Interview with Monisha Hajra

Monisha, graduate in Chemistry and post graduate in Biochemistry from University of Calcutta, India. She also has a post graduate diploma degree in Bioinformatics. Worked with one of the India’s top bio-pharmaceutical company, Biocon as scientist.

From 2007 she has taken the challenge of being young entrepreneur. She and her partners set up a research and training institute, Institute Of Computational Biology (IOCB) at Bangalore. After successfully working with the team for 3years, she has now moved on to start ScientiaBio.

She is also a trained women entrepreneur from Indian School of Business, an initiative taken by Goldman Sachs for providing management training to women entrepreneur.

She mentors lots of young students for their career and for their research projects.



When did you decide that you wanted to become an entrepreneur?

The spirit of entrepreneurship was rooted in me when I was master degree student. But I decided to get some industry exposure before starting on my own; I was always looking for good opportunity to start. In 2007, I met with a group of like minded people who also thinks in the same direction as I do. I thought, it was the right time for me to take the risk of entrepreneurial venture.


What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Challenge, that’s the key aspect which drives me. It’s difficult to run an organization if it’s just “me too” services. Though I have some “me too” services, but I manage to bring some “unique” services for which I have no competitor at least in my region or in my country.


What was the most difficult part in getting started?

Since I started at young age and I deal with knowledge service, so it’s was difficult for me to convince people that one don’t necessarily need “grey” hair team members to deliver quality work.


What is the top skill (or skills) needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Optimistic, Calculative Risk taker, creative, time bound, physical and mental toughness. Also, it’s very important to know your weakness and work constantly to improve that.


What motivates you and/or keeps you motivated?

Good feedback of the service that we offer, and also dream of reaching to my goal, long way to go.


What do you think is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

For those who worked for corporate money matters the most, and typically one focus only a specific area. But personally for me joy of doing my service gives me more pleasure, and I need to have complete eye in all operations. I may get better pay check if I join a corporate, but that “money factor” never hit my mind, even I face with some downfall.

Also, an entrepreneur may not get any kind of luxury that he/she will get sitting in a corporate chair. One should be ready to face that.


What has been one of your failures, and what have you learned from it?

Planned for an event for limited number of people, but eventually there was huge turnout with discounted fees, and I allowed all of them to register. Finally it was a huge mismanagement and not very profitable also.

Learning: Quality service comes with certain price tag, stick to that. Allow the people for “either take it or leave it” if they want to avail a quality service.


Jack Welsh once said that "An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage." What are your thoughts on that quote?

I agree. Most of the time entrepreneurs are very passionate about their work; sometimes they forget the competition of the market about the same product or service. One needs to keep an eye constantly on market demands, and try to find a service which probably your competitors may not have.


Greg Norman once said that “Our success is a direct result of knowing how to market a brand and having the right people representing the brand.” What are your thoughts on what quote?

Well, I don’t agree with this comment fully. A start up organization might find difficulty to hire the “right experienced person” who can market their brand. I personally look for people who are very dynamic and talented. For knowledge industry, it’s the quality and deliverable which are more important parameter than packaging it in nice way.


Albert Einstein once said “I think that only daring speculation can lead us further and not accumulation of facts.” What are your thoughts on what quote?

Very true. As I mentioned earlier, one dared to think slight differently. There is no joy in being just “me too” type company. One need to take the risk of developing something new, which may or may not sell.


Excluding yours, what business or company do you admire?

Google, it’s the company I truly admire. One of the best example of a company run by successful young entrepreneurs.


What was the most crucial thing you have done to grow your business?

Building relationship with my clients. Quality of the service should be so good that they themselves will become my advertisement .


What advice would you give an entrepreneur who is just starting out?

I come across with many young minds who claim that they have “great idea”, but they need investor to start working on the project. They need to keep in mind that investor will like to put their hard earned money into those projects which will get them maximum benefit. Investment in life science sector is comparatively low compared to other sector. So, one need to learn how to self generate funds.
And for those who have already started, don’t just give up in one downfall, it’s bound to come. But make sure you have the determination within yourself that you will make this work.

To be a successful entrepreneur, one should not have the fear of failure, but should have the willingness to learn from the failures.



Company Description:

Product development and services in Computational Biology area.
Helping Biotech and Clinical Trials and related companies to get outsourced work.
Training in various domains of life sciences especially Bioinformatics, Biostatistics, Clinical Data Management, Pharmacovigilance.



Website:

www.scientiabio.com

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