Enterprise corner

Opportunity knocks

Successful entrepreneurs offer a valuable lesson in grabbing life’s chances, says Amar Lodhia

Seema Sharma is an entrepreneur, dentist and Channel 4’s Slumdog Secret Millionaire who lives in South East London. Seema was born in July 1967 and set up her first practice in 1991, at the age of 24. She now owns a small group of dental practices trading as Smile Impressions Ltd. She is also a partner in an innovative William Place NHS Dental Practice in East London. At 40, with daughters aged ten and eight, and a dependable practice management team akin to her second family, she cut back her hours at work, participating in a children’s oral health education project in East London, to pursue her dream to help deprived children. That dream really came true two years later, in 2009, when she was part of a winning team that secured a coveted tender to run an NHS dental practice for underprivileged residents in Bow, and she was invited to India to be the ‘real slumdog secret millionaire’ in the popular Channel 4 philanthropy series. Seema took time out of her busy schedule to speak at our flagship self-employment programme being run at the Guildhall and co-funded by City of London. Her talk centered on her journey from starting her business in a male-dominated industry at a young age and what she did to become a multi-millionaire at the age of 45. Seema inspired all of the participants and moved some to tears describing her work on the Channel 4 documentary. She also spoke to the TSBC participants about ‘boarding the bus of opportunity’, explaining that it is up to us as individuals to either take the leap or stand still and do nothing. Seema believes her success has been due to hard work, luck and an element of being in the right place at the right time. She shared something her father once told her: ‘First you learn, then you earn, and then you return.’ Seema plans to continue her journey into her heritage, and to further her charity work with underprivileged communities in India and East London. She also spends time building links with others who, like her, were satisfied with their personal achievements and wanted to do more to help those less fortunate.

To enquire more about our new service or our work in general please contact me at ceo@tsbccic.org.uk and follow me on Twitter @amarlodhia or @tsbclondon. Don’t forget to use the #tag DDNews when tweeting! Amar Lodhia is chief executive of The Small Business Consultancy CIC (TSBC)