I would like to take a moment and share with you the greatest entrepreneur I have ever known….my father. In 1969, at the age of 28 my father left all he knew to venture to a new and unfamiliar land. COURAGE. He left India and immigrated to the United States. It took him seven years to save his rupees to pay for his $100 one-way airfare to the United States. CONVICTION, PERSISTENCE and PATIENCE. He left my mom and sister who was just a baby behind. He needed to resettle in the US and save the dollars for their airfare to have them join him a year later. COMMITMENT and FAITH.
I heard the story of how he arrived in this country with only $8 in his wallet many times as a child. I use to roll my eyes because often times my father would tell that story whenever my brother, sister or I were asking for precious funds. Now I understand the exponentially high ROI he generated on that $8. RESOURCEFUL. He built a new life with his wife and three children in middle class America. He achieved home ownership. He provided higher education to all three of his children. He has traveled the world. He took care of family in India and those that followed him to the US. He directly improved the quality of life of many family and friends. PROFIT SHARING.
The road was not easy. There are countless stories of the adversity and challenges we faced. He taught us how to utilize our own capabilities to create opportunities for ourselves. SELF-RELIANCE. When the going got tough, our community of recent Indian immigrants relied on one another. COMMUNITY. He understood the hard work and commitment to generate financial resources and taught us how to respect those resources and use them to enrich our lives with expanded opportunities and experiences. WISDOM.
I share this story to remind us that the lessons of entrepreneurship do not simply exist in business but also in the many day to day lives of immigrants across the United States.