Arushi Jain, executive director, StayHappi Pharmacy, recounts her professional journey and how she is pushing for affordable medicine in India. Excerpts:
Q. Share with us the idea behind the setting up of StayHappi Pharmacy.
A. It is our bit to give back to society, to ensure medicines are available in every nook and cranny of India. There are 30-35 crore Indians who are surviving on less than two meals a day. So, for sure, they have no money for medicines if they get sick. And medicines world over are very expensive. There are 2% of India’s population that move directly into poverty because of high healthcare expenditure. Seeing this reality, it became our mission to reach out to as many people as possible with affordable medicines.
Q. How did you conceptualise this imperative necessity?
A.The concept is called generic, which is common globally but not so much in India. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to push for affordable medicine and has created awareness through his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ talk.
Q.You have developed and expanded your business exponentially. How did you get your funding?
A. Funding was through my family and close friends. It was primarily my father and grandfather who, amazingly, had a lot of faith in me. They backed me in every which way required. It is a feeling of pride that we are today present in 50 cities with 370 pharmacies across the country.
Q. As an entrepreneur, what are the four factors you keep in mind?
A. My four mantras are:
- Fast decisions are more important than accurate decisions which are taken slowly.
- Build a core team.
- Use your personal network and contacts. Don’t feel shy about asking for help.
- Get your team and customers to constantly ideate and debate because many minds are better than a single one.
Q. Where do you see StayHappi in the next five years?
A. Our end goal is that we reach 100 crore people. To do that we have to create a network of 15,000 stores. They should be in smaller cities, towns and villages. Then, through online doctor consultations, even small villages get medical help and guidance. I strongly and passionately feel that it’s the right of every Indian to have access to affordable medicine. We would also want to expand into wellness care, which means food nutrition, herbal supplements and online doctor consultations.