Gender in Agriculture Partnership

Transforming agriculture to empower women and deliver food, nutrition and income security

Entrepreneurs...the century's superheroes!

Entrepreneurs...the century's superheroes!

The trauma of being orphaned turned Bruce Wayne into Batman; injustice turned Bruce Banner into 'The Hulk'; tragedy turned Peter Parker into Spiderman … and I often think that entrepreneurs have a lot in common with superheroes (and that there should be more Superheroines!).

I am Yudhika. My name comes from a Sanskrit religious verse and means the "Goddess who bestows victory'. How ironic that a female child is given such a name, yet is destined to be raised in a male-dominated home where her childhood is plagued by poverty and punctuated with hardship and domestic violence?

Yet the lives of the comic book heroes seem to follow a pattern, when some sort of trauma sets them on a new path. Bruce Wayne becomes Gotham City's Batman, standing up against crime after losing his parents. I grew up in rather challenging circumstances - nothing was ever easy. We lived in a little town in South Africa and life was far from bliss. A father who would not hold down a job, a mother who was uneducated and unemployed, the red tape that went with being in a male-dominated Indian home, and the poverty. It's hard to believe now, but I have experienced hunger.

Life deals us our very own unique hand and this plays a role in the path we follow. I have come to believe that trying times and difficulties encourage us to think creatively and 'out of the box'. Even as a little girl, I decided that my life would be different. I was going to turn my life into something extraordinary and long before I was an adult, the first spark of entrepreneurship flickered in my mind. Most kids excelled at school; I excelled too, even though I knew that I would never be able to attend a university – but I was determined to develop learning skills. I started out as an entrepreneur at the age of 14.

Opportunities were not going to knock on my door, so I mastered the art of either finding a gap or creating one. My first job was in a hotel kitchen wrapping cutlery in paper serviettes and I soon graduated to assisting with desserts. Being in the kitchen gave me the idea for my first little start-up, at 15, making samosas and cakes, chocolate éclairs and savories for the local Rotary Club. It also connected me with regular hotel guest who then became my customers.

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