion designer with an eponymous store which garnered a sizable client base over eight years of its operation, Archana Bhobe noticed a potent market in the luxury salon segment of Goa.

Thus, Snip Salon and Spa, today one of Goa’s top spas, was born. With classy interiors, and a comfortable ambience, the spa and salon, has been promoting luxury wellness since 1999. From the usual pedicures and manicures, to the more exotic body scrub and luxury massages, the spa takes care of every need.

The idea of introducing a salon of such elegance to Goa was incepted when Archana, along with her husband Sumeet, noticed how the grooming and wellness space had evolved in other parts of India and the world. Archana’s background, expertise and experience in the fashion industry came enormously in handy when building Snip as a luxury brand. It is through her vision that Snip was created as a chic, upbeat hair salon and day spa offering truly international hair and beauty services in a stylish, modern environment

Style is an essential part of the experience at Snip Salon and Spa. From the uniforms of the staff to the products used, it’s safe to say that Snip is the epitome of style and quality; and it can all be credited to Archana. Archana Bhobe is indeed a major voice of style in Goa. Seamlessly bringing her trendsetting vision and extraordinary style as a fashion designer into the salon and spa domain, Archana reveals that her inspiration comes from travelling and scrapbooking. “I’d rather be on a plane –inspiration is everywhere, seek it, find it,” she says with the calmness that only someone who has climbed the flight of success one stair at a time, can say.

By marrying creativity with a deep entrepreneurial prowess, Archana Bhobe has seamlessly converted her vision into extraordinarily profitable realities. Financial pundits say “Don’t mix business with emotion”. Archana begs to differ; according to her, business is emotion.


Jasmine D’Souza | Certified Fitness and Yoga Instructor

Life changer

Jasmine D’Souza

Jasmine D’Souza’s J’zy Fitness Studio is a mission-driven, holistic wellness and lifestyle brand that aims to spread wellness by being true to the age-old adage ‘a healthy mind, in a healthy body’.

Health and well-being is becoming nothing short of a global movement. Jasmine believes that true happiness lies first and foremost in being healthy and fit – not in mindless materialistic whims such as parties, money and commodities.

After a major car accident, Jasmine found herself gaining weight due to the numerous treatments and medication. In her own words, “It is then that I chose this path, to get rid of all the negative thoughts, all my ego and restlessness, and strive to build a happy mind along with a fit body, through the practice of yoga.”

With sincere guidance and training from her Guru, Shri Gururaj from Bangalore, she started practicing yoga. In the process, she discovered the true meaning of life, concern, happiness, and well-being. Her quick transformation led her guru to anoint her with a new spiritual name, Prerna, meaning ‘inspiration’, a name that truly resonated with her new life as a yogi.

J’zy Fitness Studio was founded on this premise to inspire, and authentically facilitate the internal and external growth of individuals to experience a more fulfilled daily life. J’zy offers certified courses in Yoga Fusion, a concept in fitness that has never been tried before in Goa, that blends yoga poses with other fitness regimens such as pilates, aerobics, and kickboxing. J’zy thus intermingles every aspect of fitness and helps develop the three basic dimensions – physical, emotional and spiritual.

Through J’zy Fitness Studio, Jasmine continues to invest in her own growth and well-being as an essential part of her entrepreneurship journey. Undoubtedly, her singular focus is on being a better entrepreneur from within.

Speaking about her experience as a female entrepreneur, Jasmine says, “It really feels good and I am really privileged to be a female entrepreneur. However, sometimes, it can be a bit of a challenge and I am doing my level best to come out with flying colors.”

As far as challenges are concerned, Jasmine says, “When I started my journey, there were a lot of hurdles. A lot of people doubted I would be able to do justice to my studio and whether I had the necessary skills to continue and survive in the fitness industry. But due to the support of my family and members of my studio, I was able to prove my critics wrong. Also, I continued with my practice every day which gave me a lot of confidence to excel in my profession and impart my knowledge to all the members who trust me. This motivates me to always be positive and never think of it as a burden. I always look forward to excelling every day of my life, be the best “fitness expert” and be an example to all women who are aspiring to be successful entrepreneurs.”


Anuradha Visvanathan | Founder, Tea n Tonic


Anuradha Visvanathan

Anuradha Visvanathan is a woman entrepreneur making strides in the highly competitive, fast growing PR industry. Anuradha spent most of her life between India and the UK. Anuradha started working in PR in London in 1997 for clients including Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Smollensky’s on the Strand (hotel), China Whites & Saint (night club) and Tiger Lils (restaurant). She went on to launch the second largest domain registry in the UK, which is dot UK dot com. She later worked for Haymarket Publishing in their Marketing & Circulation department.

