Sruti Mitra's inspiration to bring a social change and work for the greater good of society led her to found Nhea. Prior to Nhea, Sruti was an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship in Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies, Pune for a decade. Before joining Symbiosis, she worked in the Product and Sales & Marketing Management roles in reputed Indian and Multinational Healthcare and Insurance sectors for five years. Sruti holds an MBA from IBS and an M.Sc. in Biochemistry from Calcutta University.
Dr. Geeta Bora
Dr. Geeta Bora, a Ph.D. in Computer Science, worked in the USA for 9 years as a Software Architect. She left her job and founded Spherule Foundation in 2017 with an aim to work towards creating an equal, just and sustainable society in India. Lack of funding in the NGO sector and the dream of increasing the social impact made her co-found Nhea.
The origins of Nhea lie in the collaborative efforts of two women from very different backgrounds, fighting to make the modern woman feel more confident, more in-command, more powerful as she soldiers on in her life.
Sruti Mitra, who had been an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies in Pune for over a decade, had heard of Dr. Geeta Bora’s efforts to promote the use of biodegradable sanitary napkins in and around the slums in Pune. Feeling strongly about the need to take the effort around menstrual health and hygiene further, she advised her students at the institute to engage with Dr. Bora’s NGO and build on their classroom learning with effective field work.
The effort, executed under Sruti’s mentorship, came to be known as ‘Project Udaan’ and became a full-fledged part of the curriculum. It went on to ultimately garner media attention for its impact. This was back in 2018.
When Sruti and Geeta finally met, they hit it off pretty quickly, passionate as they both were about women’s issues. They saw personal wellness and skincare as a woman’s basic right, instead of a privilege, and believed that superior quality, sustainable solutions for it should be accessible to all. What they also realized they had in common was a hunger to start a business.
At 46, having spent years working for multinationals before turning to academia, while also witnessing her father’s entrepreneurial journey as he scaled up the family business multifold, Sruti had been mulling for some time to take the leap herself. Dr. Bora, at 43, had run her NGO long enough to realize that the near-constant dearth of funds was never going to allow her to scale up the impact. Armed with a PhD in IT management and close to a decade of professional experience, she had also begun to feel the need to deploy her significant research capabilities to make an immediate, practical impact on the ground. The only way out was a self-sustaining business.
So when they landed on the idea of a natural menstrual cramp reliever, the seeds of Nhea - Natural Holistic Ethical Aromatherapy - were sown.
The next two years were spent in research, testing and arriving at a product market fit. Inspired by the duo, Sruti’s students jumped head-first into the effort, conducting surveys, assessing demand, finding the gaps in the market. The Symbiosis institute in effect became the launching ground for the start-up.
The beauty and wellness brand was finally founded in February 2020, with Sruti as the CEO, heading operations, sales, finance and HR, and Geeta overseeing the product lines and R&D as the CRDO. They had two key products on offer - Nhea Roll-On for menstrual cramp relief and Nhea Face Oil.
Their conviction was such that even the pandemic could not affect their enthusiasm. They’ve spent the past many months building on the product line, setting up the infrastructure, working on certifications and licenses, and recruiting the necessary staff.
Nhea has been envisioned as a Made-in-India product that is 100% natural, organic, cruelty free and most importantly, centered around the concept of aromatherapy, the science of scent-assisted healing. It’s products will be rooted in first-principles, and with them, the brand aims to take you back into nature’s fold.
True to form, Sruti and Geeta are social entrepreneurs. They have not forgotten their need to make a deep societal impact. Nhea has been modeled into a social enterprise which will promote women micro-entrepreneurs whenever possible, employing them in the supply chain, or as marketing and distribution partners. This is in addition to providing one of their key products, the Roll-on, at heavily subsidised rates to NGOs working for women empowerment and healthcare.