On the occasion of International Women’s Day, and in keeping with this year’s theme #BalanceForBetter, DBWRF celebrates women achievers through a series of articles. In this blog, we highlight techpreneur Samina Kanchwala’s journey as an entrepreneur.
“Doing business is the path to prosperity,” said the Late Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (RA), at a speech in Cairo, and called on community members to be business-minded. It was these words that resonated with Samina Kanchwala, who then, with his blessings started her own IT consulting and software development company in 2007. Gaining from experience of working as a scientist in the Indian Defence Ministry’s Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO) and several leadership roles at global multi-national companies, she used that knowledge well to her advantage. At a time when the IT sector did not have much to cheer about, Samina went against the tide, and built a company, which she proudly says, has been profitable since day one. It is in fact a testament to her resilience and passion.
Under Samina’s able leadership, her company brings together people, technology and processes to effectively serve their customers in sectors such as healthcare, electrical vehicle charge management systems, HRMS, e-Governance, and Payments. One year into her journey as an entrepreneur, Samina began operations in Africa. In her words, “This was when the real growth happened.” Despite scepticism surrounding her decision, Samina proved her critics wrong when she successfully handled several e-Governance programmes in the region. Samina also managed off-shore product development centres for companies based in the US, and eventually grew to set up an office in California.
As a woman in a largely male dominated space, Samina admits she has been on the receiving end of gender bias, but she has turned it around in her favour. “Women have a strong sense of resolve. We bring sincerity and commitment to the table, and this is definitely an advantage over our competitors,” she says.
Samina largely credits her spirit of resilience to her upbringing as a Dawoodi Bohra woman. She states, “We Dawoodi Bohra women are raised to be honest and ethical, and these values contribute greatly to our success in life. Furthermore, our spiritual leaders too have always encouraged women to be business-minded and independent. Over time, we have proven our mettle through our sincerity, commitment and emotional quotient. As a result, we have earned a reputation for ourselves.”
A seasoned techpreneur, Samina confidently states that the community houses the perfect environment for young women to enter the space. She emphasises that the growing generation of women should also imbibe these values and be committed, persistent and resilient, in order to be successful. She asserts that their spiritual leader’s blessings are always with them, and the community offers a nurturing domain. So there’s no stopping these power women from achieving anything they put their mind to.
Being a woman entrepreneur, Samina has had to walk the proverbial tightrope, balancing between her personal and professional life many a times, but she has taken it all in her stride. She believes that multi-tasking which is key to balancing both worlds, is something women are adept at, and this is what sees them through the challenges of the day. Samina’s passion as a techpreneur is evident from her success, and she rightly concludes saying, “You either have the best of times, or testing times and I strongly believe that you should never take anything for granted. Whenever I am being tested, I never sulk. I am only motivated to work harder to pass the test.”