Mentor spotlight: Muthumari Duraisamy

Muthumari Duraisamy is a lovable mother and finance executive who worked in global roles in many countries so far. I hold high interest not only in finance but also in strategy, operations, and innovation. Since I worked in scale-up businesses within multi-billion international companies, I developed my skills to setup a new business. My life goal was to start a school for under privileged and I started mentoring students in 2009. Later, I realized that the classrooms are not enough to lift their life, and my goal turnout to be a school of entrepreneurs. I wanted to develop my entrepreneurial skills in different businesses through formal education and mentoring. This led me to do Executive MBA in Paris and started mentoring entrepreneurs in France and now in The Netherlands.

What is your story and what led you to your current job?

Passion towards business and people is the key driver for my career success. Helping others developed me as a problem solver and a solution provider. I always have the drive to push myself out of my comfort zone and failures are my highest motivation as it taught me lessons to succeed.

What is the biggest lesson you learned in your years of working?

I have learned to be curious, flexible, open, and honest towards whatever I did. Having a genuine interest in people and the business helped me. I also learned helping and empowering others not only inspired people but also unlocked many potential leaders and entrepreneurs around me.

What is one thing you still really want to do in the future?

Professionally, I want to reinvent the way finance team provide support in an organization, through entrepreneurial drive and by developing more finance leaders. Personally, I want to open a school for entrepreneurs as mentioned above.

Looking back, what is one thing you would do different?

I would have become an entrepreneur, created my own company and helped more people.

What would you advise women starting their journeys in the entrepreneurial space?

To think of innovative businesses and operating models rather than conventional ones. Provide solution for your customers rather than a product or service. Innovative and high customer centric companies have always been successful. Be up to date on the market trend by connecting with people, attend webinars and conferences. Never hesitate to reach out to people, out of 100, if 10 people respond, it is a success. Develop a “fail fast” mindset, do not be afraid of failures, learn from it and take calculative risks.

What are common challenges women face in the startup world and how can we tackle them?

  1. Building trust with investors and customers is highly important. To tackle this, present your ideas with confidence, only 3 unique points of your product / service / solution to differentiate. Big stories never help. Make them understand how serious you are and do not feel shy to promote yourself.
  2. Funding, think beyond your country / industry and explore globally & beyond your network.
  3. Network, women lack network compared with men, so create an ecosystem of your supporters.


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