Today, the world’s focus is slowly but surely turning towards sustainable living and the important of organic produce and products. The impact of this worldwide concern has also reached the district of Chengelpet in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, where Jagadeesh Palraj is from. Born in Dindigul, another district of the same state, Jagadeesh was raised in Chengelpet amidst a lot of financial crises that his family faced.
It is here that Jagadeesh runs M/s Jaga Enterprises, a wholesale shop selling a variety of handmade soaps made from goat milk, sandal and other organic products. They also sell pure coconut oil.
Currently in his early thirties, Jagadeesh beat all the financial challenges that his family faced and cleared his engineering course. As an engineering graduate, he got hired by an IT farm. His family counted on his financial support to help get his sister married. After working a couple of jobs while taking care of his family, the horizon of his ambition expanded.
While working with a company that manufactured organic products, Jagadeesh was struck by inspiration. As he gained experience in various formulations that were needed to produce soaps, he cultivated the idea of his own venture, which would be completely eco-friendly and sustainable. The thought pushed him to dedicate all his efforts and undertake extensive research. Finally, he zeroed in on the idea of manufacturing products based on plant-based raw materials that would be biodegradable in nature.
In 2017, under the brand name of Varna, he initiated his venture. Though the knowledge he garnered in his job helped his business immensely, it wasn’t really a smooth ride. Till he approached BYST for support, his business was running on limited funds and resources. Jagadeesh always wanted to grow and expand his business and take it to the next level, but he lacked the capital for it.
While he desperately looked for funds, he came to know about BYST and their role in shaping the businesses of promising entrepreneurs. BYST spotted his passion and dedication towards his venture, and thus began Jagadeesh’s journey with BYST. He received counseling, training, financial support, mentoring as well monitoring of progress. With the support of the organization, Jagadeesh’s business proposal was developed and submitted to Indian Bank. In 2019, Jagadeesh successfully took out a business loan of Rs. 10 lakhs.
Over and above the financial back up he received through BYST’s intervention, what helped Jagadeesh a lot was the mentorship he received under the organization. As a first-generation entrepreneur, the handholding, support and training he received through sessions and all the workshops he attended, was what enabled him to achieve his goals effectively.
Through this journey, Jagadeesh was supported by his mentor, Mr.Victor Joseph, an expert in marketing and branding and in the field of Plastics. Mr. Victor guided Jagadeesh through the branding process of his products and helped him digitize his business. On Mr. Victor’s advice, Jagadeesh created a website for his business. This became immensely helpful during the Coronavirus pandemic situation as Jagadeesh ended up receiving a huge order of sanitizers from the government. This order was for Chennai and other places and was to be delivered within 30 days. It was the biggest order of his career, worth around 25 lakhs.
With the transportation restrictions in place during the pandemic, delivering this order in time became a huge hurdle. During this difficult juncture, his mentor helped him to obtain a license for his commercial vehicle. Not only that, Mr. Mahesh also mediated with the bank and resolved the issue when he ran in to a roadblock while trying to open a company account.
Today, with the help of a full-fledged working unit in the Chengelpet district of Tamil Nadu, Jagadeesh’s business is all set to take the next step in growth and expansion. He has also repaid his loan in full. With a focus on diversification, Jagadeesh now plans to increase his offerings to include sachets of detergent in both liquid and powder form. Quality control is extremely important to Jagadeesh. He has designated personnel for each process. New formulations of products are supported by extensive research by an R&D team.
Even though his eyes are set on an exciting future, Jagadeesh hasn’t forgotten his humble beginnings. To keep doing his bit, Jagadeesh not only employs local women and men, but also trains them, thus supporting their livelihood and building their capacities. Local women, in fact, form the majority of his work force. These women come from marginalized backgrounds and have no experience in the field. Jagadeesh trains them based on their skill-sets post-employment. His compassion towards his team and his focus on their care, makes him stand out as an amazing leader. To benefit the local economy, his business supplies to few organic stores in the same region.
Jagadeesh is also actively involved in the activities of BYST. He participates in the training webinars regularly. He has also been part of the experience-sharing sessions during IKEA discussions.
One of the biggest qualities an entrepreneur has, is to be constantly on the lookout to bring in innovation. Jagadeesh is always on the lookout for new ideas to incorporate into his business. He wants to grow and expand his horizons and is persistent about working hard towards that goal.
Jagadeesh’s business model includes an end-to-end sustainable process. Even the detergent water from the washed clothes can be used directly to water the plants, as all the raw materials used in his unit are plat-based and eco-friendly. He is also one of the few in the market who use castor oil as the product base. Most other organic players in the market use coconut oil for moisturization.
With a business based out of a rural area, the purchasing power of the customers from in and around his unit is much lower than people living in the city. To meet the needs of local customers, and to make his products accessible for all sections of the society, Jagadeesh introduced sachets priced as low as Rs. 5 and Rs. 10.
The vision Jagadeesh is going forward with, is that of innovation, sustainability, and inclusive growth – quite a relevant combination given the current times, and possibly the biggest strength of his business model.
Mentoring Helpline – A Lifeline for BYST Entrepreneurs During Covid-19
If a call could change a life, then the call that Manjula received, 10 days into the lockdown, from her BYST Mentor, would qualify as one! The lockdown imposed after the pandemic had a catastrophic impact on small and marginal businesses across the country and Manjula’s, a BYST entrepreneur from Chennai, was no exception. Her tailoring business was badly affected as she was not able to commute to her unit in Saligramam from her residence at Kundrathur, roughly 14kms apart. She was able to carry out some stitching work from home though, thanks to the two sewing machines that she had. However, the distress of a stalled unit was too much for her to bear day to day expenses had to be met and installment of the bank loan had to be paid and she did not know what to do. It was during such a time that she received a call from BYST Helpline. This Helpline is a unique initiative started by BYST to alleviate problems and mitigate the stress of entrepreneurs, in the wake of the lockdown that was imposed in March. Undertaken with the help of thousand-odd mentors from its pool of volunteer Mentors, BYST’s goal was to quickly reach out, through phone / WhatsApp calls, to over 5000 of its entrepreneurs to help them cope with this crisis situation --- by sharing information and business tips, by mentoring them, and most importantly, by listening to them! Manjula was connected to Mentor Haribhaskar and the latter was able to understand the challenges that Manjula has been facing. He spent some time discussing and gave her some productive suggestions. He analyzed and suggested that Manjula could explore ways to slightly modify her business and look at options to stitch face masks, which are in great demand, to attract revenue. Even though Manjula was ready to take up the suggestion and work on it, she faced hindrances in finance raw materials had to be bought and her cash flow situation did not allow that. Mentor Haribhaskar identified a supplier of unfinished masks and referred Manjula to him. The work involved stitching the elastic part to the face mask. This way, she did not have to invest. Within a week Manjula was handed over a stock of 1500 facemasks that had to be stitched with elastic bands. Every piece of elastic stitched would earn her Rs.75 paise/piece (face mask). To deliver the stock on time, she somehow managed to transfer one of her machines from her unit to her house. Manjula’s elder son, who worked with her, pitched in as well. Manjula lives in Kundrathur, outskirts of Chennai with her 2 sons. A single mother, she has been working as a tailor for 23 years, supporting both her children with her meager income. With hard work & resilience she managed to set up her own unit in Saligramam, Chennai in 2013. Her elder son has been supporting her in the business while the younger one goes to college. In 2018 when Manjula approached SBI bank to expand her business she was, in turn, referred to BYST by the bank. BYST found in her a hardworking and sincere entrepreneur and was happy to extend mentoring support that is so much required for businesses such as hers. BYST also facilitated a loan of 3 lakhs from SBI. This helped her diversify her business and incorporate new designs as per the latest trends in the market. She has been regular with her loan repayment for 15 months now and though a complete repayment and loan closure is some distance away, Manjula is determined and hopes to take her business to the next level in the coming days. She is all set to deliver her first stock of stitched masks by this week with the support of BYST & Mentor Hari Bhaskar. She hopes to get the subsequent orders that would help her stay on course. Her story, of spotting and making use of opportunities in the darkest times, is sure to inspire others. Section 0
Sometimes, opportunities present themselves at the most unexpected times. The ones who recognise them and grab them, are the ones who usually taste success. COCOTANG, the world’s first exclusive tender coconut–milk shake brand, was also conceived by accident while its owner was pregnant. COCOTANG is owned by Dr. Neelima T. who completed her BDS and MBA and used to be a dental practitioner.
Due to some medical complications during her pregnancy, she was advised bed rest and diet modifications. Coconut water formed an important part of her diet. She realised that the drink helped her cope well with her medical problems. It was then that she took interest in the fruit and started studying extensively about the benefits of coconut and coconut water.
From her in-depth research she found that tender coconut pulp, rich in fibre and low in fat, is one of the richest sources of Monolaurin. Monolaurin is an antibiotic, antiviral, anti-fungal and immune-boosting agent, which makes it safe for every age group starting from six-month-old infants to the elderly. It has promising health benefits.
This experience inspired her to start COCOTANG, and to fortify coconut water with fruits to make it more palatable and nutritious. She used the tender coconut pulp to make pulp shakes in many exciting flavours. Her team worked with the National Institute of Nutrition to identify the right ingredients to ensure consistency in taste, and proper scientific handling procedures to enhance the shelf life of the products. Today, COCOTANG manufactures a wide range of tender coconut shakes and coconut mocktails. These drinks are dairy-free and preservative-free and are a great replacement for milkshakes, especially for vegans, and people with lactose intolerance.
