SHE FACTOR: A Lesson On Putting Up A Business

By Sandhya D’Mello
Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) When Shibi Kattila was having a difficult time finding the right pre-school for her own child she came up with the idea to create her own venture.


The UAE’s initiative to support new entrepreneurs through various initiatives is commendable, offering plenty of opportunities to explore, said Shibi Kattila, founder and principal of Cherry Town Nursery.

Shibi’s dilemma in finding the right pre-school for her toddler 10 years back, was a catalyst, besides her desire to serve the expat community compelled her to venture in setting up Cherry Town Nursery.

Coming with no business background in the family, Shibi says, she was not trained to think like a businesswoman, besides she hails from a conservative family where the cliché goes ‘the woman’s place is at home’.

Shibi attributes her success both to her supportive father and her husband who nurtured her entrepreneurial skills. The Cherry Town, the founder is a strong supporter of organic growth and takes pride in starting another branch.

“There have been many proposals to expand, I believe organic growth is a sustainable way to grow. It ensures the same focus and gives back to the community at all times. Thus after 5 successful years of Cherry Town, we are prepared to expand into one more branch in the coming year,” said Shibi.

The mother of a twelve-year-old daughter shares how when she was 8 years old her father — who managed a transportation and construction firm — took her to his office and put her beside his chair. In the years to come, Shibi served him tea in the office, loved sorting pens and paper on his desk, and brought him the ledger from the accounts. The dedication to serve her father made her multi-task and take on different roles of typists, receptionist and then gradually to his personal assistant during summer breaks in college days.

Some of the lessons that life teaches come with simple observation of how people behave, react and so did Shibi have the opportunity to understand people and their behavior when they would drop over to her father’s office for a chat over ‘Kahwa’ or ‘Sulaimani’.
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This inspired Shibi to meet new people and learn new languages.

Shibi succumbed to family pressure and got married when she was 22 years. “My partner soon understood my desires to work and be independent. He became my support system. Within a year after marriage, I restarted my career in the administration field of a semi-government university in Dubai. Two years from there I moved into one of the Big Four accounting firms.

A multinational environment molded me. I realized what I am good at. Probably the gene from my father . I was good at listening to people and they loved to pour their heart out, I was successful in the field of Human resource. Have single-handedly run the audit resource planning process over the years in this large setting which involved coordinating, managing people and situations, problem-solving, meeting people and listening to them.”

Shibi wanted to help women through her venture and hence the decision to start Cherry Town, which helped her to give back to the community in her own little way. “The nursery created jobs for women and gave families opportunity to afford to send their children to a pre-school, while letting many mothers to achieve their dreams,” concludes Shibi.”
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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