LancasterThriving_Summer2017 - 7

FAILING FORWARD NUGGET #3: PASSION

Piloting Change from the
Kitchen to the Streets

S

rirupa Dasgupta founded her business to save
employees from poverty and economic dependency.
But it may just be true that her employees saved
her business.
In 2008, Dasgupta, then new to her role as director of web
content and multimedia at Franklin & Marshall College,
heard Muhammad Yunus address the Lancaster Chamber's
Annual Dinner, hosted that year by the college.
"I thought he was going to talk about microfinance,"
for which in 2006 he was awarded the Nobel Peace
Prize, she recalls. "And he didn't. He talked about social
entrepreneurship. So his speech was a catalyst."
Two years later, Dasgupta conceived the idea for Upohar,
a social impact catering business that would employ, train
and pay living wages to people struggling to gain footing
in the workforce, particularly refugee women. It would be a
new adventure on her life journey-from a steady rise in the

corporate world to the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
She remembers Yunus asking in his speech: "Do you want
to join me in this experiment?"
"Yeah," she thought to herself. "I'll join you in
this experiment."
'PERFECT TIMING'

Dasgupta, known to friends and colleagues as "Sri," started
her career in the software industry. She graduated from
Smith College with a degree in computer science and studio
art and rose through the ranks of the healthcare software
division at McKesson Corporation to become director of
development and technical services. She then moved to
Lucent Technologies, where she managed a global team in
marketing and consulting services
When the tech bubble burst, "I decided that it was a good

LancasterChamber.com

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