Their uniqueness lies in the products themselves, and in the way COCOTANG delivers its services. The menu is dynamic, and changes seasonally, bringing a fresh menu every three months. The focus is on value addition to nature’s best electrolyte drink, i.e., coconut water. They do it by adding fruits to the drink, based on every customer’s taste.
The company also boasts of creating unique drink combinations that address some specific health problems thus benefitting customers in many ways. These are usually special detoxification drinks made with coconut milk. This is an excellent replacement of milkshakes for vegans and people with lactose intolerance.
Before launching the venture, she conducted a pilot study in Chandanagar in 2016. Once the concept was well-received by people, she set up two kiosks. Due some problems between her landlord and the municipality, she was asked to relocate and that delayed the opening of her store. Neelima never gave up trying, and in 2017 she opened a walk-in store at Pragathi Nagar.
They worked very hard to take this concept to the public. It was an uphill task as they did not have any connections in the market, nor any support to thrive in the entrepreneurial sector. While struggling to increase visibility and awareness for the product, the networking support and assistance they received from BYST contributed largely to their success.
Neelima learnt about BYST through one of their Awareness Generation Programs.She was counselled, trained, and presented her business plan to the bankers with support from the BYST officials. Post this, she got a loan amount of INR 5.84 lakhs (£5880). She received timely support from BYST and the right guidance from her assigned mentor Mr. Ashok Kumar Gupta.
Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Managing Director, Rockwell Industries Limited, Hyderabad, is Neelima’s mentor. He has been a pillar of support at every stage of her business. From helping her with his knowledge and expertise, to using his own experience in chillers and refrigerators manufacturing background, he has stood by her. He helped her choose the right machinery and created a great network base leveraging BYST connections. He has been constantly motivating her to showcase her products at various events conducted by BYST-CII and other partner organizations. Once she met her mentor, there was no turning back for Neelima. She is constantly in touch with him and takes his suggestions before making any important decision for her business.
Encouraged by this support, they opened an online store in Gachinowli in August 2017 with minimum investment. As the next step, they adopted the cloud-kitchen model with lesser overheads and investment and opened one more store in Madhapur in 2018. This helped them study and understand customer behaviour in the area well.
Neelima’s story is quite a turn of fate, given her background and history. Elder of two siblings, Neelima is not even from an entrepreneurial background. Her father is a bank manager at the Andhra Bank. She got married to Chaitanya, who is the son of a mechanic and has faced many challenges while trying to complete his education.
In this process, she took suggestions from CFTRI and CDB, met many food technicians and had her team do retrograde work right from the procurement of farm for perennial raw material supply. Through this journey she faced a lot of opposition for deviating from her dental practice. With due support from her husband, she quit her dental practice. Though her family resisted in the beginning, they saw promising results from the pilot they ran from her husband’s friend’s restaurant. This helped them gain the trust of their family members and they started their business with their own investment.
Her team spent many hours developing a product and getting it approved by NIN, all the research work was done in small premises at home with limited resources. Being unprocessed food, initially the shelf life of the product was a problem. But she stuck to her conviction and over the years, she went on to win the JCI Business excellence award in 2018 and her name has been mentioned in the Telugu Book of records. Her entrepreneurial journey is also a case study in the Emerald Journal in UK, North America, Japan, India, Malaysia, and China.
COCOTANG has passed many phases to reach the product shelf life of a week. They are still working extensively to increase the shelf life without involving any processing or heating to preserve its naturalness. As the product is a novelty, they spent a lot of time understanding and studying the benefits. The knowledge of physiology helped Neelima a lot here.
However, the novelty of the new products was wearing off at COCOTANG India. They had started a business by bootstrapping (funding the venture with their own resources) but soon faced financial constraints. They ran out of resources and were literally facing the gun. Without funding, the venture could not progress any further.
At this stage, they approached BYST in 2016. Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust is a trust that encourages, incubates and handholds budding entrepreneurs in India. Learning about the unique product mix of COCOTANG India, BYST helped them secure a business loan and even assigned Mr. Ashok Kumar Gupta as a mentor for them to handhold and support them in their journey. Mr. Gupta is a senior mentor at BYST Hyderabad cluster.
COCOTANG India is an innovation-driven company. Its unique combination of flavours also addresses some specific health problems. Customers who benefit from the product relate it to a special detoxification drink made with coconut milk. The USP of COCOTANG is the fact that the whole process is natural, and it’s an environment-friendly brand. There is no other brand exclusively manufacturing coconut-based milkshakes. As the whole process is natural, COCOTANG does not cause any hazards to the environment, and all the by-products are put to maximum use and are biodegradable.
Secondly, coconut water is not just refreshing. It is high in potassium and contains most of the health benefits found in sports drinks (which are not natural). A typical 16-ounce carton of coconut water is low-carb and has about 80 calories. That’s about half or less than what is present in a similar-sized soft drink. Besides, it is devoid of all the sugar and chemicals that are crammed into a can of soda.
All COCOTANG’s drinks are packed under hygienic conditions and dispatched to consumers in a properly maintained cold system. The primary consumers range from the health-conscious people, vegans, the lactose intolerant, gym goers, the hotel industry (welcome drinks) etc.
Currently, there are 10 employees in the company, and the company appreciates and acknowledges their efforts. The best performance is awarded an incentive and bonus. For unmarried female employees, COCOTANG gives one month’s salary as a bonus at the time of marriage. It also pays exam fees for some employees. With the company growing, they are now looking into the health and welfare needs of the employees as well their families.
According to the COCOTANG team, “As an organization, it is the public or community who helps us earn. We feel responsible and thus, we follow certain principles. We spend 5% of our profit share on social activities. Once every month, we conduct a food drive. We donate schoolbooks or pay the school fees for the marginalised. We also buy furniture for old-age homes. Most importantly, we ensure that every bit of plastic from our factory goes into recycling. We never use things that are hazardous to our workers, or the environment. We never subject our food to a harmful process as we want to keep our products as natural as we can. The product is quite sustainable. With increasing awareness around health and wellness, the market share for healthy juices is expected to increase by 5.7% annually. In a consumer-based market, with the growing demand, offering quality is key for sustainability”.
Lalita Debi Shing, Owner, Jay Hanuman Paper Plates, based in the remote Amlabhata village in Rayagada district of Odisha state was recognised under the Medium Enterprise Category at the Vijayalakshmi Das Entrepreneurship Awards for 2020, instituted by SATYA MicroCapital, a Reserve Bank of India registered NBFC Micro Finance Institution. Lalita’s unit is an avenue of employment generation for local youth and underprivileged women. Lalita employs seven women directly, and has trained around 30 widows, school dropouts, elderly indigenous women, and adolescent girls, by giving them an opportunity to work at her unit on a part-time basis, helping them learn easy tasks, such as pasting or arranging finished products. She is thus helping develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem in this remote rural village that affords few opportunities for gainful employment.
It’s 2022 already, the world is smaller than it ever was, connected through various innovative means. And yet, the phrase “Women in STEM” draws out a collective sigh. The percentage of women in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce is under 30%.
Considered a male-dominated field, even more so in India, not many decisions made by women to enter the field of the sciences are welcomed by all. Luckily for Amruta Mangale from Pune, she was born into a family that did not feel the same way. She completed her Masters in Organic Chemistry from Indapur district in Pune, well supported in her decision by her middle-class family, despite their struggles. The real challenge for Amruta started post her education when she started looking for a job. Even with a Masters degree, she could only secure a job in the quality control department of a local dairy in her district. Her salary was INR 10,000 a month.
But Amruta had a different mindset from the beginning. She wanted to utilise her education to the maximum and start her own business. After she married in 2015, she found the perfect partner to take this idea forward with. Her in-laws were very supportive of her ideas and stood by her decisions even as she decided to sell her jewellery to arrange for funds to make her dreams come true. Thus began her journey to shatter the glass ceiling.
Today Amruta runs Hindavi Solution Pvt. Ltd. the only company manufacturing adhesive tapes for packaging boxes in Pune under the brand name of Beestofix. The use of adhesive tapes offers many advantages over binding techniques such as sewing, mechanical fastening, thermal bonding, etc. These include the ability to bind different materials together, to distribute stress more efficiently across the joint, the cost-effectiveness of an easily mechanized process, an improvement in aesthetic design, and increased design flexibility. Her company was launched in 2018.
Needless to say, Amruta’s knowledge in Chemistry has been her greatest weapon. She developed the products inhouse and scaled up the production to the commercial level without compromising on product quality or cost effectiveness. An intelligent businesswoman, Amruta got involved in this business only after conducting a careful and extensive market research. She earlier had a not-so-successful run with a CCTV installation business. Her research revealed that the adhesive required for packing tape in Pune is supplied from companies based in Gujrat, Wapi and Daman. There were no Pune-based manufacturers. And yet, there are around 7-8 big companies manufacturing packing boxes with an average monthly requirement of around 160 tons of packing adhesives.
However, when she approached Bank of Maharashtra for a business loan to expand her business, her application did not go through because she had no collaterals in Pune. The bank manager took notice of her and referred her to BYST. BYST helped her and facilitated the process of loan application. With BYST’s support a loan amount of Rs. 20 lakhs was disbursed.
