Call it the Pygmalion Effect or a corollary, but those marked for stardom do shine bright. In 2015, The Economic Times released a first-ofits-kind listing of corporate India’s fastest rising women leaders, based on an extensive study conducted by Spencer Stuart. A dipstick survey now shows the 25 women on that list have more than lived up to expectations. The professionals have risen through their organisations, the start-up entrepreneurs have established themselves and the scions of the business houses have all led their companies on the path to growth.
This year, the ET Woman Ahead listing is longer, in line with the expanding universe of successful women leaders in India. The eminent jury that arrived at the final list saw no reason to restrict the number and the final list features 34 women leaders. They include star executives from the banking sector, which has always been ahead in promoting women; consulting firms, business school favourites, where women are starting to make a mark and multinationals, whose diversity mandates have played a big role in producing women leaders in India. Not surprisingly, the list features a fair number of start-up entrepreneurs. And then there are daughters of leading business houses, some of whom have upstaged their brothers.
We present profiles of the rising stars who have made the Woman Ahead list 2016. One question we asked all of them was what their advice to other women might be. Interestingly, their answers dwelt on a common theme. Believe in yourself, leverage your strengths, they said — and never try to act like a man.
Priyanka Singh, Director, Taj Pharma Group, Mumbai
Ms. Priyanka Singh & her venture Taj Agro Products
“There are 3 C’s to success-” Concentration, Consistency and Co-operation”, Ms. Priyanka Singh has beautifully explained this to us not by venturing into an innovative concept but also performing extremely well in details.
1. What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason to begin this?
Ans. It’s Taj Agro Products; and the concept to form this venture was need of quality health supplements and protein powders by our existing Pharma customers and importers, specially in MENA, and Africa region; as they wanted something unnder trusted umbrella and trusted and honest brand name.
2. What are your products or services?
Ans. Our company has wide range of rice, and we are one of largest exporter to Middle East countries of Products like Basmati rice, Spices, Protein Powders, Health supplements other Agro based items.
.3. Who is your target Audience/clients?
Ans. Our major export are Basmati & Non –Basmati Rice, Sugar, Wheat, Soya Bean Meal, Pulses, Spices, Tea, HPS ( Ground Nut) Sesame Seeds, yellow Corn Maize, Slat Dry Fruits etc. Export are primarily destined to East Asia, Middle East, Africa and North America. We are also selling our Health supplements of whey protein, egg powder, fruit powder, saffron, coconut powder, BCCA Powder and other items in India; and our major customers are corporate, Five star hotel chain, gym, individual mid –size trader, exporters and personal health trainers etc.
4. How old is your venture.
Ans. My venture is 5 years old.
5. Are you selling online?
Ans. Yes, we are listed on major online shopping carts like: Amazon, flipkart etc; and gradually we are looking to expand our sales on other such platforms. As we are getting good response of customers.
5. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
Ans. We looking to get into manufacturing and export of high value protein, Nutraceuticals, OTC health boosters, and mothercare products. I personally believe if the passion and talent is converted into work than there is no limit to growth and extraordinary results achievements.
7. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
Taj Agro has been established with a concept to avail quality Products of all Agro Based Products Requirements, under one roof for Importers from various parts of world and make them aware about wide range of unique Products of our nation, which are yet to shown to world. We are an Agro based country. And heart of this nation lays in a farmer’s field, aroma of fresh cultivated fruits, vegetables, milk, curd, lassi, Chai, and such day to day items. We are a self-sufficient nation; when it’s come to “Food”!
Therefore I established this venture to promote our country’s long cherished Agro Products. It’s highly demanded worldwide. It’s just proper channel is required to facilitate it. This is what I ‘m trying to do; via our organization.
9. How big is your team size for this venture?
Ans. Our team size is moderate; yet we are bunch of passionate people towards working for “Taj Agro development ‘Eat Good; Look Good; Presently our sales takes place from Mumbai/ Hyderabad offices; and production support is based in Gujarat.
