Usha Sahoo is a housewife turned entrepreneur and runs an educational company called Yeh China Education which teaches Mandarin Chinese. After actively being a mom till 35 years of age and running the family , she found her new passion of learning Mandarin Chinese and then never looked back. Currently she is an Author, writer of many Chinese books and a passionate teacher. . With the 6 years of entrepreneurial journey she mentored many housewife’s to take up a freelance career for teaching Mandarin. The true believer of a Chinese proverb ” Thousand miles journey starts with a single step’ feels any day is a good day to take the first step .
Tell us about yourself and your background
I was born in a tiny village called Olasingh in Odisha and graduated from the humble college of Bhubaneswar. For me life was all about spending time exploring little things in the creative field; cooking,stitching,gardening,reading or just dreaming about making a big company . I lost my parents at 17 and had experienced lots of unexpected events as a teenager. I got married at 20 and traveled all across India with my husband’s job. I also took care of the house and child.
Tell us about the company you have set up – when did you set it up, what products or services do you provide, what is your target market?
Yeh China began in the year 2010 in very humble surroundings. We focused on building a service that would cater to the different groups of people interested in learning Mandarin Chinese. Today, Yeh China has multiple branches in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune and has tied up with a number of educational institutions as linguistic partners. From kids to corporates – there are specialised courses with differentiated pedagogy and subject matters. However, Yeh China’s offerings go much beyond just education and training. The company is into content writing, designing, book creation , translations, interpretations customized corporate courses and placement assistance for Chinese learners. One of our greatest achievements has been our pre-school and kids Chinese programs which have been implemented by many schools. The books which we have written and published have also been instrumental in engaging students and providing immersive learning material.So our target group is very diverse. We call it ‘Kids to Corporates’.
What drove you to become an Entrepreneur?
Eight years ago my quest to do something outside my daily routine as a stay at home mother is what led me towards my Chinese language journey. I am thankful to Mr Malay Ghosh and my husband Manoranjan Sahoo who gave me the idea that in the current global scenario, China is one of the fastest growing economies and the entire world is looking towards it. So learning Mandarin Chinese will empower me with a strong and different skill set. After completing my studies I realized, “Teaching a language never goes out of style and learning one always creates more opportunities”. My husband helped me to pursue my passion and motivated me to set up this venture. I always believed giving employment to more people is the best contribution to my country.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
The challenge was none but my inner self. The thought of being not so educated, the thought of being an over-aged person to start a venture. The thought of leaving the role of a comfortable housewife to struggle with a career in business. If we talk of business challenges , the challenge of convincing people that ,Mandarin is an important language to learn.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Becoming an author of a book called” Let’s say Nihao with Gauri and Bao” a English – Chinese bilingual book. It is the story of an Indian girl who got lost in a Chinese city and found a Chinese friend and learnt Mandarin, eventually finding her way back home. I relate myself to the story and also make my students connect to the simple reason for learning Mandarin.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My Husband Manoranjan Sahoo, His energy, his positive attitude , his punctuality and his decision making habits are infectious.
How do you balance your work life and home life?
My ideal way of work life balance is to enjoy the present ,irrespective of a day,time ,venue or a special event. Make every moment special when you are with family.
What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?
Overcome the fear of being a women. Understand and go through the macro and micro management of your venture. Put all practical experiences of life and your learning from the people you met; your family, friends ,kids employees or your domestic help. Many times a practical learning comes handy than a management degree in business.
Can you recommend any organisations or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?
I recommend Brand Capital of Times group , which helps new ideas to create an awareness through print media.
If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?
I will look forward to have a technology partner to help Yeh China grow bigger.
What does the future hold for you?
With Yeh China, the plan is to be in 16 cities (Metros & Mini metros) by 20:20 with over 200 school tie-ups and an equal number of faculty members, and most of the faculty will be housewives and mothers taking up a career after a break.
If you would not be doing this , what would you be doing?
I would be running my first venture “Chef Next”; my not so successful food venture to make all the housewife’s happy on their special days.
To find out more, visit the Yeh China website, the Facebook page, or follow Yeh China on Twitter.