Her mentor at BYST is Mr. Kiran Nawathe, a veteran automotive design engineer, sought after engineering and management best practices speaker. Amruta says her journey would not have been possible without her ‘guru’. Mr. Nawathe helped focus on taking an innovative route in manufacturing adhesives for packaging. With his guidance, Amruta has been able to understand the market, changing customer needs, where to sell and how to expand. She also learnt to optimise working capital, diversify her products, maintain and improve product quality, importance of after sales service and low credit period from her mentor and is putting it to good use. During Covid19, when inter-state transportation was shut, her mentor guided her to approach the packaging units to sell her adhesives. All the new strategies she keeps learning from her mentor makes Amruta confident to hit the INR 10 crore mark by 2022. And she is already at INR 7.5 crore.
Today, Beestofix also produces tape pigment, solvent cement. They are planning to launch wood working adhesives in the future. She grew by building strong & lasting social relationships within the community. She also generated employment for the residents, hence contributing to national development. She has paid GST amounting to INR 2.79 lakhs in just the first year of business, contributing actively towards the economic growth of the country. Today, Beestofix manufactures over 300 tonnes of industrial adhesive, 1500 kg of printing ink and 5000 kg of colour pigment every month.
Amruta’s business was just a year old when the Coronavirus pandemic broke out. She started her business of manufacturing adhesives in March 2019. And yet, she has managed to achieve a turnover of INR 5 crores in FY21. After the pandemic hit and the lockdown followed, her business was completely shut. However, her sound financial planning enabled her to tackle the situation better and she could pay staff salaries, rent of the unit and other expenses of the business. In fact, once she settled into the rhythm, amidst the pandemic, she soared.
Utilising the lockdown situation to her advantage and executing all she learnt from the various webinars organised by BYST on digitisation and social media marketing, she started using digital platforms to grow her business. Through her social media handle she reached out to many prospects, understood their requirements, sent quotations, sealed orders and her business was back in action. She also manufactured product samples and sent it to prospects. That helped convert them into customers. Amidst the lockdown, Amruta managed to expand her sales nationally by going digital. In November 2020, Amruta competed successfully with over 1,000 entrepreneurs from 54 countries to win the prestigious ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ award conferred by Youth Business International, UK, an organisation working in 65 countries to enable underserved young people to realise their business ideas.
Under the proposed programme, BYST intends to replicate its programme and create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Puducherry. Under the Mentor Development programme, the institutional mentors will be trained and accredited from various parts.
The programme aims to
J K Paper
Under the proposed programme, BYST intends to replicate its programme and create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Puducherry. Under the Mentor Development programme, the institutional mentors will be trained and accredited from various parts.
The programme aims to
Under the proposed programme, BYST intends to replicate its programme and create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Puducherry. Under the Mentor Development programme, the institutional mentors will be trained and accredited from various parts.
The programme aims to
The programme aims to
The programme aims to
The programme aims to
Loan Disbursement during Lockdown!
Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust has instilled a ray of hope in Divya by getting her business loan disbursed amidst lockdown. With all the businesses shut down and banks functioning with a skeletal staff, it was quite a challenging task for BYST representatives for arranging to disburse this loan. Divya Om Prakash runs a Paper bags manufacturing company with her husband in Chennai. Due to the outbreak of the virus and the lockdown that followed, their company is closed from the last week of March. She was facing challenges in paying salaries to her 6 employees. Meanwhile, BYST staff through relentless follow-up with the bank got her loan of 2 lakhs disbursed and the amount was credited into her account on 20th April 2020. The burden of paying the loan for the next 3 months has been relaxed under the government moratoriums hence she is contemplating using the amount to pay salaries to her employees -- all of whom are women who stay in the neighborhood. Divya Om Prakash is based out at Kodungaiyur, Chennai and her production unit is at Ezhil Nagar about 4 km away. Prior to starting the business, Divya’s husband Om Prakash had a job in Medical billing and worked night shifts. As it was demanding and tiresome the couple decided to switch to doing something on their own. They partnered with a relative who had a company for manufacturing leather bags. After working there for a brief span, the idea of manufacturing paper bags struck them, and immediately they set to work on it. They carried out a market study --- the varieties, availability, costs, etc. and finally commenced their company, M/s Divya Lakshmi Enterprises, with a self-funding of Rs.50, 000 in February 2019. They had been dealing with Imported paper as it is rich in texture/quality. Initially, they were 2 women who came into work from the neighborhood and got paid on a weekly basis. Now, the company has 6 women employees and supplies to major outlets from textiles to stationery shops and food joints in Chennai. As the business picked up in a few months, the couple wanted to expand the business but were contemplating the arrangement of funds. Until one day, her mother in law informed Divya about BYST after seeing the posters in IOB Bank, Teynampet. They visited BYST and attended the Entrepreneur Online Course (EOL) and completed the required procedures before submitting the proposal to the bank. That process has finally completed with this disbursement, thanks to the proactive follow-ups and numerous phone calls between BYST staff and the Bank. Divya and her husband are indeed thankful for the timely support from BYST. Once the lockdown is over, Divya is hopeful to resume her business and carryout expansion. Section
Economy, Entrepreneurs and Corona virus!
Contributed by BYST Mentor, CA Rajkumar Kattimani, Pune As the Corona pandemic continues its disruption, the livelihood of many entrepreneurs and business owners has been threatened. It’s obvious that even after the lockdown overall economic situation is going to be challenging and businesses will see tough times. However, normalcy will be restored slowly but steadily, and one will surely see the growth rates that is aspired for but need to have the patience for the time being. For small and medium businesses, here are some measures that can help in reviving your business during and after the lockdown Review your business plan Most of the time “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan”; If you’re the one who never believed in business plans, this is the best time to make one for your business. A business plan is a blueprint for your business. It also depicts action points on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis, so as to achieve the business objectives. Borrowing funds in the current scenario will be easy but will surely add the burden to your liabilities, and hence financial planning at this point is really a crucial part of the business. For the regular business planners, this is the time to critically review the plan. Review your plan, not only for this year but the next two years as well. It may call for systematic and large-scale changes in operations, change in pricing policy or delivery terms, etc. To do - Invest your time in planning your business and take the help of BYST, mentor, your business partners, and consultants wherever and whenever required. Align your business with the theme of recovery Post lockdown, a large chunk of the population may have a lower income level, businesses across the globe will be in a recovery mode. So, realign your business by offering your customers anything that will ease and support the task of recovery. It will result in customer delight and will win customer loyalty. You may be required to reconsider/review profit margins. Find out more about variable cost and fixed cost of business for a better decision. To Do Negotiate with your suppliers to reduce the variable cost, if possible Try to convert the existing fixed cost into variable cost by outsourcing the activity Try to reduce the fixed cost per unit Brace the challenge with some solid preparation so that you can be on top of your customers’ minds. Reach your customer online Keep in touch with your customers by using online platforms. If you have any then this is the right time to have one. Take the help of digital marketing experts and try studying the online supply chain till then. Make use of this lockdown time, to speak to your customers, suppliers, and employees also. Try to have video conferencing with them. Take your business online in true sense. Make all your stakeholders feel that they are important to you and you stand with them at this time. To Do Reach out to your customers to tell them that you’re available online and what you can offer them. The digital economy is vast, make the most of it. Restructure your business models In case lowering/reducing profit margins is not possible then think of alternative pricing models – Royalty-based pricing, Razor and Blade model, profit-sharing model or outcome-based model – these are some of the value-pricing models that you can discuss with your valued customers who will like your out-of-the-way business thinking and reward you handsomely. Let’s take an example of a Royalty-based business model: Let’s assume you are providing R&D services to a mobile manufacturing company that is developing a new model. Your minimum cost is INR 10,000 per hour of project work. You may bill at INR 11,000 per hour (only 10% margin) and royalty of INR 1000 for every piece of a new model sold by the company. This model is not only appreciated by loved by customers and they will become your long term, business partners. To do Remember that, value capturing will be a tougher challenge than value delivery in the next few quarters.
Bouncing back from setbacks!
Benjamin, 40 an enthusiastic entrepreneur of BYST, has leaped at the chance of modifying his business from manufacturing cloth bags to manufacturing masks, thus turning the situation to his advantage. Ever since the lockdown Benjamin’s cloth manufacturing has seen a halt leaving his employees in despair. As his employees are predominantly women and belong to the bottom rungs of the society with minimal income, Benjamin has an additional responsibility to ensure their decent survival. He has at least 45 – 50 workers (direct & indirect) dependent on him. After giving a lot of thought to the situation and ways to support his employees, the idea of manufacturing masks struck Benjamin who immediately started exploring the same. Benjamin, a successful Grampreneur™ belonging to a scheduled caste community in Erode started his entrepreneurial journey in 2016. Supported by BYST with a term loan of 5 lakhs, the business was also a way of giving back to society, especially to the downtrodden community. He was instrumental in engaging women as tailors into his business. When he zeroed-in on manufacturing masks, he quickly did some research on it and after some guidance from his Mentor, Victor Joseph, he worked on identifying the leads to manufacture them. He proposed to produce a three-layered mask using non-polypropylene material, suppliers for which are from Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Even though his proposal was in place, the major challenge lies in the transportation of his raw materials amidst the lockdown. Meanwhile, BYST staff & his mentor urged him to submit a proposal to the district collector permitting the transportation of his goods. Being the proactive person he is, Benjamin advanced the procedures, fixed an online appointment, and got the proposal sanctioned from the collector! Currently, he is all set to start his production within a week. He has priced the masks at a nominal rate of Rs.9 per piece and would be supplying to his existing customers, who are mainly owners of shops, bakeries & confectionaries. He is also networking with his contacts for attracting more customers. By 2022, he plans to expand his business unit to a bigger level.