Inspired by her experiences in this industry as well as her tenure in Haymarket Publishing, Anuradha planted the seed for a new kind of company – one that would redefine the role of public relations – in Goa. Tea n Tonic, a boutique public relations, marketing and events company grounded by its passion for communication, core values and strengthened by its unique independence – has helped several leading brands communicate, engage and build relationships with their target audience.

Anuradha has also consulted for restaurants in Pune and was a founding partner of Plug PR and has worked closely with the press for the last 10 years. She also helps run an animal rescue NGO called Animal Farm in Pune. Other than PR, Anuradha has also worked as an interior designer and F&B distributor under the brand name Jambalaya.

Passionate, creative and committed, Anuradha Viswanathan is a true talent in the public relations industry. According to Anuradha, being a female entrepreneur is a huge responsibility. “Being an entrepreneur, and in particular a woman in this industry, it’s quite difficult often to be taken seriously. Even if you know your subject, and you know what you’re talking about, you are often shrugged off. And this is particularly difficult in India more than it is in other places of the world.”

“Challenges arose primarily with making people aware of the industry; what PR actually means, because everyone has a misconception of it. As a PR and marketing company, our major challenge was explaining our services to people. Another major hurdle was just putting the word out there. Most of our clients come from referrals and recommendations, and that’s how we’ve grown as a company over the years. To me, success is equal to our clients being happy with the services we deliver. The success of our clients reflects on us as a company.”


Aparna Pradosh Amoncar | Director, Amoncar Classic Caterers

Empowered Entrepreneur

Aparna Amoncar

A brand name to reckon with in the catering segment of Goa Amoncar Classic Caterers. Founded in 2008, Amoncar Classic Caterers is the joint venture of Aparna and Pradosh Amoncar.

Known as one of the best off-premise, outdoor and indoor caterers in Goa, Amoncar Classic Caterers has an established reputation for exceptional food, creativity and presentation combined with outstanding service. Attuned to the changing tastes and trends in food and presentation, Amoncars’ continually strives to improve their offerings with a variety of delicacies.

And a driving force behind this establishment is Aparna Amoncar. Aparna equates the word “empowered” to what it is like to be a female entrepreneur, stating, “We belong to a society where women have very little control over their lives. They are mostly burdened with family responsibilities. I studied law but since the time I started managing and employing my mind in our business, I realised how empowering it feels to be able to control your own life in all possible aspects. Men may have a natural tendency to feel more in control of dealings and management and probably that is more so because of the male-centric social norm. I started with feeling of unfamiliarity when I ventured into business, but the huge responsibilities and challenges that have come up in this short period have taught me to face the worst extremes and at the same time also taught me to be content and satisfied.”

Speaking about the challenges she faced along the way, Aparna says, “I was entrusted with multiple responsibilities in our business and the first real challenge before me was to be quick in decision making and reasoning and at the same time to employ my best management skills to balance my home, my family and my business. It is all about having equilibrium between work and family. Mompreneurs have dual responsibilities – to do justice to their business and to their family. Finding ways to devote time to both is the key to truly achieving that work-life balance. It is never a choice between one over the other, it is just the ability to make both co-exist.”

In addition, Aparna believes that being an entrepreneur is all about being yourself and having confidence in who you are. “This simply solves the major problems in your life. They say, ‘Behind every successful man, there is a woman’, but I am proud to say that in my case it is vice versa. We both walk hand in hand. Success is achieved by your mind set. There is no need to hide or run away from who you are. We just need to enhance our capabilities. Know that every day is a new day which gives you more challenges and allows you to learn more. Learn as much as you can. Never stop. Be passionate about what you are doing and always give everything. Only those who have seen failure know how to cherish success.”


Gauri Falari | Proprietor, Shantadurga Concretes

Cementing Success

Gauri Falari

Being a woman in a predominantly male occupation has never posed a problem for Gauri Falari, proprietor of Shantadurga Concretes, who has successfully created a niche for herself in the concrete paver market.

