Woman Entrepreneur who is creating a mark in the male dominated industry of travel & tourism
Updated: Feb 19, 2021
Meet this Entrepreneur from London who is creating a phenomenal mark and name in the male dominated industry. She is providing wonderful transport solutions to many parents in London, and alongside is working with the Education Institutions globally to provide educational tours, and enhance the experience of outdoor learning for the students globally. She has also started a social enterprise and NGO which is helping and supporting many women in their entrepreneurial journey. She was honored at the House of Parliament London as Young Entrepreneur 2019, Wonder Women 2019 Award and The International Women Recognition Award 2019 – Entrepreneur by the Elite Club International Ltd at Delhi, India
Meet Jaya Sajnani, Founder of “Y G Travel” based in London. Jaya is great example of women breaking the glass ceiling, daring to dream big and create a life of her own. She was born in a conservative Indian family, but that did not stop her from pursuing her dream; with her go-getter attitude and strong belief in her own self, she has boldly conquered the world on her own terms. She has confidently built an organization which is creating a positive impact on the society.
Jaya wears many inspiring hats. Holding a strong educational background, she began her career in the corporate world and worked for many years, but later decided to walk away from the corporate rat race because the various jobs did not inspire her anymore. Starting a business allowed her to find meaning and gave her the ability to leave behind a legacy which she is very proud of. With immense passion, hardwork and courage she founded YG Travel in 2018, her dream company which specializes in bespoke transport solutions. It has all the hallmarks of a successful UK’s second-generation company. But it has something else, too, a keen sense of business and a commitment to run high-quality fleet. The drive for efficiency has come to the fore of the operation in the last few years.
She is also committed towards social responsibility to help and support women with their dreams. She has established a non-profit organization called “Women Entrepreneurs” which provides the platform where women help other women to start their own business, encourage and take their business to the next level. We have a team of expert women in different fields of business where they can help, support and encourage other women to pursue their own dream.
"This is my dream project where we inspire people to make a difference in the lives of others by creating such an environment within their own networks", she says.
The Journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step
Let us pause for a moment and go back in time for a for a while. Remember those days when we travelled around the city for work, shopping, visiting family and friends etc, and google maps was our best friend. The busy roads, slow moving traffic, those dancing trees, our mind wandering and lost in many thoughts, our eyes admiring other fancy innovative cars and our ears listening to our favorite music. While travel and driving around the city can be a pleasure sometimes, but other times can add up to stress due to increasing fancy cars and traffic. And if you are a parent living in London and other parts of the UK it brings along a bigger responsibility of school drop off and pick up of our children.
Imagine if you were offered with one stop solution for your transportation needs, which will not only caters to your travel needs but also creates wonderful memories of a lifetime. Jaya founded Y G Travel with a similar vision, her company offers a one-stop solution for transportation needs for any individual or business. They provide school bus service, airport Meet and Greet Transfers, UK and Europe Tours, and Educational tours for the UK and International students. They not only provide transportation but also create beautiful memories of lifetime. Alongside they also own executive vehicle from 5 seaters to 53 seaters coach.
Jaya hails from a small town but not less known called 'Anand' (also famous as Amul City) based in Gujarat, India. She belongs to a traditional Sindhi Family, and carries the high business spirit which the sindhi community holds and are often known as “Business Minds” for decades, similar was the spark in Jaya too. She was raised in an environment where she did not hear a Lullaby, but the Business Stories from her Father.
She moved to the UK in 2003 to pursue her education, and later successfully completed her MBA in Finance from an esteemed university of West London formerly known as Thames Valley University. She wears many educational hats, her qualification list added Public and Logistic Transport Manager qualification from OCR Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations.
She began her career as Finance Executive in one of the Chartered Accountant firms in London, and later moved to London Council where her job role focused on European Government Funding and ensuring that their investment in the programme delivered the required outputs. Alongside providing support to the organisations funded through the London Councils ESF, co-financing programme, developing an open and supportive relationship with funded projects. Jaya is very passionate to help people, and hence decided to start a non-profit organisation where in she raised funds for the foster children by organising shows on Traditional Culture of India in the UK.
Jaya was always a ambitious and strong woman, and had a deep desire to start her own business; as she wished to have the freedom to take the decision and with that it gave her the wings to fly high where sky's the limit, and she can grow as much as she wished to at her own pace. She turned her dream into reality by founding Y G Travel to solve the problem of many parents. She started the very first door to door school transport solution in 2018, a solution which was a blessing for many parents.
She shares some great insights and says,
“A study found that 72 percent of parents feel like they have put their job at risk in order to meet their child’s transportation needs. As the mother of a child, I experienced the pain we go through in search of a safe and reliable door to door transport service for our child. However, it was not easy for me as a business owner too. It required a huge investment, special qualification and thorough knowledge of regulation on school bus transport. This made me visit the class room once again and complete the Public and Logistic Transport Manager qualification from OCR Oxford, Cambridge and RSA examination”.
It is important to have a Growth Mindset.