The heart that gives, gathers!
From Contributing to the PM’s relief fund to taking care of his employees during the lockdown, Mr Ragu has clearly raised the bar for all business owners and redefined a citizen’s duty to the country. Since the lockdown, with his cement pipe manufacturing unit shut, it has been tough for Ragu. Despite that, he has been rendering all the necessary support to his 30 plus employees, including 10 migrant labourers from the north. Ever since the lockdown 5 of the migrant labourers were helped by Ragu to safely reach their hometown. He supports the rest of his employees with accommodation and food expenses on a weekly basis and ensures full payments to all his employees. The empathy that he has probably stemmed from his own experience and background – a life of struggle and hardship, before he made it big as an entrepreneur. Ragu, hailing from a scheduled tribal community in Oragadam village, Tamil Nadu, started his career in 1992 as a lorry cleaner. In 2001, he joined as a loader in a small company that manufactured cement pipes. There, he learnt the role of “cement manufacturing business”. Working as load-man, Ragu established contact with a Karur-based firm and started marketing their cement pipes in Chennai. After gaining experience and confidence in the field, Ragu incorporated his firm “Everest Cement Pipes” in 2009 with an initial investment of INR 20,000. Possessing few sub-contract orders from Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, Ragu approached every local bank to get a business loan, however his efforts failed. In 2012 a newly established branch of IOB bank near his unit lent 24,000 which he successfully repaid in 2013. He was referred to BYST by the Bank for his second term loan. BYST supported Ragu in maintain all his records properly and hand-held him for nearly a year. In 2014, BYST successfully assisted Ragu to get INR. 16 Lacs from Indian Overseas Bank, Mudichoor. In 2017, he was given an additional loan of Rs 440,000 Lacs from Indian Bank. Ragu started with just 2 employees in 2009 which rose to 12 in 2014 and further to 30 after BYST’s intervention. Ragu enjoys good customer base from an array of industry. His reputed clients include KSA Power Infra, Sterling and Wilson, Lotus Wireless Technology VJN Builders, EK Infra, TJR, PMR Constructions, Marutham Apartments, Amar Prakash Builders, Naveen Construction, Swan Electricals. Ragu now handles Korean based international companies namely K&K and Kotak Infra. Everest Pipes manufactures a wide range of customized products including Cement pipes, Hollow bricks, manhole covers for building roads and drainages, favour blocks (used for setting car parking floors) and well-rings (used for setting up septic tanks). Mr Ragu, who resides with his family in Perungulathur, considers it his duty to support his employees during such challenging times. He also believes that it’s his duty to contribute to the initiatives of the Government and adhering to this belief, he has contributed Rs 5000/- to ‘PM Relief Fund’ as well as another 5000/- to the ‘CM Relief Fund’ Even though he has been facing challenges in getting payments from his vendors, he was able to get 10% corona fund out of the cash credit amount of Rs.25 lakhs from Indian bank. With this amount, he has effectively managed to afford the salaries and other expenses of the business. He is coping well and thereby expecting to resume his business post 20th April, as the Govt. is likely to extend permission for certain industries to function. Ragu is full of hope and looks forward to resuming his business in full swing!
Challenges & Resilience
Shamitha is a new generation entrepreneur who opened a Clothing Boutique, with BYST’s support, just about a year and a half ago. While her foray into entrepreneurship has been recent, when it came to business sense and empathy for her employees, she has shown immense maturity and foresight. This was obvious the way she handled the crisis that erupted in the wake of the pandemic. After the lockdown was announced Shamitha started thinking about how the situation would affect her business and impact her ability to manage the outstanding loans. Being a Clothing Boutique, she felt that the flow of customers will be majorly affected even after the lockdown. Keeping this in mind, she quickly consulted her mentor who advised her to manufacture face masks with the available fabric. She was also connected with Sridevi (BYST Entrepreneur) who was already manufacturing masks. Shamitha started stitching masks using the fabric she had for her garments. These masks are naturally dyed and double-layered making it safe for all age groups to use and are non-allergic since there are no chemical dyes. Another important feature is that the masks are washable and hence, can be reused. She is currently selling the masks to her customers as well as in the neighborhood at the rate of Rs.105 for 3 masks combined. She also realized that her five employees, hailing from West Bengal, were an asset to her and she is obliged to take care of their accommodation & food expenses during the lockdown. In addition, she has also started looking after the needs of her husband’s employees – four of them who work in his salon. Shamitha lives in OMR, Chennai, and started off as a banker with Citi Bank. After about seven years, post her pregnancy, she quit her job. Thereafter, she completed her M.Sc. and M. Phil in Textile Science and Fashion Designing. She joined a Clothing store and her unique designs attracted many regular customers. It was during this period that Shamitha gained confidence in her work and wished to start a garments business of her own. She started her clothing boutique “Almithra” with an initial investment of 5 lakhs in December 2018. Since then she has been provided mentoring support from BYST. Currently, she is using social media platforms such as her Instagram handle (Shamitha_shiboo) to promote her products. Once the lockdown is over, she is planning to alter the business, according to the situation, so that it improves and thrives.
Webinar by BYST Mentor- "From Mind Full to Mindfulness"
Webinar Addressed by Mrs. Ranjini Manian Before this global pandemic, we were all living a very fast-paced life, and now due to lockdown and work from home, all our schedules have taken a hit. To effectively use the digital medium, BYST organized a webinar on living a life full of mindfulness in spite of extreme circumstances. BYST Mentor, Mrs. Manian with more than thirty years of experience spoke about maintaining a work-life balance during these circumstances. While we are all busy striving for success, she said we also need to put emphasis on sitting in silence and practicing one’s wellbeing. No matter how negative things get around us, it is in our power to make those negatives into positives. To follow this, she began with a few guidelines. Take-Aways: Thrive Sunflower Style: Nature gave us a pause in this life and it's up to us to refocus our perspectives, think about what actually matters. Balance for Better: Find a way to bloom in adversity, to make your time alone count. Look for your mind and body, work, and life balance. Take Time for Relationships: "Personal relationships are the first casualties." Make time for each other, stay away from your gadgets, even if only to share a meal. She led the audience into an 8-minute meditation session, guiding their spirit and actions and bringing about a relaxed and grateful atmosphere. She said, "learn to be in your own company because that experience helps us to be completely mindful." The biggest takeaway for BYST entrepreneurs and mentors from the webinar has been to take out time from one’s busy schedules and involve in mindful practices Meditation: Train your attention, become what you meditate, focus on your goal, and enhance your struggle to achieve it. Gratitude: Make it a way of life, 3-4 things at the end of the day to see a better change in your outlook. "Gratitude is an Attitude." Mrs. Manian shed light on her thoughts about meditation and explained how meditation train one’s brain into a powerful tool. It can be the key, to help you succeed, to make you happy, and be in control of your emotions. In an urban lifestyle, we have lost sight of ourselves So just be. Live your life and take control of your actions. And to do that, she suggested practicing ‘BE’. Begin your day with meditation End your day with gratitude The session was beautifully ended with questions from the audience on how to make someone happy, how to maintain self-respect, and how to cope with negativity around. She also encouraged the support BYST is providing their entrepreneurs in this tough time.
BYST's Grampreneur Swapnil Kudale shares his joy on being one of the top three finalists, ‘Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit 2019’ held in Cartagena, Colombia recently
BYST's Grampreneur Swapnil Kudale shares his joy on being one of the top three finalists, ‘Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit 2019’ held in Cartagena, Colombia recently I began my entrepreneurial journey of manufacturing pressed steel radiators with Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s support in 2017. With BYST’s support, I could get access to capital from Bank of Maharashtra for Rs. 40 lakhs for purchase of tools and machinery. My association with BYST started in 2011 through a newspaper advertisement which lured me to give my thoughts a clear vision. I was able to give my start-up Sky Power Industries a kick start with proper guidance, support of a dedicated mentor who has always inspired me and motivated me to achieve success. Since the beginning of my relationship with BYST, my learning has never stopped, from business idea generation to attending sessions on entrepreneurship, workshops have been a blessing to achieve my goal. As quoted by Oprah Winfrey, ‘A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself’ is completely true as I found my guide in Subhash Shejwal, who has always guided me push through the crowd and achieve something big. My venture of providing pressed steel radiators for distribution of transformers and rectifiers in Pune and surrounding states. I feel privileged to have been associated with BYST who nominated me for Indian entrepreneurs for Youth Business International (YBI)’s ‘Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit 2019’ which was celebrated in Cartagena, Colombia for which I also travelled. I take great pride that I was in the top 3 finalists from 52 countries and was facilitated with a trophy as a finalist. The experience of this summit was amazing and gave me a broad sense about the entrepreneurial mindsets as this was my first international trip. GYES 2019 made me learn a lot many things through various sessions on tackling difficulties in a start-up venture, successes and failures of the business. To meet entrepreneurs, mentors and people from various organisations, corporates and media representing various countries and the kind of work they are doing gave me a bigger perspective about the whole idea of entrepreneurship and the challenges associated with it. I am grateful to my family, BYST and my mentor for supporting me in every possible way to achieve my dreams.