Having completed her Bachelors in Ayurveda, Gauri initially worked as an assistant at the Mapusa Clinic in 2003. After she got married in 2004, she joined her husband Samir in his family business, Sagar Cashew Industry. This was followed by being involved hands-on in Kwality Blocks, a unit that undertakes manufacturing of concrete blocks. Finally, noticing a potent market in paving products, Shantadurga Concretes was founded. A first-time entrepreneur, Falari established her unit under the PMEG scheme and owes its existence to GIDC that assisted and educated her about the scheme.

Recognizing her husband Samir Falari’s role in her career, Gauri credits her success to him, along with the constant motivation and support from family members who have been a pillar of strength when she needed it.

Now diversifying into the hotel industry, the Falaris have founded Nature Inn, a resort in Nanoda. Nestled within 20 acres of lush green forest area, just 20 minutes from Mapusa, Nature Inn, an enterprise of Falari Farms, offers weekend getaways that are unlike anything you have experienced before. Enjoy a stroll around the property, fish in the pond, play cards, games, or just curl up and read a book. Whatever you do, you won’t want to miss the magnificent evenings you can enjoy from anywhere on the property.

Optimistic, meticulous, and hardworking, Gauri is indeed an entrepreneur par excellence. She feels that being a female entrepreneur is “to be empowered, financially independent, and an idol to your children. Undoubtedly women entrepreneurship is a step towards economic independence.”

She does, however, acknowledge that being a woman in the male-dominated concrete industry posed some challenges. “I wasn’t accepted very well in this domain. But the right technical knowledge, a product with a difference, timely delivery, and customizing clientele requirements helped overcome it all. With media recognition and having won numerous awards, I was able to consolidate my position in the industry.”


Shruti Tiwari | Director, Vogue Luxury Weddings – Occasions

Crafting dream weddings

Shruti Tiwari

No wish is too big and no demand too wild for wedding planner par excellence, Shruti Tiwari. A name that needs no introduction in Goa’s event planning industry, she is revolutionizing the way people say, “I do”.

A journalist by profession, Shruti Tiwari’s love for events coupled with her drive towards making her dreams a reality is the story behind her success as head of Vogue Luxury Weddings. Launched on January 4, 2016 Vogue Luxury Weddings – Occasions is a wedding and event planning consultancy providing bespoke, elegant and first-class service to discerning clients.

For Shruti, it’s never just about a wedding. A wedding planner is more than just someone who you sign a contract with to execute your big day. They are confidantes, sounding boards, and a gut check as couples navigate the often overwhelming process of wedding planning. Shruti’s clients stand as a true testament that her role as a wedding planner involves a lot more than just planning a party. Even two years after a wedding has been planned, Shruti states that she continues to receive updates from the happy couples about the married life she helped create.

Today, as one of the leading wedding planners in Goa, Shruti Tiwari and her team continue to plan and curate experiences for their clients, exceeding expectations, with a keen eye for detail and ability to visualize and execute what their clients want into reality.

When asked if being a woman in business is hard, Shruti says, “Being a female entrepreneur is tough, but it’s the kind of ‘tough’ that I can enjoy. It has taught me so much and has also made me believe that life is about experimenting. When passion meets hard work, success will follow you. Being a woman, in different walks of your life you will meet different people who will do everything they can to put you down or at least try. Getting over that kind of negativity, and doing what I’m meant to do was tough. Society expects you to be more committed to your family, but for me it has always been about a balance. Being a female or an entrepreneur hasn’t affected my personal/family goals and tasks. When you truly love something, be it your relationships or profession, you automatically find time and the energy to do justice to them.”

“Often, people only see what they want to see and completely neglect the hard efforts put into something. I’ve faced such situations and ignoring their opinions and doing what I believed in was a task. But the kind of joy that comes when you achieve what you are working for is the answer to all those people.”


Shradha Sawant | Proprietor, Star Agro Products Pvt Ltd

Growing the family business

Armed with a diploma in Fashion Designing from the Government Polytechnic Panaji and a post graduate degree in Commerce, Shradha Sawant started her career as a lecturer in Business Studies at the Government College of Arts, Science & Commerce, Khandola.

Over time, she moved to an entirely different line of work. Today, Shradha is spearheading the family business, Star Agro Products. Star Agro Products is an expanded village industrial unit earlier owned by her mother Ratnamala Parab, under the name of Star Products. Within four years of its formation, Star Agro Products and its earlier entity have grown exponentially and spread throughout local markets in the state.

