Serving for India yet again: Shikha Uberoi went from tennis to entrepreneurship
She believes in her inner strengths. First it was tennis and now its entrepreneurship. Her gut and gumption have galloped ahead of her own expectations giving her strength to do more with her talent. Meet Asian Games Silver Medallist Shikha Uberoi, now an entrepreneur leading Indi.com which is “a social media platform where people engage via video challenges.”
Shikha quit playing tennis 5 years ago and served up this website that aims to use sport, fitness and media to stir up change. The career crest of being No. 1 in Indian tennis, and 122nd in world rankings gave Shikha the confidence to embrace a new journey, that’s ‘advantage digital.’ Ria Das is catching up with Shikha on entrepreneurial dreams, the values of struggle and success and the motivation to impact change.
What do you think about the digital transformation underway in India?
The digital boom in India is simply spectacular! It’s a very exciting time for India, Indian entrepreneurs and above all Indian youth. We are on the cusp of leading the world and becoming a super power. Digital fluency and accessibility are critical for inclusive growth and I am seeing that people of all sectors and socio-economic backgrounds are finding means and measures to get themselves online so they can participate in and enable the growth of the country.
It’s an enabler. It’s changing how we rise. How according to you is the concept of digital empowering women?
The internet is truly an equalizing entity. Moreover, its inherent nature is democratic. These two traits alone have the ability to include and empower the marginalized as well as those suspended in liminal stages. Through the internet, women today have access to knowledge, to knowing their rights and to the formal sector far better than any other time in history. Access to information and knowing you have choices and rights is the first step to women’s self-empowerment. The internet enables women to self-empower through knowledge and connecting with others.
Access to information and knowing you have choices and rights is the first step to women’s self-empowerment.
How’s Indi.com reflecting the social change in our society?
Indi.com serves to enable individuality and self-expression. It is a platform for people to emote and share their talents and get rewarded for them. The right to self-expression and the right to individuality are freedoms many take for granted. Indi.com ensures that all people have access to those rights. Indi.com is a platform for equality, it’s a safe place for expression and rewards people for their individuality. Indi is about empowering all people by letting them be 100% who they are.
India is growing with big numbers in women entrepreneurship…
The fact that India has a rising number of women entrepreneurs is very exciting for the future of the country. Women in the work force are a critical part of our GDP and the more we have the better. However, women leaders and women as entrepreneurs creates systemic change in our social constructs of women’s roles in society. Its critical to the health and the wealth of the nation that women lead through entrepreneurship.
Women in the work force are a critical part of our GDP and the more we have the better.
One message for all young entrepreneurs…
The odds are against us and we know it but we love what we do and we believe in ourselves harder than anyone! We have safer and secure options that we sacrifice because we can’t live without our freedom. Passion carries us through the tough days and makes every milestone feel like we’ve won a grand slam. Our energy never seems to wane and we have an endless supply of courage. We never stop thinking, creating, and working because we are obsessed. We will sleep when we die. We may be planting the seeds of trees we never sit under the shade of but that’s ok because someone will one day and that’s enough to make it all worthwhile. Never give up! Be agile. Be humble. Be grateful. Be you and only you.
The right to self-expression and the right to individuality are freedoms many take for granted.
Turn back time for us, talk to us about falling in love with tennis.
I began playing tennis when I was 5 years old. That was in Juhu, Bombay. I continued to play even as my dad started travelling for business and we moved to the US where we played even more. I started becoming good at the sport, and took a step forward to enter tournaments. After a point I was winning them and realized I was very good at it. By the time I turned 11, I had made the decision to play professional tennis. That required us to move to a tennis academy in Florida where I trained.
On Entrepreneurs: Our energy never seems to wane and we have an endless supply of courage. We never stop thinking
What’s the role of your family in your success?
Everything! I grew up believing I could achieve anything in life. My parents believed in me. So, for me my father is a true influential person in my life. And my mother is a creative person, has positive energy, raised five beautiful daughters-she has done it all. So, both of my parents are the pillars for us. And my sister also motivated me a lot. We have a very tight bonding with each other. We have done different things in life and been successful in our own ways but we celebrate new success with the same energy. We’ll do anything and everything for each other even though we’re miles and miles away from each other. We’re bound by our blood and beliefs.
On her mom: She embodies for me as the ultimate woman with her courage, her creative power, her moral values, her entrepreneurial skills, her basic instinct, her ability to navigate, she is a very remarkable person.
Did you find it tough to stay away from home for long periods of time?
No, I never did because I left home when I was 11. I’m always on the go and I love my life like that. So, it’s not tough for me, especially with technologies today like WhatsApp, Skype we’re always in touch.
Are you satisfied with the results you have achieved in your career?
No, I’m not. I think I’m happy and grateful for what I achieved so far. I know that because the encouraging runway for equality and changing peoples is the forever going process. So, the moment I say I’m satisfied, it’s an impossible idea for me. I have entered in a sector where I can never be truly done. In a way it’s a good thing, because I don’t like to get bored.
If you were not a tennis player what other profession would you have opted for?
Ohh, I love dancing. Not too many people know that. I wonder if tennis wasn’t my passion then someday I might have been in dancing field, either choreography or some sort of theatrical way. I love modern dance and love performing them. I just emote through dance.