September 23, 2022
On September 4, 2023, an affectionate friend to most of the friends in Mumbai, entrepreneurs, the young and aspiring businessmen, Freddy Mendonca passed away in Dubai due to brain haemorrhage. It was a terrible blow to everyone and anyone who knew him personally, professionally. Was it the right time for such an energetic person to go away at the prime age of 74, many asked. But it was true, which can happen for any of us, anytime.
Freddy had passed across the gates of Heaven, never to return. According to his family members his organs were donated while in Dubai due to which it took time to bring his last remains back to India. But the satisfying fact is that according to the doctors who attended on him at the last moment, he passed away peacefully and he died as a hero!
Sylvester Rodrigues adds in his eulogy - Freddy Mendonca devoted his entire life to cultivate the bonds of friendship and belongingness in our community by starting, building, and nurturing several organisations that have brought prosperity to all of us. He said, this great and noble soul deserves our presence in celebrating his life and contribution. He was a giant Obsessive Community Builder (OCB) who relentlessly pursued his dream of building a platform for Christian Entrepreneurs to propel the community.
His story is one of unwavering dedication resilience and indomitable spirit that overcame his humble beginnings as he journeyed from Mangalore to Mumbai. He was the founder Chairman of Dimensions – a platform and support system to build, connect and grow Christian Entrepreneurship.
He believed that in our increasingly competitive world, it was essential that we Christians, who have contributed so much in the fields like Education and Healthcare, do justice to ourselves in areas like Business and Public life and increase our contribution to nation building. He emphasized that we needed to work hard to remove the stigma attached to us – “Christians are individually rich but collectively poor”.
He felt that as Christians, we have been sheltered by our families, the Church and our schools, and values such as honesty and spirituality are ingrained in us. We make good employees because we are well educated and work hard, but we are neither trained in networking nor in starting our own enterprises. Our strengths of the past have now become our weaknesses, and we are unprepared for the new world of opportunities.
He during his lifetime emphasized that as a community, we also lacked the support systems and the role models that could help our youth venture out on their own. To bridge the various gaps that existed and to make his dream a reality, Freddy along with a few other entrepreneurs and business leaders conceptualized and created the Dimensions Global Christian Chamber of Commerce. Today, as a section 8 company, it serves to empower the Christian community to become job creators instead of job seekers.
Freddy inspired many people to consider the path of entrepreneurship. His infectious energy and can-do spirit in the many networking meetings, conventions, and events that he organized at Dimensions helped the members to build, connect and grow their businesses. His smile, passion and involvement gave everyone that he possessed the gift of confidence, excitement, and self-worth that goes so much deeper than just work.
Freddy always sought tie-ups with other like-minded organizations across India and outside to develop a panel of experts that would provide inputs, guidance, structures, metrics, and access to resources for our budding entrepreneurs. He wanted Dimensions to be the sought-after bridge between the Community, Academia, Industry and Government for turning employees into Solopreneurs and Business Owners.
He was the Founder Editor of the popular magazine – Dimensionally Yours - that focused on innovative themes to ensure that his message of entrepreneurship permeated through the length and breadth of our country. He worked hard for over 10 years using his curious mind and love for learning to run this self-sustaining and educational masterpiece. He spent a considerable amount of his energy and time to source the very best articles and case-studies, collect advertisements and get the postal permission to mail this newsletter to over 2500 Christian institutions and budding entrepreneurs across the country.
He was also associated with the Bombay Catholic Sabha, the Christian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Kanara Entrepreneurs, Goa Dimensions, Catenian Association, and many other like-minded organizations to help nurture, guide and mentor entrepreneurs. He also spearheaded the formation of “Life Anchors,” an institution that supports various social initiatives like livelihood related training and empowerment for disadvantaged youth, financial literacy, empowerment of senior citizens, differently-abled and other have-nots of society.
Freddy’s passing away is a huge loss for the entire networking ecosystem. For those who knew him, he will continue to live in their memories. At Dimensions, the members are committed to carry his gifts and legacy forward such that generations hereafter may benefit from the seeds he sowed in his lifetime.
He was always keen that Dimensions should focus on incubating Christian entrepreneurs that reflect our Gospel values of integrity, honesty, and fairness in all we do. His dream was to empower the Christian community to become job creators instead of job seekers.
Freddy inspired many to become entrepreneurs and many such people are thankful for the meaningful lessons he imparted which have shaped the lives and the life of countless others in our community. His noble work and his selfless dedication to our community will be forever etched in our hearts.
His son, Dany Mendonca raised homily to his father on behalf of his family, friends, and other associates in Dimensions during a mass held in his honor. He said, “my dear father loved being with people, making friends and organising gatherings. And this gathering of his loved ones will truly make him happy.
He informed to the mourners about the early days of Freddy Mendonca. Freddy was born on the 18th of Oct, 1949 to Celestine and Gregory Mendonca. He was the second child among four brothers and one sister. He grew up in Mudarangadi, now in Udupi diocese (around 25km from Udupi city) and went to school in Shirva. He loved fish curry and rice but was not successful in getting his kids to like it.
He moved to Bombay for his graduation and worked for a few years there. He married Natalene in 1979 and then he had the opportunity to move to Saudi in 1980, where both his children Dany and Diana born two years after. After serving for 10 years the family moved back to India during the gulf war in 1990.
The last job that gave him a lot of joy was at Protocol Marine, where he met his associate Mr. Dev and built a networking platform called Dimensions to nurture, guide, and mentor Christian entrepreneurs.
He was a dedicated family man, who was always there when he was needed. While he was not into movies or sports, he loved watching comedy, and it was more fun seeing him laugh than hearing the joke itself. He was also very curious and always wanted to learn and keep exploring.
Finally, the founder of the Christian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Mumbai, India) and an entrepreneur, Vincent Mathias reminisces – “When CCCI was founded in 1998, Freddy was the support system. He joined us immediately after hearing the objectives of CCCI and he was very excited. He was helping many Christian youth to become entrepreneurs. He was a good writer, Motivator and very committed to what he was doing.
He started a news magazine in CCCI before starting his own organization, DIMENSIONS, which he founded with the help of some Christian friends.
He really wanted our youth stay back in this country and take up entrepreneurship and bring economic strength to our community. We used to talk quite often and exchange views with each other. I miss a great friend and a community leader.
Photos by Rons Bantwal
Courtesy: Hilary Lobo, Dany Mendonca, Vincent Mathias, and Sylvester Rodrigues