There have been problems along the way – finding a bigger unit, complaints of pollution, legal battles and so on – but Shradha has tackled them with patience and perseverance. Speaking about the challenges that arise due to the competitive market, Shradha says, “You must not only know your product, but be aware of the competitive environment and cultural trends to assess your business’s place in the market. I have full faith in the quality of my product, so the competition doesn’t really matter to me. And this is what gives Star Agro Products an edge over the competition.”

For Shradha, being a female entrepreneur, means being independent in all respects. Meeting targets on a day-to-day basis for the company is what drives her at work. She says there is a picture in her mind of what needs to be done on the next day. And when she works with a positive approach, she is able to execute most of the tasks successfully. Providing local women with employment opportunities is what she considers her biggest achievement as an entrepreneur. Workers also get incentives during the festive seasons.

Star Agro Products has been the proud recipient of a number of awards, most recently, the COSIDICI National Award under their flagship self-employment scheme ‘Chief Minister Rojgar Yojana’ (CMRY), for Outstanding Entrepreneur in the Manufacturing Category.


Shreemi Panandikar | Proprietor, Silverline World

Striving for excellence

Resilience is believed to guarantee success. Shreemi Panandikar stands proof of this. She started her journey as an entrepreneur in 2005, with her venture Shreemi Creations, a graphic designing company. As a newbie in the entrepreneurial domain, Shreemi was underestimated but it wasn’t long before Shreemi earned respect and projects that inspired and motivated her to take a bigger step and start Silverline World.

Established in 2005, Silverline World in Margao is a top player in the interior designing sector in the state. This well-known establishment acts as a one-stop solution to all one’s interior designing requirements. Shreemi’s belief that customer satisfaction is as important as the products and services offered have helped the establishment garner a vast base of customers, which continues to grow by the day, thus establishing a firm foothold in the industry.

Silverline World concentrates on interior designing and project execution jobs. Silverline World has expanded to offer interior and exterior branding, ACP cladding, aluminium windows, sliding doors, carpentry, stainless steel/MS railing fabrication, wallpapers, vinyl floorings, laser cutting/engraving on acrylic, MDF board, and other non-metal boards, all types of signage and printing on any media. Silverline also introduced to Goa, a first of its kind UNIBEND machine that functions along with the laser machine to make aluminium channel box letters which gives signage a more elegant look. Currently, Silverline is looking at two turnkey projects- Rooms Renovation at Hotel HQ and Reception Area Renovation at CG Power and Industrial Solutions, Kundaikar. The company not only designs the space with the help of reputed panel architects but also executes the same under their supervision.

With each step towards success, the competition around Silverline World has also grown but Shreemi is unfazed. She knows her hard work and determination yields results.

According to Shreemi, being a female entrepreneur means being independent in all respects. “Very often, we women depend on our husband, father or brothers for trivial things but I always believe and always practise independence in the true sense.”

Speaking about the challenges she’s faced along the way, Shreemi says, “I have faced many challenges, but ultimately being true to certain values and principles has always helped me face these problems boldly. Being honest, true to myself and transparent with clients, never tolerating any form of injustice, possessing a hardworking attitude, being committed to my work, holding an inquisitive nature – which helped me upgrade my knowledge, are some of the many beliefs that I have found essential in keeping up with the pace of my competitors. Most importantly, I believe striving for excellence rather than chasing money has helped me overcome all challenges in my way.”


Sandra Fernandes | Director, Menino Group of Hotels

Empowering women

Sandra Fernandes

Sandra Fernandes is a name that requires no introduction in the hotel industry. Director of Menino Group of Hotels, Sandra and her staff have worked very hard, and this has helped them build a strong portfolio for their organization and maintain an impeccable image in the hospitality industry.

The Menino Group comprises of Hotel Menino in Ponda and Menino Regency in the heart of Panaji. Being a hands-on boss and possessing a strong will-power along with a penchant for discipline has taken Sandra and the Menino Group to the heights of success.

From managing both hotels, to being a lecturer, like a true entrepreneur, Sandra seamlessly juggles multiple roles in society. She has also being the Past-President of The Inner Wheel Club of Ponda and has undertaken many projects for the upliftment of women and children.

A hands on entrepreneur she is involved a lot in running of both the properties from designing menus to catering to big events at the hotels.  She has also gone above and beyond in organizing Christmas Parties and different competitions for the under privileged children.

