Women in Business

Why Age and Gender Don't Define Entrepreneurship

In an exclusive conversation, Neerja Birla says you only live once, so make the most out of it - seize the day
Entrepreneur Staff
Associate Editor, Entrepreneur.com
3 min read

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Neerja Birla, the Founder of Mpower, is a face that came out in the public eye not in 20s, 30s or the 40s. She decided to pursue her career once her children grew up and she could dedicate her energy towards following her passion.

In an exclusive conversation, she speaks about the Indian men and yearns to inspire women to seize the day.

What is the one personal experience that pushed you to start your own enterprise, your inspiration?

One is in the field of education and that I believe comes from the fact that I do believe education in any form is very important to open and widen horizons to become non-judgemental people, which again would lead to a much happier and a better community.

Do you feel that women do have additional onus as entrepreneurs juggling between children and husband? Is entrepreneurship more difficult for them?

I fully agree with that because though we are going into this phase and I personally do believe a lot in equality, to a certain extent it is little idealistic because I don’t think the Indian male and why I say Indian male is because I do not know too much about the western males but in our culture, the Indian male is still a little far away from really following equally. So, it’s very well to say that you know you should not have gender bias and is already very equal and all but in reality, it doesn’t happen like that.

So, fact of the matter is that as a woman, you are juggling various roles at home, whether it’s of a mum, whether it’s of a wife or of a daughter-in-law, a daughter and when you don’t have enough support coming from the males in the house, coming from your husband for example or the family you are living with, obviously it becomes that much more difficult. So, it is very tough, there’s no doubt about it but like I said, life only begins at the end of your comfort zone. No pain, no gain. So you got to just work at it and keep working at it. You’ll get there.

You are a pioneer with respect to starting at an age when many women think that they are done and dusted and they can’t pursue their passion anymore. What do you have to say to women to inspire them to follow their passion?

I am a late starter and I think, at any age no matter what when you realise that this is your calling which again to me, I have stumbled upon; it’s been a process for me. It didn’t happen that one morning I just woke up and I said, okay this is my calling. No it doesn’t happen like that. It is a process, you got to evolve. So I think anytime when you realise that this is your passion and you really want to do it, just go out there. You only live once.  So make the most out of it. Seize the day. I really do believe in Carpe Diem, I live by that. I think so should you!

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