Spirit W | Broadening horizons: Maitreya Group's Varsha Satpalkar
Varsha Satpalkar an astute entrepreneur adept at bringing out the best from her team is the driving force behind Maitreya Group of Companies. As Chairperson and Managing Director at the organization she has won several accolades for her exemplary work. Maitreya Group of Companies was launched in 1998 by Madhusudhan Satpalkar with the goal of creating and generating employment opportunities and raising the standard of living of the people in Maharashtra. The company has its presence in more than nine states across India through its group companies Maitreya Plotters and Structures, Maitreya Realtors, Maitreya Mega net, Maitreya Hotels and Resorts, Maitreya Assurance and Maitreya Mass Communications. She took over the reins of the company following the untimely demise of her husband Madhusudhan Satpalkar in 2003. Hitherto new to the nitty gritty of the industry, Varsha, a commerce graduate, threw herself into the group’s various projects, initiated by her husband. He had started the group’s new project – a resort called ‘Mamacha Gaon’ in Boisar near Mumbai. He died soon after the foundation stone was laid in October 2003. Varsha’s grit ensured that the resort opened to public in December 2003 -- barely two months after his death. What Varsha Satpalkar had going for her was the hunger to learn new things along with an indomitable spirit.
Recently, she also launched Maitreya Mass Media Pvt. Ltd. involved in film production and documentaries and distribution and Maitreya Rural Growth Venture Pvt ltd. [MRGV] company set up to strengthen social entrepreneurs and help them provide livelihood to people based in villages. MRGV is also supporting network of micro entrepreneurs in Konkan, under the hedges of Konkan Nisarg Manch—KONIM, who process neglected fruits in the Konkan belt. She is also the chairperson of KONIM (Konkan Nisarg Manch).
Adgully caught up with Varsha Satpalkar to get deeper insights of her journey at the company and how she turned Maitreya Group of Companies into a success story with its eclectic list of businesses.
Since her entry in this industry was a decision taken by destiny, she shared the 3 key drivers that made her take this step. She said, “This is reflected in our vision to come together and build value, create wealth and deliver satisfaction; and is mirrored in our mission to drive excellence, power innovation and empower lives. It’s the fire that drives Maitreya Group to succeed and grow in its diverse businesses.”
Adding further she said, “It’s a burning desire to continue the legacy of quality, efficiency and professionalism of the Maitreya Group’s Founder. Our vision is to nourish and grow the entrepreneurial spirit with a focus on collective progress and sustainable development; explore opportunities, exploit strengths, and leverage synergies; and constantly endeavour to broaden horizons and excel ourselves.”
Their mission is to create a diversified enterprise that is trusted for its quality of products and services; appreciated for its philosophy of collective and inclusive growth; respected for its ethical practices and admired for its ability to create wealth and add values.
Undoubtedly the industry that she is in is usually perceived to be a male dominated arena. Reacting to this general notion of a large section of our population, Satpalkar said, “I strongly believe in the notation and feel that it is the hard work which matters in any industry, and I let my work speak for itself. The construction industry was a less explored career option for women in India, because many women don't opt for it. Otherwise, it's a gender-neutral industry without any biases.”
Maitreya Group of companies has its presence across the country and is further expanding the group’s reach. How does she rank the organization amidst other industry outfits? Answering this Satpalkar said, “Maitreya Group is poised for a major thrust in the real estate development for its 1st IGBC Gold pre-certified Green project in Nashik with the help of strategic alliances and partnerships, to design, build and market residential and commercial properties across the country along with cinema development.”
Satpalkar, who came on board with no formal training in business has been a part of the industry for about a decade now and according to her the journey has had its fair share of up and downs. Sharing her experience on both the personal and professional front and specifying the challenges she faced being a part of this industry, she said, “The biggest challenges have been in terms of building up confidence and at the same time achieving the trust and support of my team and convince them that we could do wonders together. Further, my target was to create and run a sustainable business model because the symbiotic relationship between a business venture and its employees leads to the success or failure of any organization. Secondly, I began to invest in different business verticals; this was the key strategic business decision after my takeover. Lastly, I always believed in my core team's abilities.”
Hotel Maitreya’s at Jalgaon, Maitreya Greens first ever IGBC Gold pre-certified project in Nashik and Maitreya Sunrise at Sangli, have been some of her memorable projects and the best works from the Maitreya Group of companies.
Even as she cut her teeth as a decision maker and leader, Satpalkar also strived to establish brand ‘Maitreya’ in the realty sector which was one among the several defining moments for the organisation. She began by tapping the market in areas like Virar, Vasai, Jalgaon, Sangli and successfully completed several projects there. Soon, she scaled up the business with bigger projects in Pune, Aurangabad, Baroda, Dhule, Nashik, Mumbai and Kolhapur too.
Commenting on how the industry has evolved during her decade long career in the organization she opined that the industry has now opened up with a lot of professionalism and transparency in the system. There has been an exposure to international players in the industry which helps raise the bar for all players.
Satpalkar also shared her views on the future of the real-estate market in India. “It is neither up nor down. For instance, there continues to be a demand for homes in the suburbs of Mumbai. Hence, there is a constant rise in price in these areas. Moreover, a person from the suburbs will not shift to South Mumbai owing to the price difference. But, he has money for luxuries that may include a second home. So people are looking for second homes on the outskirts of Mumbai as well as in Tier-II cities as properties in these areas are expected to be valued well in the future.”
“Further, it may be difficult to develop big projects in cities owing to land shortage. But there is scope for development in cities like Nashik, Dhule, Baroda, Surat, etc. Hence, as far as our projects are concerned, we are doing well in Tier-II cities,” she concluded.
While managing a successful business, Satpalkar also takes time out to personally look into the work of Maitreya Foundation -- the Group’s philanthropic wing that has been doing extensive social work all across Maharashtra. The Foundation also did commendable work recently in Uttarakhand, when it was devastated by flash floods.
She has been honored with several awards including the Hirkani Puraskar, Udyog Vibhushan Samman Award initiated by the Indian Organization of Commerce and Industries, Pride of India Award by All India National Unity Council, DSK self made man award by DSK Group of companies and a very prestigious award Chanakya Puraskar given by public relations council of India.