“BE REALISTIC ABOUT YOUR CAPABILITIES AND LEARN FROM MISTAKES”
Sheetal Mehta Walsh, 45 Founder, Shanti Life india Foundation, US
her job at Microsoft Corporation in Silicon Valley, US, was a tough decision that Sheetal Mehta Walsh took in 2006. However, she believes it was the best thing she ever did for herself as it allowed her create a portfolio of roles such as starting innovative social ventures in the UK to help tech companies get funding for underdeveloped communities. “Success is to be thankful to those who help you along your journey and to work with people you respect and admire. It is also about what you leave behind and how you impact the lives of others,” says Walsh, who has been taught the importance of giving back and working within the community to help others from an early age. That is what Shanti Life India Foundation aims to deliver. Founded in 2009 in the UK and registered in India in 2013, Shanti Life India Foundation is a philanthropic venture that provides poor entrepreneurs in slums and villages low interest loans through microfinance to help them build sustainable businesses. “It occurred to me that poor women in villages have little or no access to resources. My goal was to combine a charitable mission but with a business hat,” says Walsh, who has more than 15 years of experience in technology, venture capital and social entrepreneurship.
The initial challenge for her was to build trust among the communities who were denied by other microfinance organisations. Walsh and her team did overcome that over time, and her current challenge is to get more donors for her microfinance initiative which has an annual turnover of $100,000 approximately. Walsh also works as a dealmaker for the Department of International Trade for the British government besides teaching yoga and playing the drums in her free time.