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A confluence of influence, inspiration and impact: Meet Mayflower’s founder Madhuri Hegde

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A confluence of influence, inspiration and impact: Meet Mayflower’s founder Madhuri Hegde

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

A fact of economic life, globalization has opened countless doors for the business community across international boundaries, thus making the world more of a mosaic. However, in between new opportunities and a dynamic work environment, there lives a hindrance called language barrier. A dire strait for most of the businesses going global, difficulty in communication cripples an organization’s strategy long before it gets implemented. Picture this: You are out in a new country and you walk up to someone to ask a question only to get an answer in a language you don’t understand. It can be more frustrating which further leaves more implications in the business world. Breaking through the language barrier while going after each and every market in a globalized workplace turns into a daunting task. If a business fails to communicate with its global clients, how can it expect to grow its wings further?

Companies know that expanding their operations and influencing at the global forefront requires a linguistic partner that can assist in their communication process effectively within multiple languages. Mayflower language services fit perfectly into the picture. Venturing out its journey in 2003, Mayflower today has established itself as a best in the class partner for global businesses in clearing this crux of the matter.

Emerging as a linguistic pioneer

In today’s competitive world, the need of the hour is to be multilingual for the success of global operations for any business. Hence customers look to Mayflower for a solution when they face language-related challenges, be it internal or external. The organization homes solutions ranging from something as simple as creating a user manual for a product destined for various countries to finding a multilingual resource for knowledge acquisition in a different geography. and simultaneous interpretation for teams distributed in various countries. Strengthening its clients’ multilingual communication process, Mayflower also supports in taking their products, apps, courses and games to the local audience.

Adding value to companies that face linguistic challenges while they dish out their products globally, Mayflower accelerates their growth and profitability by creating customer-centric solutions.  Mayflower holds specialization in

  • Localization and Testing,
  • Translation,
  • Multimedia Services and
  • Multilingual Staffing

An ISO certified organization, Mayflower utilizes latest in technology and innovation to deliver outstanding quality results on-time to customers from over 30 countries worldwide, encompassing startups and Fortune 500 companies.

Although the language industry is dominated by women, yet there are very few women-led language solution providers. Mayflower stands as the only successful woman-led language solution company in India. Mayflower’s provenance came out from the sole impulsion and vision of one woman, Madhuri Hegde. Seemingly an ace at multitasking, Madhuri brings over 20 years of varied experience in translation, cross-cultural communication, marketing, software localization and entrepreneurship. Her seasoned experience has given her an exposure to the challenges faced by businesses worldwide and has provided valuable insights into how they can be overcome. This experience and fascination with different cultures and languages enabled her to step into the entrepreneurial world with her venture ‘Mayflower Language Services’.

Let’s hear the plot of this multilingual platform from the woman who assessed the flaws in the existing ways, observed the communication gaps and found a new outline to innovate the language industry.

What is the greatest obstacle you have faced in achieving the success you desire? How do you overcome it?

I founded Mayflower, without any business background, and practically without any financial support from any quarters. Putting all my savings to start this venture was one of the biggest risks that I have ever taken. Apart from introducing and selling a relatively new concept to the Indian market, unavailability of skilled manpower, dealing with a male-dominant society sprouted as additional challenges. Despite all these hurdles, I think my drive to make a difference, and conviction in this venture helped me push through in acquiring first paying clients. This persistence paid off and in the first year itself, Mayflower went on to acquire its first international client.

It’s not easy to be a trailblazer; what’s your competitive advantage that can’t be copied?

Mayflower brings on board 14 years of industry experience for different verticals across 3 service groups, with structured and reliable processes. We are the frontrunner on the Indian horizon in our industry to get direct FDI through our merger with Poland based Summa Linguae Group. This has bestowed us with the access to the rare resources as well as the entire European market, where 52% of the overall translation business of the world is transacted. Our tailor-made solutions fostered by one-of-its-kind Innovation & Technology Hub, and important investments in Business Intelligence has helped us in achieving high scalability, quick access to subject-matter experts and technology for automation. These directly add value to our customers in terms of better quality, high reliability, cost efficiency, reduced turnaround times, and, more importantly, the agility that today’s businesses require to scale and prosper.

Brief us over the clientele of Mayflower?

Anyone who wants to communicate in more than one language with their customers is our client. Serving over 2500+ clients, we support companies across IT and ITES, Pharma, Automotive, Manufacturing, Advertising, BFSI, Lifesciences, Telecommunication, eLearning, Media, eCommerce and Legal sectors.

You are the first and only Asian to serve on the board of ELIA (European Language Industry Association). What are the other achievements your leadership has bought for the organization?

Mayflower is also the only Indian LSP, to join the ranks of the world’s top 100 Language Solution Providers, thanks to our merger with the Summa Linguae Group (SUL).  I was also awarded as Language professional of the year 2017.

What next for the company? What do you see happening in the company industry in 2018-19?

The company is set to extend its global footprint further in 2018-19 through consecutive acquisitions and strong organic growth. The company’s Innovation Hub based out of Bangalore, works on a number of tech products and solutions with the help of deep learning and AI – Neural Machine Translation, bots, PIM/CMS integrations, multilingual ticketing systems and live chat solutions  – all with the aim of providing its clients with seamless and automated handling of their multilingual, global content.

What has made you successful as an entrepreneur?

As long as I keep an open mind, the world is my oyster! A self-believer, I wear confidence in my own skin. Good ideas and inspiration can come from anywhere and anyone- and that’s why I don’t limit myself to incremental change.I always look forward to future possibilities knowing that I have the power to realize my dreams and be a catalyst for others. I cultivate specific goals and work towards them. Having brilliant brains on board that shared the same vision, have always fueled up Mayflower’s journey.

How are entrepreneurship and working women important for India as a whole?

Women are 48% of the Indian population, however, only 34% of Indian women are engaged in financial and economic activities, many of which are unpaid or underpaid workers. Its high time women in India start creating a better and more fulfilling future for themselves and for the next generation. Research has proven time and again that women-led organizations are in general better-run and more profitable. We need more of this in India. Women – due to their high EQ – bring a whole new perspective to decision-making and organizational management. Since women understand the importance of family and education, they will invest in the improvement of the community and they can bring in much needed societal changes.

What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in India?

Women in India are overly protected and highly dependent on their family’s support. We need to recognize the family as a support system without reducing our own appetite for risks. Don’t let others define your story, instead, focus on the goals and outcomes and believe in yourself.In my own case, the family treated my business as a “hobby” project – which meant it would never be a priority.

Above all, one must befinancially independent as it goes a long way in managing the ups and downs of the business.Access to venture capital to Women in India is very limited. Although things are changing, it does put a constraint on growth. Several financial institutions have set up special financial packages for women entrepreneurs; however, access to these is cumbersome.

What advice would you give young women who want to follow a similar career path as you?

There are times you’ll be pushed to the corner, hit your lowest point – only the strength of your belief in your dreams will keep you going. You are your biggest support system. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will. Apart from this some basic rules cover:

  • Don’t postpone – set a date and take the
  • Know your business inside out. Cashflow is everything – don’t let that out of your sight.
  • Remember you don’t have to do everything yourself – delegate as much as possible while you focus on the big picture and set the direction for growth for your business.
  • Grow your network – you never know which opportunity is lurking around the corner.

Last but not the least, enjoy the journey – that’s the most exciting part of entrepreneurship – not necessarily the destination.

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