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‘We must have more women running businesses’

Coming from a commerce background, Luiza Gera always dreamt of being an entrepreneur. Post marriage, she got a chance to manage two family-run travel trade firms. Gera is a firm believer that women are capable of running their own businesses due to their multi-tasking abilitiesWhy did you opt to get into business? 

As a commerce graduate, in college I always dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur. Then I married into a hard core business family. My first attempt at business was to be an independent insurance agent. But post marriage I decided to help in the family business of travel. MGM International Travels is a partnership concern where I am the general manager. In our second firm, Atlantis Travel Consultants, I am the business partner, and therefore have a bigger responsibility.

 

Your toughest task in setting it up.

It is essential as an entrepreneur to be through in your field and be fully aware of all products in the market. To become aware of so many facets of the travel trade was a tough task. In this industry there is zero tolerance for errors. Getting to that level of confidence was my toughest challenge.

 

Have you achieved all your goals? If not what remains to be done? 

My goal is to keep learning and keep abreast of the latest developments which are ever changing. I understand fully well that I will never be able to say that I have mastered it all.

 

Your best business moment. 

It is not moment but ‘moments’. Every time a client says thank you is my best moment. We are blessed. I do not remember a single case where we have not received these words of appreciation.

 

Key elements for success in your line of work.

Apart from sincerity, integrity and zero errors it is also critical to have a support system around oneself especially as an entrepreneur. In my case my husband, who is mentor and friend, is my strongest armour. I feel it is important to discuss hopes, aspiration with the family, bounce ideas off each other, express fears and work together to overcome shortcomings.

 

Should there be more women running businesses? 

I am completely of the opinion that we must have more women running businesses. It sends a message to other women to come out and be what their hearts want them to be. Women are totally capable. Our plus point is we can multi-task big time.

 

Difficulties faced by women entrepreneurs? 

Fortunately I have not encountered such difficulties. Perhaps being Goan has helped me deal with fellow Goans and interactions have always been positive and supportive. In very few cases I have experienced some sense of disbelief in my ability just because I am a woman.

 

How do you manage work and home responsibilities? 

My family is a power bank of understanding. They support and help share responsibilities.

This helps me manage my time between business, family and home. Once in a while, I do grumble, but all in all it works pretty well for me.

 

State one aspect of Goa which has changed for better or worse.

Infrastructure has not kept pace with the changes taking place in Goa. This saddens me. Also, I would be glad if there could be a ‘live and let live’ approach, knowing that there is room for co-existence and everyone has the right to her/his place in the sun.

 

What changes would you like to see in the business as well as social environment? 

In business, I would like to see integrity. In social environment I would like people to be kind and considerate. Learn to say “Pehle Aap “. Remember that we are tourists on earth with a confirmed date of arrival and departure. No extension possible. Realize this. Therefore live life accordingly and try to be as good as you can.

 

If not in business what would you have chosen as a profession? Why? 

I am a professional in my business. I get great satisfaction in helping people. I feel this business or another similar service oriented business would be best suited to me.

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