“Every successful woman — leader, housewife, social worker, actress, novelist, teacher, and entrepreneur — inspires me; all of them have a special story behind their success.”
Entrepreneur Hansa Sinha has a special story too, one with many interesting elements. She studied in school with Mahendra Singh Dhoni, almost died due to an abscess in the lungs while in college, and joined hands with her competitor to start her company Genesys. A daughter, wife, and mother, she has lived life on her own terms.
Hansa’s commendable resilience, ability to doggedly work hard, and change things for the better have taken her ahead in life. HerStory spoke with Hansa Sinha to know more about her life and what keeps her going.
Born in 1980 in Patna, Hansa grew up like many others her age. Her childhood was about sibling fights for the bigger piece of chicken, or sitting in the front of their father’s bike, or an extra glass of Rasna.
From nursery to class 7th she studied in Notre Dame Academy, Patna. With her father’s transfer to Ranchi, who was working in a bank, Hasna joined St. Francis to complete her schooling. She moved to D.A.V. Shyammali, in Ranchi for class 11th and 12th and studied humanities, developed a love for basketball and played at the zonal and national level. She, along with Mahinder Singh Dhoni, was the school’s sports co-ordinator. Happily recalling that time, she says: “I remember our sports day at Macon Stadium, Ranchi, where I had marched together with Mahi (Dhoni) and ran a relay race too.”
She moved back to Patna for graduation, where she studied advertising, sales promotion, and sales management from Patna Women’s College. It was here that she was diagnosed with an abscess in her lungs. And the recovery journey was a difficult one: “My bones were cut to insert a pipe to free my lungs from the yellow liquid. It was very painful. I had near-death experiences twice — once in the OT and second time when my illness reoccurred, even after two operations.”
Her parents had lost all hopes of her recovery. “The support of friends and relatives who in different ways were there for us made me realize the importance of relationships and bonding. I promised to myself that I would leave no stone unturned to nurture relationships that are close to my heart. My illness gave me a clear message: Always expect the unexpected, fight against the odds, and value relationships be it blood relations or self-made,” says Hansa.
It took her almost a year to recover. Hansa later appeared for her second and third year examinations together, and cleared both with flying colours.
Following her post-graduation in mass communication from Bharitya Vidya Bhawan, Kolkata, in 2004, she joined Shopper’s Stop the same year. A year later, she was working with the recruitment consultancy Ma Foi (now Randstad). Soon she got married and was in the family way, and left Ma Foi but rejoined them in 2008.
Hansa has handled pan India clients and done the key account management for big brands like Unicef and the Health and Education Department, Bihar. She has also handled multiple types of recruitment and training assignments, prepared tender documents, prepared competitive quotes, served as a head on assignments, and, of course, generated good revenue. “I worked on Saturdays, Sundays, and other holidays to manage the turnaround time of my assignments,” says Hansa.
In January of 2011 she co-founded Genesys Consulting Pvt. Ltd along with Parimal Madhup, who was a competitor during her Ma foi days. “A government recruitment project was distributed between two
firms, mine and Parimal’s. Both of us were heading the project.” Hansa’s branch head left her mid-way in this government project.. Nor did she receive any support from her head office. Parimal helped her out. By this time Hansa had decided to quit and move on. She and Parimal joined hands to start their own business.The motivation to start on their own came from Rajesh Bushan, a senior IAS officer, and now the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development. Rajesh acknowledged the good work they had done without the support of their respective offices. “He told us to start our own firm and look for projects in Bihar and to take support from investors and continue the good work in Bihar. Two years later, under the flagship of Genesys, we co-founded another firm called Creative Imprints LLP, says Hansa.”
Hansa’s friendship with Parimal has not changed. He is not only a business parnter but also a close friend of her family. They may disagree on a lot of official issues but for both of them client satisfaction is supreme.
When Genesys started they did not have funds for hiring a team or renting an office infrastructure. Says Hansa:
We worked from my residence’s terrace room which became our first office. We used our own laptops and cell phones for official work. We got support from two team members who joined as freelancers. The blessing in disguise was our clients who were ready to work with us.
Today, she has a team of 15 and the team has delivered projects in Bihar and across India. Tthey have mostly worked for government and social sector clients, and also with some corporate and PSU clients. Genesys Group achieved a turnover of two crore in the financial year in 2014-2015. Hansa proudly states: “Witnessing our project execution and delivery against all odds, Rahul Singh, currently the Excise Commissioner, Government of Bihar, calls us his ‘genies’.
As a women entrepreneur, her major challenge was “not to take advantage of being a woman”. Her family supported her when she had to work beyond midnight at event sites for 7-10 days in a row. Says she: “My parents take care of my daughter as my husband is posted out of Patna. As an entrepreneur, I have no weekends and my work needs me 24 by7. It is a challenge for me to cope with my personal life, and I am unable to spend quality time with my seven-year-old daughter, who needs her mother’s presence.”
Hansa is glad for the support and encouragement her husband and parents have provided her. It has been the motivating factor for her to go ahead and meet the demands of her work. In the future, she looks forward to getting funding for her venture and scale up. The sky is the limit and Hansa plans to settle for nothing less.