Making a difference to small business owners, especially empowering women entrepreneurs, Summi helps other SMEs realise their business dreams.
What’s your story?
My story is of a dreamer – a girl born in a close-knit business family in New Delhi, India. One who was seeking to discover the world and lead a quality life, helping make a difference to the lives of others. After my initial studies in India (majoring in design) and working at leading publications group, I went to Michigan to study journalism and later worked for a silicon valley start-up, helping other start-ups with their digital presence. My passion to be an entrepreneur led me to creating a venture of my own, helping SMEs and start-ups, better manage and grow their businesses. Through our solution GlobalLinker, I also see a way to encourage others (especially women) to become entrepreneurs.
What excites you most about your industry?
Clearly, the extremely large and global scale and more importantly, the ability to make a difference to small businesses is what is most exciting. For a long time, small businesses worldwide have been seen as the pillars of economic growth and yet, they struggle at managing and growing their businesses. This is largely due to the small size of their businesses. We are here to change this and provide small businesses, the advantages that bigger businesses enjoy. We are here to help SMEs achieve their big business dreams, because we understand there are small and medium enterprises but no small and medium dreams. Our solution, GlobalLinker, uses our US Patent in offering SMEs a business networking and collaboration solution to manage and grow their business. It also offers preferential terms on a range of business products and services.
What’s your connection to Asia?
As an Indian, born and bred in India, my Asian connections run deep. While my venture is global, we launched GlobalLinker in India initially and are now extending the solution to a few countries in ASEAN. We operate a very unique Corporate Issuer model, where leading corporations in aviation, banking, office automation, media, telecom, etc. with a large SME clientele may launch a co-branded version of GlobalLinker. We launched the solution with India’s leading airline and are on our way to launch with a leading bank in India. We have now initiated Corporate Issuer discussions in the ASEAN countries as we believe SMEs in Asia will benefit a lot from the business networking opportunities GlobalLinker provides.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore is a favourite as it offers a perfect gateway to all of Asia. From a business standpoint, it helps that a number of regional offices of significant corporations are based in Singapore. The widespread use of the English language makes it easier to communicate. It is also easy to connect to almost any other place in Asia from Singapore due to easy flight connections. With a concentrated business district and short commuting distances, we can get much more done in Singapore even with multiple meetings as compared to other cities. That having been said, most Asian cities are good to do business in, given the cultural warmth that is at the core of most business dealings.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“To excel in your area of work, either make your passion your profession or practise a profession with a cause, you feel passionately for.” It seemed rather obvious and even a tad cliched, when I was told this. However, with a few years since the launch of my venture, I can relate to this and feel it in every moment of each day. When I have to explain this to others now, I simply say that because I am so passionate about the cause my venture is addressing, I look forward to Mondays – so for me it is TGIM instead of TGIF!
Who inspires you?
Most first generation entrepreneurs, who create solutions to improve the cause of others or are obsessed about user experience, inspire me. Thankfully, we have plenty of modern day role models – founders of Google, Uber, LinkedIn etc, are examples. But if I had to pick one individual, it would be Steve Jobs. To me he personifies grit and obsession for customers and innovation, resilience, commitment, passion and several other virtues (notice I address him in the present tense).
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I recently learnt of my pregnancy, and that blew me away. Strange as it may sound, apart from the immense joy I experienced, was the realisation that most women do not opt for entrepreneurship because of the fear of ‘missing out on motherhood’. Of the many messages I received when I shared my news, I got a few that asked about the fate of my venture. So what blew me away, when I learnt about my pregnancy was my ability to rear my child within and continue my entrepreneurial venture unabated. To inspire other women to take to entrepreneurship, I have started to chronicle my journey of being a pregnant entrepreneur in pregpreneur.com. I am hoping through pregpreneur, I can start a dialogue around the subject and have more men and women commit to supporting entrepreneurship by women.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I have always believed, we all have immense potential and when we stretch ourselves, we discover even greater latent potential. So it is important that in what we do, we utilise as much of our potential as we possibly can. When we can add a purpose to our potential, it takes us to a totally different level. I believe in what I am doing. I have stepped out of my comfort zone and also found a purpose I truly believe in. If I could take another shot at it, I would only attempt it sooner.
How do you unwind?
I unwind doing what I enjoy most, use and critique GlobalLinker as a business owner. Lest I be branded as obsessive (which, I actually am), I may add, I also love going for long walks with my husband, trying exotic new cuisines and recipes and listening to ageless music.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
While I haven’t done it yet, I would like to visit Bali for some pampering. Given I use retail therapy for relaxation, Bangkok offers me the best return on Bhat invested for every relaxing hour.
Everyone in business should read this book:
‘Give & Take: Why helping others drives our success’ by Adam Grant
Every entrepreneur comes across several situations where she/he has to decide on being either a – giver, taker or matcher; Grant convincingly argues how ‘givers’ experience the most personal and professional success and satisfaction.
Shameless plug for your business:
Having experienced the wonders of social and professional networking, it’s time to experience the power of an electronic business card in building your business network. Create your eBiz card on GlobalLinker and start business collaboration like never before. GlobalLinker is what you need for your big business dreams, because we know – there are no small and medium dreams!
How can people connect with you?
Through my SME networking portal – globallinker.com
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>