A freelance journalist, she has published many articles in newspapers over the country.  She is a Lecturer in Business Studies, Economics and Commerce at Sharada Mandir Higher Secondary School and also the Co-ordinator of the Higher Secondary Section. She is also a Visiting Lecturer in  Business Economics for B.B.A at M.E.S. College, Vasco. Elocution being her forte she trains students for different competitions.

Sharing her success mantra, she says, “Accept challenges as they come and see them as opportunities for growth. Let go of the past. Praying and meditating is an effective way of getting rid of stress.” With Sandra’s strong vision and a mission to improve every second, Menino is fully geared up to set new records in the hospitality industry.

When asked what it takes to become a successful woman, Sandra says, “A successful woman in business always has the power to maintain a positive attitude. When the going gets tough, tough women get going. As a woman entrepreneur, I have got the chance to provide opportunities to women. Here, I must say age is just a number. There are ladies in my business who have started late but are thorough professionals today. Tomorrow, when they move on, I know I have made a mark in their lives.”

As far as challenges are concerned, Sandra believes that accepting a woman at the helm of affairs is very difficult for the male counterparts. “It has taken a lot of time and effort to get things in order.  I feel women have an extraordinary common sense, a sharp intuition and a good focus on people.”

“Another challenging aspect is the work-life balance.  I would call myself a mompreneur having dual responsibilities to business and family, finding ways to devote time to both is the key to achieving a good work life balance. When the going gets tough, tough women get going.”


Archana Sachin Pai Bir | Advocate

Delicate balance

Archana Pai Bir

Archana Pai Bir holds a Bachelor of Arts (Economics), from Dhempe College of Arts & Science; and a Bachelor of Law (LLB), from V M Salgaocar College of Law, and was one of the women pioneers to venture into the highly-competitive field of law.

Since 2003, Archana has been working for S N Joshi & Associates based in Mala, Panaji Goa as an advocate, making significant contributions to the strategic success of the firm. A confident and resilient advocate, Archana has appeared in the High Court, District Courts (North & South Goa) and other Subordinate Courts (North and South Goa). Archana is a fierce individualist with a mighty work ethic, strong opinions, and stunning successes.

Sharing the driving forces behind her many accomplishments, Archana reveals her mantra, “Believe in what you do, accept challenges, face reality, move in the right direction, focus on your growth, do what you love, learn from your mistakes, adapt to the changes, think big, think smart, use your power of dreams and imagination, and you will achieve all your goals in life.” In addition, Archana credits her success to the blessings of Goddess Kamakshi, along with the constant support of her family and loved ones. Through her hard work and resilience, unsurprisingly Archana’s successes have been tremendous.

According to Archana, success is not reflected in money or status, “Success comes as you grow in your field, help others reach their goals, be ethical and professional in your field, and contribute back to the community. As a lawyer, I have spent my own personal time to help those who are needy and cannot afford to pay their legal fees. I believe success comes naturally to those who are dedicated, hardworking and confident about their work. Every challenge you face in your career is a new opportunity to learn, adapt and grow. A balance between your career, personal life and family life is crucial. Support from your family is also important to achieve any goals in your career. You have to believe in yourself, keep doing the good work without any expectations, and enjoy what you do.”

As far as challenges are concerned, here’s what Archana has to say, “Giving equal time towards my work and family, was quite a challenge in the beginning. In order to ensure a work-life balance, I had to set manageable goals each day to meet priorities on both sides. This gives a sense of accomplishment and control towards career goals and attention towards home. Being efficient and productive with your time at work and also being flexible are key components of work-life balance.”


Neeta Brid | General Manager, Cidade de Goa

Running towards success

Neeta Brid

Neeta Brid started her career as a chef in La Paz Gardens after graduating from IHM, Goa in 1991. She later joined Majorda Beach Resort as Food & Beverage Manager. Post the birth of her son, she decided to take up a sales profile to balance both professional and personal spheres. She joined Cidade de Goa in 2004 as the head of Sales and Revenues. According to her, it was a very satisfying role in terms of learning and professional growth. In 2008, Neeta was made general manager of the resort, which is her current role. She is responsible for operations, revenues, contributions and marketing of the resort.

Speaking about her experience as a woman professional, Neeta says, “I never felt any discrimination. I feel your professionalism and merits speak louder than your gender. Being a woman professional is not something exceptional these days. We are more independent and career-oriented and represent every profession across the board.”

With the growing importance of women in every field of the community, we can see that more and more women have made it to senior leadership roles in various verticals. For Neeta, it’s been a learning experience throughout. “Even today I feel that I am on a learning curve. As a professional, I never miss out from getting my knowledge updated from any source. Learning can never cease at any level,” she says.