Sarita Kanungo is from Bhubaneswar, Odisha and has a marvellous academic history. She graduated with a degree in Sociology and has two diplomas in Elect & Tele Comm Engineering and in e-Commerce. She also completed her Post Graduation in Public administration and got herself a degree in executive MBA. She joined the Center for Modernizing Government Initiative in 2010. Prior to that, Sarita was actively involved in several social sector activities. She worked as a trainer in NGOs like the Centre of Youth and Social Development and the Centre of Advocacy and Research.
Sarita has been sincerely working towards social development and has been discussing government-initiated schemes through various training and awareness programs. Her primary aim is to spread awareness in the marginalised communities about the Right to Information act. Her expertise in administration helps her in getting involved in activities which include imparting training to government officials and PRIs, university, college and school students. She helps them learn how to build awareness campaigns, develop IEC materials, amongst other administrative processes to bring change.
It was in 2012, that Sarita joined BYST and has been involved as a mentor since then. She has also been playing the role of a resource person in the organisation. She has been extremely enthusiastic and actively participates in every event organised by BYST. She believes BYST is an appropriate platform for her to get a chance to reach as many people as possible and to explore her mentoring ability to help the beneficiaries.
One of Sarita’s mentees is Mrs. Chinupriya Acharaya, who manages a supermarket and is the mother of a 2-month-old child. Juggling between her work and her child was extremely difficult. Sarita advised Chinu to build a special cabin in the mart itself, so that she could carry her child to work and keep a close eye. Sarita suggested dealing with different customers in unique ways and also helped Chinu in building out strategies and curating various ranges of products to attract a larger number of regular customers. All these steps recommended by Sarita led to Chinu leading a stress-free life as a mother as well as a business-woman.
Sarita makes sure to treat all her mentees differently based on their special needs. This leads to a very personalised experience for each of the aspiring entrepreneurs resulting in a healthy and prosperous rapport between the two parties, and that is definitely Sarita’s forte!
BYST focuses on assisting disadvantaged Indian youth to convert their business ideas into viable enterprises. Smart Training for Enterprise Planning (STEP), is an effort in this direction.
The program guides young entrepreneurs through the various steps in their journey to setting up and running a successful enterprise. BYST counselors and mentors are key to the experience.
MR. C.K.Birla is the chairman of the CK Birla Group, a conglomerate operating in nearly every industry possible, be it home and building products, automotive and technology, or healthcare and education. The Group has strategic alliances with some of the world’s leading companies like Caterpillar, Ford and Daimler. Not only is he the chairman of various other companies like AVTEC, HIL, National Engineering Industries, Neosym, Orient Cement and Orient Paper Industries, he is also associated with various national and international institutions. His roles comprise that of the Member of the Commonwealth Business Council; Chairman of the board of governors of the Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi; Chairman of the board of governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur and Member of the board of governors of The Calcutta Medical Research Institute. Other Group companies and organisations include Birlasoft, GMMCO, Orient Electric, the Birla Institute of Technology, the BM Birla Heart Research Centre, the Calcutta Medical Research Institute, Modern High School for Girls, and the Rukmani Birla Modern High School.
Our mentor Kalpana Ghatge is an Electronic and Telecommunication Engineer and she started off her career as an engineer with the Electronics Corporation of India. After her marriage, she moved to Kolhapur and kept focusing on her career. Thereafter, she began her venture to manufacture hand operated photocopying machines. During this time, she was simultaneously working with the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology as their visiting faculty for Electronics studies.
A while later, Kalpana took control of Ghatge Electricals as the director where the company has been manufacturing spare parts for DC motors. She is currently a partner with S.M Ghatge and sons, who are dealers in Hero motorcycles. She is also a partner in a Nissan dealership in Kolhapur. And these are just a few of her many accomplishments in her prolific professional path.
Kalpana’s journey with BYST has been no less than her personal accomplishments. She has been actively mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs and leading them to success. She is currently mentoring a young Sneha Thenge, who is a fashion designer and a first-generation entrepreneur. Kalpana identified Sneha’s raw talent immediately and realised that doing it all by herself has been a little too much to deal with, especially with no guidance on harnessing her business skills. Kalpana has been actively focusing on how to find the niche for Sneha’s venture and creating ideas for specialised services. Kalpana is also providing Sneha with a holistic understanding of how any enterprise operates to optimise the resources and maximise the gains – monetarily and otherwise.
For all of the amazing things Kalpana has accomplished through the years, she was awarded the Successful Female Entrepreneur in the year 2018. Her proficiency in Hindi language has also resulted in her winning many national awards in various capacities. Even the UNO has been appreciative of her contributions and successes in the world of entrepreneurship!
Sumathi Iyer has been associated with BYST since 1996 and her contributions are unparalleled. She has directly mentored 4 entrepreneurs, counselled over 5000 aspiring entrepreneurs and trained 1000 others! She is associated with the Chennai Chapter of BYST and has played a plethora of roles in the organisation through the years. Before joining BYST, she was a banker with Canara Bank. Sumathi was instrumental in setting up the Entrepreneurship cell of Canara Bank in 1996. From then on, there was no looking back.
Sumathi began working with BYST as a member of Mentors Chapter in Chennai; she held positions including that of a Strategic Committee member. She was part of the Mentors Mobile Clinic and possesses hands-on experience in working with rural entrepreneurs. She is currently serving as the Vice-Chairman of BYST, Chennai region.
Sumathi has the endearing quality of dealing with each entrepreneur with utmost empathy and building a rapport with them, hearing them out and suggesting possible and achievable solutions. Beyond her role as a mentor in her region, she maintains excellent camaraderie with mentors and with entrepreneurs across BYST-operated areas in India. This provides her with an understanding of the job beyond the regional limitations.
Sumathi’s mentee Balalakshmi’s company M/s S B Organics manufactures cotton sanitary pads and trades various other organic products. Initially, Balalakshmi was denied support by banks and MSMEs and that is when she turned to BYST. She managed to gain financial support with the help of BYST and met with Sumathi. Sumathi mentored her with regard to maintaining books of accounts, balance sheet, cash flow statement, P&L, and marketing of her products.
As part of the BYST mentor exchange program, Sumathi also visited Wardha and participated with other mentors, extending her valuable guidance to the stakeholders. In December 2019, she visited Russia and Serbia to attend the Conference themed ‘Mentoring days’. She was the only Indian mentor to attend such a profound event. She used the platform to its fullest and spoke about the exclusive activities carried out by BYST to promote entrepreneurship and mentoring in the Indian diaspora. She believes in the idea of building one’s dream from scratch and finding success through doing what one loves doing!
Sunada Kanungo is our mentor from Bhubaneswar, Odisha and is extremely passionate about her ideas and thoughts. She is a sociable woman with a reliable soul. She is one of those who knows exactly how to strike the perfect balance between personal and professional.
After completion of her bachelor’s degree from Ramadevi women’s College, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, Sunanda immediately involved herself in multiple human rights campaigns. During these years, she was simultaneously pursuing her masters degree in English language from Utkal University, Bhubaneswar.
Sunanda is an open-minded woman who always welcomes innovative ideas and learning new things. This helps her to always be a step ahead when it comes to providing unique and practical approaches in her professional roles. During her career, she has been involved with multiple organisations and has proven to be an effective communicator and performer when it comes to her responsibilities.
Sunanda takes interest in research and documentation and her areas of interests include women’s issues, human rights, environmental issues amongst others. She believes in developing strong relationships and concepts whenever she approaches to tackle any social issue.
Sunanda has been associated with BYST for a while and has been supporting her mentee Chandrakanti Ojha for about a year now. Chandrakanti has her own tailoring unit and intends to make a blooming business out of it, but she lacks knowledge of digital marketing. Sunanda helped Chandrakanti understand the benefits of using digital space to increase the outreach of her venture. Sunanda helped her open a WhatsApp business account to establish a more convenient networking system with customers and also encouraged her to distribute digital leaflets to promote the business. This acted as a means of digital advertising for Chandrakanti’s business resulting in an increase in demand for her products in the local market.
Sunanda knows there is a difference that needs to be filled in order to make sure that aspiring entrepreneurs with potential but limited resources can reach a larger audience and she always equips her mentees with exactly that. For her, empowerment comes with access and she wants to be the one providing that!
Our mentor Sudha Subramaniam joined BYST with a bag full of expertise over a decade ago and has motivated more than 600 aspiring entrepreneurs on their road to glory ever since. But, Sudha’s story is an even more glorious one in itself.
Hailing from Chennai, Sudha Subramaniam has a stellar experience of over 30 years in competitive business markets. She holds two Masters degrees – one in Public Administration and the other in Inclusive Education. She received a Pitman’s Certification in Higher Accountancy from the U.K., holds a couple other certifications along with being a certified Senior Mentor from LEEDS University, UK.
If you think her academic years look stunning then you are in for more surprises in her professional years! She is an entrepreneur, administrator, marketer in insurance and finance and NGO management. She combines her academic knowledge with technology to make her work stand out in a heavily digitised world.
“My Dear Sudha, you have brought into our country the best available expertise in this area. I congratulate you”, said Sudha’s mentor – Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Vibhushan M.S. Swaminathan, who is the Father of Green Revolution and the Founder-Chairman of MSSRF.
Sudha has been contributing in the fields of education, healthcare, upliftment and empowerment through her presence. She has played instrumental roles in bringing about changes to the marginalised communities in the private, government and corporate sectors. She is a true changemaker indeed!
