We are seeing rapid growth in entrepreneurship in the past decades and in the last few years; many women have entered the club. Women entrepreneurs are the women or a group of women who initiate, organize and operate a business enterprise. Till now women had restricted themselves to petty household business & cottage industries but things are changing remarkably. A favourable socio-economic environment is helping to unbox the hidden entrepreneurial talents among women.
There is a well-known saying “If we educate a boy, we educate an individual but if we educate a girl, we are educating a whole generation. Same way increasing number of women entrepreneurs will not only provide economic opportunities for other women but also improve the social, educational and health status of women, their families, communities thereby providing economic growth in the country. We have lot many examples of women who are the proud owners of giant business chains which they are managing extremely well moving abreast with their male counterparts and, undoubtedly outshining them.
Ms Sheenu Jhawar is the Head of the Supply Chain Management and Healthcare consulting vertical at Apex Hospital. She has co-founded ACE Vision Health Consultants. She has been trained from renowned institutions like Harvard, University of Oxford, University of Edinburgh and IIM Ahmedabad. She also has rich experience in private and government sectors including the World Bank.
Jhawar’s journey with Apex Hospitals and ACE Vision Health Consultants
Sheenu Jhawar begins, “My alma mater was Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR). I was a science student and wanted to pursue research in oncology. I would give credit to IHMR for who I am today and for giving me the grounding principles that made me a healthcare professional. An entrepreneurial person that initiates things. The seeds of entrepreneurship were sown there.”
“In 1998 when we graduated, hospital management was an unknown field. The initial questions were around the lines of ‘Are you doing housekeeping in hospitals?’ So after my graduation, I started my journey by crafting a space for myself. That too carving my place in a sector as unorganised as this in terms of management, business development, business principles and finance.”
“At the time of my graduation, I had a family-run hospital of 50 beds. And now we have a 500-bed facility across 5 locations in the state. I worked in my own hospital for some time and later spent some time in the UK with NHS. This was a turning point, as I was working in the Clinical Governance department. The concepts of clinical audits entered my brain there.”
“When I returned back in India, we decided to not only scale up our venture but also to implement the learnings taken from the UK. So, we decided that clinical audits should not only be restricted to our venture. We decided to start up a consulting that caters for this concept to the entire country. This resulted in the opening of ACE Vision Health Consultants in 2004.”
Apex and ACE's USP over its competitors?
Jhawar explains, “I believe in the hospital sector there is no competition. If we take a look at the way the way Government has set up the healthcare system into Primary, Secondary and Tertiary, we will see it is about the patient journey of getting the simplistic care from prevention to curative healthcare. That is why all healthcare components from private hospitals, government hospitals, single speciality hospitals, multispeciality hospitals or super speciality hospitals all complement each other.”
“Apex is creating value in this value chain. The vision of Apex is to trickle down to tier 3 and 4 cities within the state. With the facilitation of digital technology, where we have many common centres in Jaipur, we want to take healthcare via technology to other cities.”
“With ACE, we are doing many things regarding clinical quality. Assisting hospitals in getting their accreditation, talking with them about clinical governance and clinical audits which is about risk management and unifying the process of healthcare. ACE is the only clinical governance and clinical audits consulting company in India.”
Patients and physicians reach so far
She mentions, “ACE has worked on over 65+ projects so far. We have also worked with the government. We were even invited by the Telangana State Government and were asked to take up the entire clinical audit process there. We haven’t done that so far but the fact that the State government is thinking about this is huge.”
“We have worked with many hospitals from 20 beds to 500 beds. There was one case were we were aksed to assist a hospital in a village with no electricity. This project was given by CMC Vellore and an Australian firm. We have no mandate or restriction on working with only a select group of entities. We aim to spread out and create value with quality. With Apex we must have impacted the lives of 16 to 20 lakh lives.”
Offerings of ACE Consultants
She says, “ACE works in both the hospital space and in the healthcare space. In the healthcare space, it is mostly about the impact a certain programme does. We study whether the impact of that programme is as desired as initially thought. In the private space, many owners or businessmen want to enter the healthcare space. They want to get feasibility studies and the hospital designing done.”
“The latter is an interesting concept because it is not only about the architectural part of it. We always say that the form of the hospital should follow its function. So we first understand the function of every department and the function of the people who work there. Only after understanding this can we design the architectural part.”
“Since we work day and night in the Apex ecosystem, we understand the difference between practical and theoretical. We also work with them across efficiency, quality and care pathways. We try and make it path-breaking and not the typical conventional stuff.”
Expansion and scale-up plans
She says, “ACE works pan India and have taken 2 projects in Africa and one with a firm in the UK. Our geography is not restricted and we enter wherever we feel like value can be added.”
Goals for 2022
She lends, “I feel having a target limits where the individual can end up. I believe in fluidity. When NABH came in 2006, people had no clue about it. When we started working towards it, it opened a new door for us to take clinical audits forward under the guise of NABH standards. I am an optimist that believes in connecting the dots.”
She says, “My biggest takeaway has been to find opportunities. I have never looked at the salary the opportunity will bring me. If the opportunity makes me step out of my comfort zone and makes me wonder then that is my biggest motivation to take it up. Growth is the most important thing. My three fundamental pillars are Opportunity, Growth and Learning.”
Advice to fellow women entrepreneurs
She advises, “I have only one thing for them - Forget your gender. Believe in yourself, focus on what you want to do and do it the way your DNA makes you do it. Gender is neither an advantage nor an impediment. It is only in your mind. Once you start believing in it, you start projecting it as well.”
(Edited by Priyal Shah)