As far as challenges are concerned, Neeta speaks about defying social expectations, “In any  organization, forum or networking social dos, one will always see the ratio of men to women professional is heavily skewed. Women are far lesser in number. I hope to see this ratio rationalize someday. It is important for us to be updated with current affairs, knowledge of various subjects to partake in conversations and discussions. For a woman professional, it is slightly more homework so as to not be written off in such professional engagements and discussions on the sheer basis of gender.”

In addition, as is the case with most female entrepreneurs, striking a balance between work and family commitments might prove particularly arduous. Elaborating on this Neeta says, “Work-life balance is a goal of many professionals regardless of their gender, but mothers who are working have to simultaneously run their families and their professions.”

With the constant support and motivation of her family, success has always been at Neeta’s fingertips. “I feel proud and great about being counted in a list of successful working professional in the hospitality industry. As I said, you are always recognized for your work output, integrity, loyalty and your merits. I believe strongly that the two ingredients of being successful are a great attitude and an unwavering passion towards your job.” Sharing her success mantra, Neeta says, “The most successful women don’t run from change; they run towards it.”


Pallavi Desai | Vastu and Property Consultant

Impacting lives

Pallavi Desai

Diligent and patient, Pallavi Desai is an acclaimed Vastu consultant from Mumbai. Literally translating to “the science of architecture”, Vastu Shastra, is an age-old traditional Hindu system of architecture. A highly scientific art, Vastu Shastra brings together architecture and spirituality, thusly creating havens that nurture the soul.

Pallavi is one of the pioneers of the art in the state, having a global presence for over 12 years. She has travelled widely in India and abroad to cater to her clients, who are extremely happy with her services.

Pallavi is a treasure trove of knowledge when it comes to Vastu Shastra, holding a deep understanding in pyra vastu, numerology, astrology, dowsing, chakra balancing, color therapy, and meditation. Backed by years of experience, she has handled many big and small projects in India and abroad. Her immense understanding of the art has helped change thousands of lives. Her projects include both residential and commercial spaces.

As a leading Vastu consultant, Pallavi studies the issues and problems of her clients and delivers responsible suggestions, thus helping them live a happy and healthy life. Transparent and effective suggestions are made without any demolitions or structural changes. Pallavi has earned her reputation as an authority figure in Vaastu Shastra due to her accurate and result-oriented solutions opening doorways to health, wealth, peace, prosperity and good relationships.

Pallavi has diversified into property dealing. Her major areas of operations have been India and Dubai. She now has plans to further diversify into construction in Mumbai and Pune, so that she can construct happy living and working spaces at affordable prices.

Speaking on what it’s like to be a female entrepreneur, she says, “Being a lady entrepreneur has been a very exciting and rewarding journey for me. Women are natural multi-taskers. Support from family, especially spouse, is extremely important, which I am blessed with. I have to essentially maintain a work and life balance, which is an art that I have learnt over the years.”

“My work requires lot of travelling; and I am an avid traveler. Due to the nature of my work, I am sometimes unable to keep some of my family and social commitments. Initially, my family was concerned when I visited unknown households to carry out vastu inspections. But, luckily, all the people who have consulted me have been extremely good human beings and there were hardly any challenges in establishing myself.”


Pallavi Salgaocar | CEO, Desserts & More

Sweet Success

Pallavi Salgaocar

Pallavi Salgaocar is the epitome of strength, fortitude and multitasking. A chartered accountant by profession, Pallavi is the Executive Finance Director of Geno Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd, and director of the Bicholim Urban Co-op Bank. She is also a member of GCCI Woman’s Wing, a BNI member, and an active Rotarian of the Rotary Club of Panaji Riviera.

However, perhaps the most significant of her many responsibilities is her baking venture, Desserts N More. Having started with baking as a hobby, Pallavi was successful in transforming her interest and skill in baking into a full-fledged business. Four years ago, she took the plunge to turn her passion for desserts into a viable business. Pallavi spent a lot of time and effort on branding and market classification. Divided into three segments – Desserts N More, Desserts N More Premia and Wedding Bells – the ventures retail as a part of the bakery division of Geno Pharmaceuticals, named ‘Dainty Delights’.