One of her mentees, Divya Om Prakash, runs a paper bags manufacturing company. Divya and her husband started their company, M/s Divya Lakshmi Enterprises, with a self-funding of Rs.50,000 in 2019. They had been dealing with imported GSM papers because of their better quality but their profit margin was not impressive. It was with Sudha’s help in digitally marketing the products along with efficient costing strategies and accurate product pricing that the business flourished in no time.
Sudha has a knack for identifying the right clients and to understand their requirements. She crafts her inputs accordingly to cater to the clients’ needs, thus ensuring favourable business outcomes. She puts together traditional ways and contemporary innovative business development techniques. This practice is helpful in maximising profitability without compromising on human-centricity or on corporate responsibilities.
Sudha’s eyes always aim for nothing less than the stars and she would not have it any other way for her mentees either!
Naina Shah from Chennai has been an active mentor at BYST for the past 15 years and she is the Chairman of the South Chapter. Along with mentoring in business development arenas, she is also a strategic committee member for BYST. Naina pursued her higher education in Pune and also completed a certificate course in French from the University of Pune. That is not the end of the excellence for her. She did certificate courses on Interior Designing from Abhinav Kala and on Baking and Confectionary from Indian Institute of Food Technology.
Currently, she is the Director at Paradigm Environmental Strategies Limited. It is a business venture that has been bringing about changes and initiating conversations around the entire concept of electronic waste which reciprocates to society.
Naina’s understanding of E-waste and electronics in general due to her professional experience has been reflected in her ways of mentoring clients at BYST as well. Her advice is always eco-friendly in nature, but she also keeps in mind that her mentees are just starting off. She received the “Zero Waste Award 2003” by Global Alliance for Incineration Alternative (GAIA) for waste management organised by the National Alliance for Zero Waste at the Asia Social Forum, Hyderabad, 2003.
Naina’s brilliant mentoring is reflected immensely in the case of Mohammed Bilal who came to BYST for guidance and support in his Sales and Servicing business. He deals with laptops and who could be a better fit than Naina for Bilal. Bilal’s business aims at providing product services which ensure error-free solutions. Naina helped him understand ethical practices of business and what came out of this mentor-mentee rapport resulted in a successful entrepreneurial story. Bilal landed his first big client through Naina and that order resulted in a revenue worth rupees 1 crore!
Naina makes sure that none of the steps taken in making a profitable business get too hard or expensive to follow through, yet always consciously designed to meet the needs of the entrepreneurs.
“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out,” said John Wooden. Ms. Jenifer Y personifies this quoted line. Born and raised in Chennai, India, this young woman always dreamt of becoming a doctor from her childhood. However, her father did not have the means to support this dream financially. Not one to give up on her ambition, Jenifer chose to opt for something closest to becoming a doctor. She took took up Diploma in Dental Technology. While studying for the diploma, she developed a passion for the subject and graduated with sincerity. It was during the course that she discovered a great business opportunity in the field of dental technology. She immediately began saving for her business. Jenifer now lives in Ramapuram, Chennai with her husband, Mr. Shriraj. She is a mother to two daughters. Both husband and wife are diploma holders in Dental Technology from Saveetha Dental College. As per Jenifer’s plan, as soon as they obtained their diplomas, the duo headed straight to initiate their venture in 2007. They set up Oscar Dental with some monetary support from Jenifer’s father to begin their business. However, that capital was not enough to procure equipment required to expand their business. Hence, they bought two machines on credit from the market and repaid the loans within six months. This helped them build a goodwill for themselves. When they began, Jenifer would design the moulds for all the orders by herself. The process was manual, extremely detail-oriented, and time-consuming. The products had to be handcrafted according to the scanned blueprint. The time she needed to do this became a hindrance in accepting large orders that were coming her way, thus hindering the growth of her business. This was when she thought automation would be able to solve the problem she was facing. However, automation would need funding. Fortunately for Jenifer, she got in touch with BYST at this opportune moment. It was with the support from BYST that she was able to get a loan of Rs. 17 lakhs from Indian Overseas Bank (Ramapuram Branch, Chennai). The loan helped her procure an imported designing machine which made her deliver more orders with greater precision, in lesser time. BYST helped her with mentoring support, loan enhancement and trainings. These gave her the exposure she needed to reflect upon her business growth plans and set bigger targets for herself. Jenifer’s mentor Mr. Haribhaskaran guided her from day one and helped her streamline her business. This set her on to the right path for her to achieve her dreams for her company. One of the first things he helped her identify were the gaps in bookkeeping. With tips from him, she has learnt to create and maintain a reserve for emergency utilization and does not put the entire income back into the business. Before he intervened, Jenifer did not have a proper book of accounts. She accounted the payments & purchases category-wise. Today, Oscar Dental manufactures and supplies artificial teeth and tooth caps. Their products use eco-friendly materials, and they use a non-polluting production process. They also play an active role in creating awareness about preventive dental care covering gum-loss and bone loss in women. An ISO certified organization, Oscar Dental’s products are manufactured with 60% machine intervention and 40% manual customization. Their technicians are trained to match the colour of implants to natural teeth, thus giving them an edge over other manufacturers. Jenifer plans to go for an expansion loan as soon as the dental health industry stabilises from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Oscar Dental plans to capture a larger share of India’s dental treatment market which is estimated to be at Rs 1,000,000 crores by 2022. They plan to set up a 5000 sq ft manufacturing facility near Chennai by 2022, with a capacity to manufacture 150 artificial teeth & implants daily. A dental clinic and research centre are also part of the plan. The company has adopted state–of–the–art technology and plans to install advanced machineries. Their plans for the next 5 years are to: Develop 25 skilled workers in the next one year to improve production and enhance capacity utilization of existing machinery, Create systems and procedures to improve productivity and margins, Increase customers base from 70 to 125 clinics, Meet dental treatment needs of thousands of rural Indian women. Jenifer believes strongly in making the world a better place to live. To build harmony across the globe, Oscar Dental pursues UN SDGs in the following ways: End Poverty in all its forms everywhere – Jenifer specifically selects her employees from marginalized sections of society. She plans to train at least 100 school dropouts & disabled people in 5 years.
Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing of all – Oscar Dental’s high-quality products are affordable by elders, pregnant women and also the poor. Jenifer won the prestigious JRD TATA Award in 2018. A first-generation entrepreneur from a lower socio-economic background, she not only overcame financial difficulties, but also shattered many gender stereotypes to setup a successful venture in the highly sophisticated Dental Implants Industry. This daughter of a small-time construction labourer today employs 26 people directly and indirectly supports another 104. Her zeal to contribute to the society, makes her design processes to deliver cost-effective, yet high quality tooth implants. Quality wise, her products are at par with high-end artificial teeth supplied by multinationals. Their longevity is also much better than handmade local products thereby benefitting thousands of poor patients. Based on each patient’s diagnosis provided by the dentist, Jenifer and her team analyse the patient’s history and discuss the details of design as well as the size of tooth before customizing the cap, bridges, and dentures. Oscar Dental’s skills lie in bringing the natural colour of the patient’s teeth to the artificial tooth by creating layers of Dentine and Enamel. Their focus is on restoration of natural teeth, and they advise implantation of teeth only if it is necessary.
Dr. Minakshi Battashe
Dr. Minakshi Battashe is one of the oldest mentors in BYST and has been working with the team for over 15 years now. She is an extremely enthusiastic and soulful person who spreads joy through all that she does. She has been actively counselling and mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs all these years. She is also a member of committees in the organisation through which she brings about constant change and upliftment.
Dr. Battashe helped Abhishek in making sure that his small business of producing agarbattis (incense sticks) carves its own niche in the market. From just a small business venture to one which sells over 70 varieties of products, Abhishek’s business bloomed under the guidance of Dr. Battashe. Her mentoring also included special advice on how to make the most out of the leftovers from the agarbattis to produce other things in order to ensure the sustainability quotient of the business.
It has been 3 years now and it is a mentor-mentee relationship that has been through the pandemic as well! In fact, Abhishek was about to launch his business in March 2020 itself but the lockdown was announced but he did not give up and Dr. Battashe did not leave his side. She encouraged him to digitise his business and their resilience along with BYST’s constant training and workshops led to building a loyal clientele for Abhishek’s venture.
BYST high-flyer entrepreneur, Balamurugan from Tamil Nadu has experimented and succeeded in designing a UV sterilizer box to kill bacteria present in everyday essentials including cash, mobile, keys etc. Usually, ultra violet rays are used to kill microbes and most of the hospitals use UV lamps to sterilize the products. Balamurugan has adopted the same technology and modified its usage according to the current situation where hygiene is touted the most important.
The UV sterilizer box works in such a way that the energy from the ultraviolet light is absorbed by the fluorescent coating inside the fluorescent lamp and re-emitted as visible light; similar tubes without the same fluorescent coating emit UV light that can be used to disinfect surfaces, since the ionizing effect of UV radiation can kill most bacteria and virus. It is seen that the average bacterium could be killed between 12 to 16 seconds at a distance of six inches from the lamp.
Balamurugan has appealed mainly to the banks to place his sterilizer box in the cash station for the currency notes to be sterilized prior to handing over to the cashier. By doing so, bacteria present in the currency notes are killed ensuring a safe transaction. In addition to currency notes, things like keys, ATM cards, ornaments etc. can also be sterilized. He is currently in the process of creating visibility and awareness for his product in the market as well as among the people. He has in fact released a promotional video on the sterilizer box and its significance.