As she established her company and began to navigate her business ship towards growth, the next step she envisioned was to grow up the ladder. Jaya was committed to take her company to next level. In order to minimize the financial impact, she initially introduced only one minibus for the school bus service and today they cater to 9 school bus routes with three different schools in London. From 4-seater executive saloon cars to full size 74 seat executive coaches, travel all over England, throughout the UK and into Europe they offer varied travel solutions. Whether it’s a corporate travel, private hire, excursions or your daily commute, YG Travel can cater to all of your travel needs. All vehicles are equipped with the latest technology including Sat Nav, GPS tracking, CCTV . This allows their operation team to pinpoint the exact location of the coach at any time.
Y G Travel is built on a strong foundation and values which not only explains to their customers of what they stand for, but also shapes the way they act each and every second of their working day within the company. They have laid 4 business pillars which have formed as a strong foundation for their business growth, which are:
1. Safety - Safety is their prime focus of the business. They ensure to act and take decisions which keeps their customers and stakeholders safe.
2. People - Customers are at the heart of their business. They develop talent and reward the excellent performance of their employees.
3. Community - They are actively engaged in community development. They serve to generate economic, social and environmental value.
4. Excellent - They constantly strive to be excellent across all aspects of their business.
Talking about the initial days of her business and how it feels like to be a woman entrepreneur in a male dominated industry, she says:
“Initial days were very difficult, being a woman in a male-dominated industry was not easy. Although women, in today’s era, have entered almost every sector of the business world and only 2% of the total women in the male sector have reached the top, and are managing those sectors. I am glad I have added myself to this number. YG Travel is fully road transport which means we are fully compliant with DVSA (Driver and vehicle standard agency in the UK) and DFT (Department for Transport - UK). Understanding the license requirements and compliance side of the business was very hard for me. I had to pass the CPC course for Transport Managers in order to qualify to start my own business in this sector.
“Difficult Roads Often lead to beautiful destinations”
Along with growth comes challenges and those challenges are what makes our journey interesting. As Jaya steered her business and took it to new heights, she also faced various challenges in her entrepreneurship journey, but her Focus and Patience helps her to overcome all the challenges.
She constantly reminds herself over and over again about her vision and looks for solutions. Her biggest challenge was to research, understand and implement the compliance side of the business. In order to minimize the cost, she was doing everything by herself. It was a one-woman show at the beginning where she did everything by herself right from managing accounts, marketing and compliance of the business, bringing new clients, to sending them invoices, recruiting drivers, sending out compliance reports to DVSA and submitting my own VAT returns, she did it with the same zeal and passion everyday inspite of the challenges.
Sharing one of her experiences she says,
”During Driver training, I often get stuck as I never drove minibus or coach in my life. Also there were many times when some warning sign just popped out to our coach dashboard and I had to google it out to see what that meant. Nevertheless, I was also having to run my home and feed my daughter alongside as she was merely 7 years old at that time”.
But her attitude of patience and perseverance kept her going and brought her success along the journey.
“Remember Rome was not built in one day. Everything takes time. I remember those days when I used to work when my daughter is away at school or sleeping. Every time, I faced the challenge, I told myself one more to go. We often get overwhelmed when we see the problem but when we start breaking it up in the small pieces, it becomes easier to solve it. My focus was on solutions. This way I was not able to realise the pain of my problem because I was so busy in finding the solutions”, she says.
Jaya’s advice to Entrepreneurs
1. Believe in yourself
2. Dare to take the risk.
3. Know your product/service - Conduct Research.
4. Don’t lose focus.
5. Ask for help, don’t be afraid.
And finally, Just Start - The longer you wait for that elusive ‘right’ moment, the harder it becomes to start. If your circumstances prohibit you from starting, then do something to work towards your business.
Know more about Jaya
When I face a big challenge-I remind myself about my focus and the value of time.
My greatest fear is- My greatest fear was fear of the unknown. I was always being alert of the outside changes i.e government policies, environment issues which affect my business heavily. I had a fear that what if suddenly, the government bans coaches in the UK, how will my business service? Although being my own boss, I am fully aware of what is coming tomorrow but again, something like COVID 19, I was not prepared for. I must say, I have finally conquered my fear this year, thanks to COVID 19. I faced it and I know if I can survive this then I am ready to face anything in the future.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is- Although taking a risk is one of the most important ingredients of being an entrepreneur, how much risk one should take depends on what is at stake?
If I could go back in time to when I was 20 I would tell myself- I am proud that I took those courageous steps in my life, I am proud that I stuck to my focus and went through the pain which made me stronger and stronger as the days passed.
I believe in- Myself, in my God and my good deeds.
The biggest lesson I have ever learned is- Patience and perseverance is the key to success.
My favourite business tool or resource is- My values - I do not go for any deal or act on anything if my gut feelings are saying otherwise.
My favourite quote is- There are many but one in particular which I conquer with my experience: “You can not change the direction of the wind but you can always adjust the sails to reach your destination”.
If you wish to know more about Jaya's organization Y G Travel or wish to reach out to them to avail their services please visit www.ygtravel.co.uk.