Under her guidance and leadership, Pallavi’s brand Desserts N More has gained a reputation for its top-class quality of desserts, pastries, savories, cookies, and over the years, has expanded its presence across four outlets – the manufacturing and factory unit in Karaswada, an outlet at Caculo Mall in Panjim, one at the Mall de Goa food court in Porvorim and one at Elite Towers, along the Mapusa Court slope.

Pallavi is proof that there is no substitute for hard work. Having a strong understanding of her brand and the products offered and constantly being on top of the new trends in the industry, Pallavi is redefining the world of desserts in Goa.

Pallavi feels there is no difference between a male and female entrepreneur, “The effort of being an entrepreneur is the same. But I guess a female entrepreneur needs to multitask more with home, family and career.”

As far as challenges are concerned, Pallavi finds manpower difficult to course. “In the beginning, it was difficult to get a good team together, now I have a great team who work coherently and with the same passion that I have for this business. Also, for someone who multitasks so much, management of time is a major challenge, especially as I have a young son who needs my time.”


Marsha Gizelle Almeida Coutinho | Director, Longuinhos Beach Resort

Marsha Almeida Coutinho

What does it mean to be a woman entrepreneur?

Being a female entrepreneur is easy. I believe that it is all about where you see yourself today and tomorrow, and this has nothing to do with whether one is male or female.

What challenges have you faced in your professional journey? How did you overcome them?

I joined at a point where I did not know much about our business. However, studying (in relevant courses), and managing our business at the same time, gave me the hands-on practice which not everyone is lucky to have. The biggest challenge, of course, was to bring back Longuinhos to that level where Iloy Almeida Coutinho, my dad, had left it after his untimely death. Perseverance and the interest to make it large in life always gets you there.

People have looked down on me in the past, because I started young. I once overheard someone saying, “What will this 19-year-old kid do?” These sort of comments have never pulled me down. I like my work to speak for me; people will be forced to change their perception, in time.


Morzenia Almeida Coutinho, Director, Longuinhos Beach Resort Colva

Morzenia Almeida Coutinho

What does it mean to be a woman entrepreneur?

It’s about taking a step back and actually thinking about the life you want to live, the things you want to achieve. When we do that and we get really clear on what we want our lives to be like, we can all create so much success, every single one of us. Live your dreams; live your dreams out loud.

What challenges have you faced in your professional journey? How did you overcome them?

I have always believed that “the greatest pleasure in life is doing what people think you cannot do”. Ever since I started work at the age of 18, I have taken all criticism positively, not to prove anything to anybody — I just needed to prove that I could do it myself. I recollect, years ago, wanting to associate our brand Longuinhos with various companies or trying to associate with others; there were times when people would bluntly say NO and look down upon me and make me feel so negative about my work.

I do not feel the same anymore today, because I have worked on every small thing possible to convert a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’. I think it is very important to be criticized to be able to give it your best.


Neomi Barneto | CEO, Neomis Hair & Beauty Salon And Spa

Neomi Barneto

What does it mean to be a woman entrepreneur?

According to me, being a female entrepreneur is being true to yourself. This starts with knowing your strengths, passions, limitations and purpose in life and then living that way all the time. What defines you and makes you whole… empowering yourself. You never know when inspiration might hit. My journey would be incomplete without love and support from my better half, Mario. We should always be open and receptive.

What challenges have you faced in your professional journey? How did you overcome them?

Launching the first unisex salon was definitely a challenge during that era when a unisex salon was unheard of. We launched our first Unisex Salon in Goa (in 1997, in Miramar). In the years that followed, we have expanded into other parts of Goa and setup salons in Colva (2005) and Ponda (2012).Catering to customer demand; the latest addition to the venture is a spa and salon at Calangute.

In addition, being a mompreneur was another challenge. No one said it would be easy. Raising a family and running a business are far from easy tasks. Both are full-time commitments that are often at odds with each other. The working women of today frequently have to balance between the demands of their business and the persistent needs of their children.

Finally, I would like to quote “Be a game changer by thinking outside the box and create new and innovative ways that will set you apart from the competition.


Sabreen Sukhtankar | Co-owner, Black Sheep Bistro

Sabreen Sukhtankar

What does it mean to be a woman entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur is an incredibly empowering feeling and being a female entrepreneur even more so. Women are moving into their own and there isn’t a better time for women to start their own businesses than now, especially in India. The government has some great schemes to encourage female entrepreneurship and the statistics are encouraging.