During the Lockdown, like every other business, Balamurugan’s business experienced a hit which led him to juggle between various aspects of the business such as orders as well as payment to his employees. However, he managed to pay all his 7 employees their full salaries even during such challenging times. He claims that as an entrepreneur he has also utilized the time to think and modify his products relevant to the post lockdown situation.
He is also aware that for the next few months customers may not be interested on luxury products but the ones that are considered essential. Since hygiene and safety would be given utmost priority, he had put his efforts in designing the “Sterilizer Box”
Balamurugan hails from Tindivanam district of Tamil Nadu. His father used to be a farmer. Balamurugan is the only son with two elder sisters and two younger sisters, hence had a major share in running the family. Post his 10th grade, Balamurugan pursued a diploma in Electronics, Television Technology from A.M. Jain College-Institute of Management. He has also completed a part-time course of Diploma in Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning in a private institute. Balamurugan’s Technical qualification helped him to start his career as a service representative with Lakshmi & Co, a home appliances company. In his eagerness to learn all the skills related to servicing and manufacturing electronic consumer goods, he approached and joined small companies that could give him the opportunity to learn. He earned the trust and confidence of his employers and at one point, they allowed him to start a branch in Kerala (PRESVI Industrial Co). However, it is only when he was working as a Technical Assistant with the R & D Dept. of Institute of Technology, he started showing interest in Industry Automation Projects. He gradually rose to become the quality controller in the production unit.
Later he joined EUREKA FORBES as a sales representative and quickly rose to become a Team Leader. With a total of 9 years of experience in both manufacturing, servicing and marketing businesses gave him the needed confidence and skills to start a venture on his own. His business intuition told him that if he had to start a new business it has to be in the field of “Consumer Electronics”. With ITI experience, he adapted the temperature controller modules to suit household use and came out with the new product “Water Level Controller”.
Finally in 1995, Balamurugan started his own business “ELITE” with his borrowings of
Rs.30, 000 from a private source and his own savings. He wanted to stabilize his innovative venture and learnt about BYST through a friend who had approached BYST earlier for trading business. By seeing the innovative product and his confidence BYST sanctioned him a loan of Rs.20, 000 for raw materials for manufacturing water level controllers. He deals with Eliteron based Water level controller and other related electronics. In 1997, he expanded his business and renamed as ‘Elite Pro’ and later in 2006 as ‘Eliteron products.’ Currently he is looking forward to launch his STERILIZER BOX in a weak or two!!
The most powerful inspiration is often found in our surroundings, in the small things we grow up with and incidents in our daily lives that leave an impression on us. It was the same for Yogesh Gawande. Growing up in an agrarian family in Aurangabad, Yogesh experienced the little joys and struggles of being part of a socio-economically backward family of small farmers.
His parents owned a small farm, and most of his extended family members were engaged in farming or in agriculture related work. Though his parents struggled financially, they ensured that Yogesh completed his education and enrolled him into Mechanical Engineering. While he was in college, his parents saved some money with great difficulty, to buy him a mobile phone. However, the boy had other ideas. He used that money to develop the prototype of a liquid spray pump for his first-year engineering project. This pump would spray liquid pesticides or insecticides and would be extremely beneficial for farmers.
The pump won him the first prize. Surprised with this success, Yogesh wanted to develop the idea further. He thought about commercialising the product. Proactive by nature, he started participated in trade shows and expos and displayed his product, even while he continued to study. As a part-time entrepreneur, he managed to sell 20 pumps!
Once he completed his degree, it was time to put his ideas into action. He came to BYST with his concept. BYST helped him through a three-month orientation session where he learnt about the steps of doing business, accounting, marketing, and networking. He was assigned a mentor from a similar field. Mr. Milind Kank, Yogesh’s mentor, helped his develop his concept further and converted it into a viable business idea. With a robust business proposal, Yogesh was able to withdraw a loan to kickstart his business.
With his mentor’s guidance, Yogesh expanded his portfolio to include a manual model, a battery-operated model and a combined (manual-cum-automatic) model. When the pandemic induced a lockdown in India, he was also able to pitch the product to be used to sanitise narrow roads and streets where big trucks and machines could not reach. This idea from his mentor helped him create a whole new vertical for his business. Realising that going digital is the next best step for his business, his mentor guided him to create a YouTube channel and register his business on e-commerce portals and web directories. He also built his own website.
“My mentor not only guided me with skills and expert advice, but also helped me with courage and knowledge which was essential for me to run this business. I was just a kid out of college at that time. His guidance is the reason why I am who I am today,” Yogesh confesses.
Fifty percent of India’s population is into farming. And over eighty five percent of those farmers are small or medium farmers. Yogesh’s childhood made him very familiar with the struggles and challenges small farmers face. The farmers in his village were toiling hard, but without much success. Lacking the right equipment and tools, the time they spent in farming was hardly commensurate with the benefits they received. Yogesh desperately wanted to help make their lives better. His product was inspired by the daily battles he grew up observing all around him.
After fine-tuning his products under the guidance of his mentor, the products have had a great impact on the farmer community, helping over 12,000 farmers spread over 14 States. They no longer have to carry heavy pumps on their backs but can conveniently wheel them to the farm sites thereby saving them from grave physical injuries. Conventional spraying which would usually take anywhere between one to two hours of time to complete now can be achieved in under 30 minutes. The product is very affordable to even small and marginal farmers.
Today, in late twenties, Yogesh can already take care of his family. He is so grateful to them for sacrificing so much to provide for his education and constantly encourage him to follow his dreams. His father and brother work with him now, helping to extend educational support and internship opportunities to other extended members of the family. He already has created six jobs and has also been able to help his sister and his widowed aunt. Being able to do something for his loved ones at such a young age boosts his confidence.
In India and the world over, life usually presents more obstacles in the path of a woman than her male counterpart trying to achieve similar objectives in life; a number of extra hurdles that she must overcome to reach the same destination. It was not different for Mrs. Vaishali Patil. Born in Dayal Nagar (Wardha, Maharashtra), to a family with limited means, Vaishali’s life was quite difficult from the word go. She had to give up on her studies as soon as she completed her secondary education because her parents would not be able to afford higher education for her. In many parts of the country, till date, marrying off a girl whose education cannot be afforded is presented as the only solution by the society. The onus of protecting her is transferred from her father to her husband. The same happened with Vaishali. However, life had different plans for her, and did she rise to the occasion!
Though a kind and supportive person, Vaishali’s husband fell so ill in the initial years of their marriage, that he lost his job. Suddenly, the young woman now had the role of the breadwinner of the family. She neither had experience, nor the exposure to this kind of a responsibility, but she definitely had the aptitude.
Vaishali spotted a job vacancy for the position of a team leader in a company called Ideal Washing Co. in Bhandara, quite far from her house. She bagged the job, and moved there to support her family. While on the job, she learnt quite a few things. . Her role taught her how to deal with retailers, how to keep up with market trends, and how to keep customers happy. She also learnt a lot about the system of demand and supply.
However, the company would keep back a large chunk of employees’ salaries and treated them as shareholders, promising to invest the money into the business and share the profit with all the employees. To substitute the missing part of her income, Vaishali had started making papad and pickles at home and sold them door-to-door. She would sell about four kinds of food items, barely making any money to meet her daily expenses. It was going well until, suddenly she was left without a job when the company simply vanished from the town.
But Vaishali now was a different woman. Though she had always nurtured a dream of being self-employed and doing something in the field of homemade products, she was under-confident. But the exposure she got from working with a corporate gave her to confidence to take the plunge now. Having faced a lot of difficulties in her own life, she also wanted to help other women in her community. Creating jobs and becoming self-reliant was a great way to lead by example.
Thus was born Vaishali Gruh Udyog. She started her business with a lot of confidence, armed with her family’s support, and an initial investment of INR 50,000 from her savings. However, she still needed basic necessities and the guidance to apply for a business loan. And she had no idea about these things. Neither did she have any bank transactions to show for her work experience, nor the paperwork required to apply for the loan, or a guarantor.
But it was meant to be. Around the same time, she got to know about BYST from the newspaper, and immediately got in touch. BYST helped her refine her project idea and also helped with the required paperwork. Bank officials visited her place to see the kind of work she was doing. Vaishali applied for a loan of INR 2 lakhs but the bank sanctioned INR 3 lakhs within five days of applying for the loan. With this money Vaishali was able to buy machinery to make sewai (vermicelli), chips, pasta and expanded her product line to include 36 more food items.
Vaishali’s first mentor was Vidya Khare, who passed away from illness. Vaishali misses her a lot. It was Late Vidya Khare who inspired her to increase the number of food items. She had also advised Vaishali to keep improving the product quality continuously.
Her current mentor is Dr. Som Pandya owns Khadi Gramudyog and a training center. He guides her with workforce management. It is the workforce that plays a vital role in the growth of any business. Human resource management, timely appreciation, and criticism, all form an important part of the lessons she learns diligently from Dr. Pandya. He also supports Vaishali in customer management. With his support Vaishali aims to increase 5 customers every day. To replicate the impact BYST has had on her life, she attends all the events and meetings regularly. She also encourages young women to start their own businesses based on their skill sets and makes them aware about BYST.
