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From rags to riches

It is a perfect ‘rags to riches’ story which every aspiring entrepreneur should read and imbibe inspiration from it. She fought against all odds to become a successful entrepreneur in her own right. That she fought all the odds at the male-dominated era of 1980’s and 90’s and she does not belong to any business family made her success more spectacular and heroic.

This is the story of Patricia Narayan, winner of this year’s ‘FICCI Woman Entrepreneur of the Year’ award who, from a day’s of earning of just five paise in the early 80’s continued to fight to overcome all hurdles to establish a chain of restaurants to earn at least Rs 2 lakh a day today.

Patricia began her career around 30 years ago as an entrepreneur, selling eateries from a mobile cart on the Marina beach in Chennai amid all odds– a failed marriage, an alcoholic addict husband and taking care of two kids.

The young Patricia was at the crossroads when she, along with two kids, was virtually kicked out of the family by her alcoholic husband who was an addict to drugs and alcohol. She has nowhere to turn to, as her marriage with a Brahmin youth was without the consent of her conservative Christian parents.

It was a turning point of her life, either to fight it out or die. She opted for the latter and fought a lonely battle during the last around 30 years to become a successful entrepreneur who established a chain of restaurants.

As she does not want to become a burden to parents, who gave her refuge, she started making pickles, squashes and jams at home as that was the only thing she knew. She started the business with a couple of hundred rupees which she got from her mother and it was a huge success which gave her the confidence.

From pickles, squashes and jams, Patricia moved over to a kiosks and started selling more items like cigarettes, cutlets, samosas, bajjis, fresh juice and coffee and tea. On the first day, on June 21, 1982 she sold only one cup of coffee and that was for fifty paise.

But the very next day, she earned Rs 600-700 from the kiosks. From then on, she did not look back for the last around 3o years. From kiosks to canteen business to ‘Sandeepha’ brand of restaurant chain, she is now a business woman who accomplished a feat which is exemplary in right earnest.
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