Women are built differently and naturally tend to gravitate towards building relationships and partnerships. The restaurant industry is largely built on just that, relationships. Women are also tougher in my opinion; they don’t really give up until they’ve got what they want and are willing to fight hard for it too. Because at the end of the day, running a successful business, is definitely not for the faint of heart.

What challenges have you faced in your professional journey? How did you overcome them?

Running any business has its own challenges, whether you are male or female. I would like to focus, however, on the advantages. The corporate world was initially built by mostly men and hence designed to cater to the male perspective. With more women coming into positions of the decision maker, they are changing the work environment to make it more conducive for other women to achieve success. We are those women now and we have a great responsibility to work together to help other women reach greater heights than ever before.


Sujai Joshi | Advocate, Partner at Hariani & co.

Sujai Joshi

What does it mean to be a woman professional?

People have a bias against women in leadership and we desperately need to correct that. In order to change this bias we need to make a systemic change. If we have female equity in companies, then the work culture would change and there would be fewer men in high level positions. When a woman heads an organization, people often label her as “aggressive, emotional”. But I think that’s all changing now. I am fortunate to work with an incredible team of people and as I expect a lot from them, I guess they too expect me to guide them and have exemplary leadership qualities.

What challenges have you faced in your professional journey? How did you overcome them?

It’s been tough balancing home and work, but I enjoy every moment and wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world.  I think I am greedy, and want to experience life to the fullest; my early morning meditation, my workout with my trainer and of course my dinner dates with my girlfriends once a month help me balance my work and personal life perfectly.


Swatee Rane | Chartered Accountant, Company Secretary

Swatee Rane

What does it mean to be a woman professional?

Women are generally more level-headed, practical, multi-taskers and empathetic. A working woman juggles roles – at work and home. For that matter, every individual – man or woman – does that. But for a woman, there are extra challenges because society looks up to her as a nurturer, caretaker, family maker and a family keeper.

What challenges have you faced in your professional journey? How did you overcome them?

There are many challenges for a professional woman because Indian society lays down many rules for the girl child. It starts right from what she can study, where she can study, where she can work, how she should dress, where she can travel, so on and so forth. As a child, I dreamt of being a surgeon, but I couldn’t enroll in a college offering science as there were none next to my house. Though I chose commerce, it did not douse my zest for excelling in academics. In the midst of this, my father retired and we had to shift residence from Navy Colony in Mumbai to my father’s home town, which was a small district. I kept fighting against all odds (e.g. no access to professional classes, non-availability of books, travelling to Mumbai to appear for professional exams, etc) and managed to stand second in merit in post-graduation, and also obtain dual professional degrees (Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary). As a professional, I’ve had to fight other situations but I believe that challenges can either be treated as threats or opportunities. If you are opportunistic, the sky is the limit and it doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman.


Vaishali Joshi | Founder, The V Factor

Vaishali Joshi

What does it mean to be a woman entrepreneur?

I am an entrepreneur and I don’t really look at it as a gender based thing. That’s probably because I’ve had a very liberal upbringing and my parents were extremely particular about our education; we went to the best institutes in the country and were never made to feel inferior because we’re women. I graduated from Bits Pilani.

It’s more about being competent and on top of my job. I have always had the full backing and support of my family, particularly my husband Parag, whose entrepreneurial spirit and great leadership abilities have influenced me.  My son, Rishabh, a post graduate from the London School of Economics, is also a great influence in terms of new age ideas and suggestions.

What challenges have you faced in your professional journey? How did you overcome them?

The V Factor, my Marketing Advisory Services company, has not faced too many obstacles. Even though I’m not originally from Goa, the warmth and the love of all Goans has engulfed me.

The only trepidation, perhaps, as a woman is when I travel for business outside Goa. Late evening meetings and dinners are something I like to avoid.  Also, I’m an absolute perfectionist and unfortunately when I cannot explain that to my vendors or business associates it becomes very challenging. I just do not accept mediocrity and that sometimes leads to issues. There are however some like Vivanta by Taj Panaji, my venue and hospitality partners, who are completely in tandem with my requirements and it’s a pleasure to organize all my events there.

Also, it irks me greatly when people think that I work for time-pass. Somehow, a woman working because she has a self worth and achievement orientation tends to elude some people and that can be very hard to handle.

I consider myself very lucky and privileged to be an entrepreneur in this field because I’m very passionate about what I do and to be honest I have somehow always had a great rapport with most people I work with and I’m very thankful to the powers above. I wouldn’t have it any other way.


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