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Panaji based Sevarat Healthcare and Nursing, founded by Rohini Gonsalves is in the first startup in the state to run a viable business of caring for the elderly, finds out Dhanashri Karbotkar

Seva to the elderly

Anybody who has an infirm elderly family member at home knows how tough it is to look after them. The aged who are in poor health need 24-hour care which is very difficult to provide in today’s busy times. So it is good to hear of startup Sevarat Healthcare and Nursing which is in the unique business of healthcare services for senior citizens.

Sevarat is founded by young entrepreneur Rohini Gonsalves, a marketing professional who spent 13 years in the telecom industry in Mumbai  before returning back to Goa to start her own venture.

Gonsalves says that, Sevarat which means to be in service was launched on January 1 2016. The startup was initially registered as a proprietorship concern and afterwards converted into a private limited company on September 7 2017.  The senior care services include outdoor assistance for visiting diagnostic centers, hospitals, doctors etc. In addition the elderly clients are also provided home care and nursing as well as property maintenance services. Recently the startup introduced one more service for the elderly. It tied up with local vendors to  provide Tiffin service to senior citizens. 

“The Center for Business Incubation and Acceleration (CIBA), Verna., is stake holder of my company.  More than 150 customers, has utilized our services so far and we intend to start branches by March 2020 in other parts of Goa,” said Gonsalves.

 She says that, while working with telecom companies she felt that the need to startup something of her own. “I came to Goa and explored different opportunities. My mother who was in Bangalore took ill and I realized that we need to do something for elderly people. I come from technology side, I thought I should create an app which would help a person to manage his or her health and reach out in case they need any support. I wanted to provide services at click of button, like getting an ambulance at a click of button or getting diagnostic at click of button. When I was in Bangalore with my mother with some associates we had created a mobile app for all services. When I came back to Goa I realize that availing products services on the click of button is not the problem which elderly people are facing. They need someone to take care of them. They need outdoor assistance or care takers on call.”

   Gonsalves reveals that, people who were available as option for her mother were very rude. They were almost crass in the way they were communicating to her.  It made her realize that actual crux of services was having somebody who serve a person a day to day basis and who would do it with lot of compassion and dignity.  “Your parents are people whom you have always respected in your life suddenly there is stranger outsider who are come in speak down to them, yells at them, talks down to them. I did not want what happened with my mother to happen to anybody else parents. I wanted somebody who really treats them with lot of dignity, love and respect. I realized I needed to start services for the elderly, “says Gonsalves.

 Sevarat has qualified paramedical students and trained nurses as care takers who have knowledge and experience of handling patients. The caretakers are recruited from different nursing college campuses. Currently the stratup has about 40 staff (caretakers) in service and plans are to expand and take the total strength to 100 staff by March 2020.

The startup provides flexible module for customers like day or night shift or for 24 hours. Customers are charged an annual membership fee and are also charged depending on kind of services they are taking.

Gonsalves believes that, her startup is different from similar kind of service setups in the market. “We don’t take any chances with our staff which I think what really differentiates us over other competitors within Goa. I am sure customers would vouch for us as we are the most professional and are the only dedicated senior care service provider in Goa.” She adds that, the company over the years is tried to build up its reputation as the most professional and reliable.

“It is our timeliness our professionalism for what we are vouching for. These are our brand value and we are constantly working towards class. We are always available 24 x7 and 365 days. My team and I are always accessible. Once they are our customers they can rest assured that Sevarat will be there throughout any such emergency.”

Gonsalves explains that the company although headquartered in Panaji is served the whole state. Right from south to north Goa it has clients across the state.   The business is mainly through word- of- mouth and efforts are on to partner with hospitals and organizations to expand operations to more people.

Sevarat is part of the Startup Goa programme. The company recently received financial assistance from the state IT department by way of seed capital.

In the future Gonsalves is confident of her startup growing bigger and scaling up. She says that, care for the elderly is a huge market segment which will be ever increasing. The startup is looking for business partnership but it only seeks collaboration with people who share similar values and who will not undermine our Sevarat brand. “ We have not quite promoted our services.  We are very clear about our future goals.  We have maintained standards. We don’t charge for transportation, food for our staff. There are no hidden charges and we don’t ask for single extra rupee,” she asserts.

  There are several startups in Goa most of which are in the IT sector or tourism related services. Sevrat is perhaps the only startups to be in the taxing sector of elderly healthcare.

   “In the early years it was all about groping in the dark and finding our way. It has been a difficult uphill climb so far. But fortunately when we just started we got very good response. Back in time when we were nobody our customers trusted us blindly and they supported us. Their encouragement have kept us going,” signs off Gonsalves.

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