Entries in women entrepreneurs (2)


Our Turn

August 9, 2012

I met Alpesh Patel, author of “Our Turn – The Ultimate Start-Up Guide for Female Entrepreneurs” at WE’s launch event.  He was introduced as having written a great book on female entrepreneurship and I was intrigued.  I walked up to him and sparked a conversation by saying that we share the same last name (my married name - figuring it “might” buy me an in!).  I blog about successful women but I wondered if I could put Alpesh in it.  I don’t often meet men who care about what it feels like to be in a woman’s world!  I asked him for a few words and despite his very busy schedule, he very kindly obliged.  Here’s the Q&A that followed:  

On his background …….

Born and raised in Leeds, Yorkshire, Alpesh trained as a barrister.  He runs his own asset management firm and trades in derivatives.  He is also a co-presenter on CNBC, BBC and Reuters.  Alpesh’s grandfather served in the British army and his father worked very hard to get Alpesh a good education.

and what prompted him to write a book on female entrepreneurship? 

Atypical of most Indian families, Alpesh was raised by his mother and grandmother who were very involved in his upbringing, but also very integral in the family business.  They were inspirational women and instrumental in his decision to write the book.  His fundamental belief that ultimately led him to write – he was a lawyer by training and needed to do justice to an area that needs much help.

On how he lives up to what he promotes in print?

The male-female ratio at his company is 50-50.  Additionally, only a few minutes after we spoke, Alpesh tweeted about me, promoted me in his blog (http://thedealdaddy.me/2012/07/24/mumpreneurs/) and also mentioned Empower in his column in the Asian Voice.

On the day he stepped into a woman’s shoes…………..

…….At his book launch, when there was him and a room full of estrogen.  While presenting to 200 women, he realized what it might feel like to be a woman on a daily basis at the workplace and in the business world!!! 

His view on how women are different than men?

They are on the whole much better decision makers given they are less reckless.  They therefore make better traders. 

What he thinks we should change about ourselves?


On whether he is going to write another book……

Yes this time on whether India can save the world.

…….On where you can find him next?

Alpesh Patel will be keynote speaker at the Women Empowered Entrepreneurship Event, September 26th, 7pm at Bright Courtyard, Baker Street.  See attached link for tickets - http://www.womenempowered.co.uk/entrepreneurship_event.html.



Alpesh Patel is founder of Praefinium Partners, an asset management company.  He is also co-author of “Our Turn” – The Ultimate Start-up Guide for Female Entrepreneurs (with co-authors Nikki Royston and Nishika Patel) published in conjunction with HBOS.  The book (I am half-way through it) is encyclopedic in nature and has many tips on topics relevant to start-up entrepreneurs ranging from business plan writing, media, networking and lots of advice from women who have been successful.  He is also co-founder of TIE (The Indus Entrepreneur). 

“Our Turn” is available on Amazon and a must-read. 


Elixir of Life

July 6, 2012:

Geeta Sidhu-Robb, a mother of three, is CEO of Nosh, a company promoting health and wellbeing through nutritional programs.  Geeta has an extremely supportive partner and her oldest, twenty-three year-old manages Nosh’s social media.  Geeta is warm and extremely approachable.  She can be reached on www.noshdetox.com. 

I met up with Geeta Sidhu-Robb at Pret A Manger.  I had sent her an email asking if I could have a telephonic chat with her so that I could tell my audience her story.  I thought it would inspire many a woman out there.  She replied generously saying she would be happy to meet for a coffee.  Geeta was as warm and personable in the real world as she had sounded virtually.  In customary fashion, we exchanged business cards.  It was the first of its kind I had seen – a little pouch almost like a lotion sample.  It had her details on the front – Geeta Sidhu-Robb, CEO, Nosh.  On the back, it said, “Nosh Superfood Formula – a natural, immune boosting food, powder packed with vitamins, minerals and enzymes to help boost you and energize you.  Take one a day, before 6pm.”  I found myself thinking.  Had Geeta just handed me the “Elixir of Life” often referred to as the Ras, the substance referred to, in the Hindu scriptures, as believed to maintain life indefinitely.  The Hindu Scriptures also ironically called the Gita. 

Geeta is Indian from Africa, quite different to the Indian Indians.  For one they have less of a connection to India and second, most of them have a twang which is quite different to the Indian accent (no offence to the readers, my husband is one too).  Geeta definitely confessed to the former and I can say for a fact she does not have the latter!  She grew up in Malawi and came to London at fifteen to live with her aunt.  She went on to university and trained to be a corporate lawyer.  Her husband and she worked together and were successful enough to afford all the luxuries she could have ever dreamed of.  Geeta stood for Parliament and was the first Asian woman in the Tory party.  She left politics since it was too political and also too invading to her private life.  She also left an unhappy marriage and walked out the door with three children in private school and two hundred pounds in her back pocket.  Also atypically Indian, she took with her some jewellery, she thought she could fall back on.  Geeta had not a penny to her name and also had nowhere to go.  A good friend took her on and let them use her couch while she tried to figure out her life.

Necessity is the mother of invention they say.  A lawyer by training but an entrepreneur at heart, Geeta innovated right from the start.  Geeta started teaching children yoga at schools.  Geeta worked in television.  Geeta worked for a pharmaceutical company where she negotiated a pay-cut such that the company could assist her with a lease on a flat.  Geeta also pawned her jewellery.  Geeta did what she could to keep her children in school.  That was the only thing on her mind.  During this time, Geeta launched the first incarnation of Nosh; delivering healthy lunches to schools.  Things turned sour again and soon after she lost her job and with it, the lease on her flat.  She picked up the pieces again and using her training in law this time, went on to negotiate telecom licenses in Africa.  It helped her get her children a roof again and she decided to try her hand at re-inventing Nosh.    

NOSH as it stands today, stands for Natural, Organic, Safe and Healthy.  It is a company, which focuses on health and wellbeing by prescribing nutritional programs, supplements and therapies.  It is the same company that as I write (and you read), is in the process of bringing the first raw smoothie to supermarkets in the UK.  Her philosophy at Nosh is to hire young people and nurture them.  She spares no expense when it comes to training her employees and also personally mentors three to five women at any one time.  She is a big supporter of female entrepreneurs and believes they are where the future lies.  She personally supports the Kids Company (www.kidsco.org), a charity providing educational and emotional support to vulnerable, inner city children and a percentage of the proceeds from juices sold at Nosh also goes to Kids Co.. 

Geeta’s two goals for the next few years are:  firstly, to be one of the five richest women in the world and secondly, to raise one million pounds for the Kids Company over the next five years.  “Making money goes hand in hand with helping people”, she says.  Her advice to women out there who are trying to make it on their own is “ if you can see it and believe it, you can surely achieve it”.

Geeta might or might not have handed me the “Elixir of Life” but she has definitely handed me many pearls of wisdom, not dissimilar to what is written in the Gita.  “Find a cause bigger than yourself, never give up and the world is your oyster”, she says.  “Each person is born with a different fingerprint and it is time to leave yours.”  Our legacy remains for years to come, creating for us, an indefinite life. 

Thanks Geeta for that much needed boost of vitamins, minerals and enzymes - your warmth, your wisdom and your wonderful words.