10. What is your outsourcing strategy?
Over the years we have developed an excellent Agro Product basket for manufacturing, processing and trading and simultaneously developing sophisticated infrastructure facilities for Sourcing, Milling/Processing and Shipping. Apart from our strong sourcing networks, our other major facilities includes large warehousing, on schedule time delivery of Products, Credit Facilities to importers, Buyers, and always making innovative changes in our system which can keep us ahead amongst our competitors. I am always looking to improve ourselves. Every day is a new day and there is always some scope to learn and form your further strategy accordingly.
11. Have you raised any funding or have any plans for the funding?
Ans. No we have not raised any funding yet for our venture but in coming future; we may explore if good opportunity comes in our way.
12. Are you married, single or in a relationship?
Ans. I am single as of now.
13. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Ans. Honestly speaking if I look at my personal life I haven’t found any difference as I comes from a business family. I have been always actively involved in our Group social cause, CSR activities.
My mother is a great support and pillar of strength to me while encouraging me to do good work every day. My family is also very supportive and helpful. My father keeps sharing his long experience and right inputs to generate good business and quality products label, deign etc; despite of his old age he is very informative and have an enthusiastic outlook towards life.
14. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years or 3 years?
Ans. In next 2 to 3 years I have plans to make our venture more accessible, so that people from different parts of the world can be added to our customers list. I am looking to develop own product Mobile based APP, where farmers, Agro Vendors can keep direct connect with company 24×7; basically it will help us in better price negation, which will help us to grow further. It will also keep us updated with new market info.
16. What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
Yes, I’m still learning. We have hired good consultants and market experts; but yet we constantly need be updated about various food safety regulations, law amendments, implementation, documentation filling etc.
Currently our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Bhai Modi ji has made and implemented good reforms and most of such govt. Licensing portals are online now; so it’s bit transparent, hassle free and refreshing change. It will definitely bring positive change in long run.
17. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Ans Writing short story, Poem, glass painting, gardening, reading, travelling, Girl child education, cooking and tradition and culture.
18. Whom do you consider your idol or a biggest motivator behind this venture?
Ans. No one is my idol; as it’s keep changing with time, behind this venture.
But I do follow Industry experts work and their journey to achieve their goals.
Late Verghese kurien, (founder and chairman Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd.) is someone I really look up to. I am huge fan of “Amul” products; and USP of Amul is a tight supply chain and price control. It’s highly commendable; their way of working, transparency, and positive attitude to maintain the brand.
20. What do you think about funds accessibility for startups in Indian Market?
Ans. I think startups have funding accessibility because now a day’s angel investors, venture capitalist are coming forward to help the entrepreneurs in meeting initial fund requirements, provided the concept is rewarding.
22.Tell us something about your education & family background.
Ans. I come from a traditional Rajput business family. Our forefathers were landlords and social reformers. My great grandfather used to cultivate cash crop like “Tobacco, Spices, Indigo and wheat etc; and further he used to export it via Calcutta port to Burma (Myanmar now), Thailand, and other East Asian countries. So you can understand; from where this agro gene has evolved.
Further; this business tradition has been carried forward by next generations of our family.
24. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Ans. I am content person; yet not satisfied with what have been done so far.
I don’t consider myself successful yet. There is still long way to go.
There is no parameters of success for me, but yes; if our employees are well paid, their children’s are getting quality education, good health and if our customers based are satisfied, and new people are looking forward to associate with us. I consider such things as success and point of satisfaction.
26. What do you like to say to our viewers about aspiring entrepreneurship?
Ans. I would personally say to go for entrepreneurship. These days everyone does not have all luxury to start things on their own not only because of funds but also because of the family as well as social constraints. So if someone as an individual is able to make a right balance and pursue the venture by choice than one should start it with full fledge positive thinking.
Having said that; maintaining right balance is necessary, choosing likeminded people, venture capitalist, initial Licensing hurdles, funding, right location, if product based industry like us, and above all there should be “Passion to perform”.
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