Producing 40 kinds of food items, Vaishali today has a turnover of 40 lakhs, with an income of 90k per month. Her product-line includes mainly chivda, chakli, all types of tortillas, pickles, noodles and other homemade eatables. Initially, she would deliver the products herself by going door–to–door to spread the word about her business herself. This way she could maintain a direct relationship with her customers and gained a better understanding of their demands and needs. Now she has an all-women’s team of forty, employed both directly and indirectly. Her employees have been working with her for the past ten years in the district of Wardha. She specifically hired only women due to her strong faith in their skillsets and sincerity. She still does door-to-door selling and now her husband also helps with her unit when she is away on sales calls.
Vaishali Gruh Udyog is always looking to increase their repertoire and maintain the highest level of quality in their products. By taking their business online and taking customers needs and requirements into account, they have taken an important step in improving the relationship between the customer and the company. This will also help them further the business. Vaishali employs women from poor families and is looking to hire more as she expands her business to other districts. With the world seeing an increase in demand for homemade products and delivery services, she has smartly decided to do both through her unit. Her main aim remains to make as many women independent as possible. She trains them, helps them realise their potential and own their identities.
When COVID-19 struck, no one could predict the length of its stay, but it was clear that the impact would be far-reaching and long-lasting. The lockdown during the early days of the pandemic affected businesses and drove some to closure. Economies suffered worldwide, and India was no different.
Needless to say, Mrs. Vaishali Patil’s Vaishali Gruh Udyog also took a hit. However, she was quick to regroup and handle the fallout that was caused due to lockdown and the restrictions caused by it. She did face problems of availability of skilled workers, but maintained her relationship with her customers by providing order services both online and offline, and adding new products as per customer requests. She also took short meetings with SHG women online to encourage them during the tough times. She stood by her employees by paying their full salaries and extending her moral support. Additionally, she took care of the health provisions of all her employees. She also donated water purifer/cooler to hospital.
To remain steadfast and calm in the face of crisis and work towards solutions, to take your responsibilities seriously is the mark of a successful leader. Being flexible in your approach towards work has emerged as an important quality in the times of the pandemic and BYST is proud to work with an intuitive entrepreneur like Mrs. Vaishali Patil. Her outstanding leadership skills have won her the Vijaylakshmidas Award as well. This mother of two is certainly rewriting her stories and the stories of several other women by creating jobs and by simply being an inspiration!
Swapnil was born to a lower-middle class family, but he was born with dreams that stretched way beyond the limitations set by his socio-economic condition. Being the elder son to his parents, he observed intently as his father operated his own small business out of small piece of land that he had invested in many years ago. The amount of effort his father put in to bring home an income of INR 4.5 lakhs a year, gave him many important life lessons. The fact that his father struggled to make two ends meet, yet never compromised when it came to the education of his sons, made a huge impact on him, even as a child. As a result, he grew up to be grounded, but with his eyes set on greater achievements.
Staying true to his father’s vision, he did not let his financial circumstances affect his education as obtained an Engineering degree from a Governmental Open University. By the time he had become an adult, Swapnil was sure of two things – one, he wanted to become a job creator and not a job seeker; and two, he did not want to run his father’s fabricating business while doing so. The only thing he was unsure of, was what kind of business he wanted to run, or how to go about it.
He was only eighteen when he spotted a BYST advertisement in a Pune-based newspaper. Though still in school, he was so motivated by his dream of becoming an entrepreneur that he got in touch with BYST. That was 2007. Starting then, he attended every single BYST workshop even through his college and continues to do so till date. He feels every single time he attends a workshop, he gets to learn something new which helps his business knowhow.
Post college, he started working with a radiator manufacturing factory where he took up welding. It was while working here, that he realized he liked this area of work. So, when the factory owner decided to close the business down, Swapnil approached BYST to help him start his own manufacturing unit. BYST connected him to his mentor, Mr. Subhash Shejwal, who is also an engineer by degree, and an established serial entrepreneur with business interests in several sectors, including manufacture of engineering components and service industry.
Mr. Shejwal helped Swapnil refine his project idea, connected him to many industries who would require radiators, and guided him at each step. Initially, when Swapnil hesitated as he was unsure about withdrawing a loan for a big amount from the bank to start his manufacturing business, it was Mr. Shejwal who encouraged him to stay confident. BYST’s financial partners helped him with all loan-related paperwork and the loan came through in 2016. In 2017, Swapnil started manufacturing radiators. His thirst for knowledge being unquenchable, Swapnil continues to learn from BYST and his mentor, and has included learning about asset and project planning under Mr. Shejwal’s guidance into his future plans.
When Swapnil talks about his mentor, his eyes sparkle. “Without my mentor’s support, it would have been impossible to get a breakthrough in this field as a newcomer. Mr. Sejwal helped me learn how to network, he guided me about proper investments, and taught me how to save effectively. These savings helped me sustain my business during the pandemic,” he says. According to him, while theoretical knowledge is extremely important, it is a different level of advantage having access to a mentor’s guidance on real issues in real time.
Continuous interactions between the two has led Swapnil to develop many processes and innovations in his company.
Sky Power Industries, Swapnil’s venture, manufactures radiators for transformers and rectifiers. Radiators are used for cooling down distribution transformers. While traditionally radiator manufacturers weld the radiator fins from inside the pipe, Sky Power welds the fin from outside the pipe. This innovation cools transformers faster, consumes less power as compared to the conventional radiators and takes less space. The product becomes more cost effective without losing its efficacy. These pipes are also easier to repair since they are outside, making the process simpler, less time consuming and cheaper.
Passing this cost advantage to the customer by delivering the best quality at a lowest cost, Swapnil has created a customer-base in Pune, Mumbai, Goa, Telangana, and Karnataka in the past four years. He now has around 70 customers. Since 2017, his turnover has increased from 35 lakhs to over 1.4 crores. Currently, he manufactures two kinds of radiators and aims to start production of the third type from 2022.
In keeping with the times, he also uses the digital space to his advantage. From searching the internet to identify his clients, to creating a strong web presence with a website and LinkedIn profile, to using WhatsApp and online platforms for promotions, he makes sure he uses the power of digital marketing effectively.
Swapnil knows he has a long way to go. Importantly, the products manufactured by Sky Power Industries contribute to power generation. The market is estimated to grow at the rate of 200% year on year, given the Government of India’s focus on 100% electrification of all villages in India by 2022. Given the lower maintenance costs and lower frequency of breakdowns of their product, Swapnil knows that the government can reduce maintenance costs and expand the electrification coverage within limited resources. The savings in the electricity due to these radiators will also benefit more people due to limited power availability in the country, bridging the urban-rural divide. Not only that, radiators produced by Sky Power contribute to protecting the environment by reducing heat generation, saving power and reducing electricity consumption.
Every manufacturing business creates four indirect jobs through every direct job, and so, Swapnil’s venture today has created 20 direct and 60 indirect jobs. The next step for his business is to introduce gender-equality by hiring more women employees. His humble background also contributes to his prudence in spending. While he doesn’t cut corners, he does try to maximize the potential of every penny earned and spent in the business. This has helped him scale up his business from a turnover of INR 3.6 million in 2017 to INR 14 million in 2021.
Today Swapnil is turning all his dreams into reality one by one. He bought himself a car, ploughed some profits back to his business, built an industrial shed on the land where his father had set up his fabricating unit. Being self-employed has enhanced his family’s stature and standing in the society. Finally, the family is out of their miseries, living a comfortable life and extremely proud of the toil and hard work Swapnil put in to build a successful business.
“Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out,” once said the famous basketball coach, John Wooden. Ragu C, an entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu, India stands testimony to this quote with the way he has led his life. It has not been an easy journey, especially for someone like Ragu who comes from the Scheduled Tribe community, one of the most backward tribal communities in the country. The social background alone created many hindrances for him, added to the fact that his family was never financially well-off. However, with sheer grit and determination, Ragu has been able to turn the tables in life.
Even as a child, he was quite aware of the impact of the socio-economic condition of his family. For his tribal family that practices agriculture, money was scarce. He was also always concerned about his community and their status in the society. Ragu has two siblings and is the only earning member in the family. Once he completed his secondary education, he invested his life into becoming financially independent. Bringing his family out of the misery he grew up in and turning his dreams into reality motivated him to become the first person in the family to move into entrepreneurship.
Ragu started his career in 1992 as a lorry cleaner. In 2001, he joined a small manufacturing company called ‘Ganesh Cement Pipes Private Limited’ as a loader. It was here that he started learning about nitty-gritty of the ‘business of cement manufacturing’. While working as a loader, Ragu established contact with a Karur-based firm and started marketing their cement pipes in Chennai. Thus began his journey towards achieving his goals.
In 2009, Ragu incorporated his firm “Everest Cement Pipes” with an initial investment of INR 20,000. Though he was armed with a few sub-contract orders from the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, he failed to obtain a business loan from any banks. The struggle continued for three long years and finally in 2012 a newly established IOB bank close to his business unit lent him INR 24,000 which he successfully repaid. When Ragu approached them for a second term loan in 2013, the bank suggested he seek assistance from BYST. From BYST Ragu learnt how to maintain all his records properly. Working with him for nearly a year, BYST successfully assisted him to take out a loan of INR 16 lakhs from Indian Overseas Bank, Mudichoor in 2014.
Ragu’s mentor Mr. Victor Joseph has been a pillar of support for Ragu right from the beginning. He especially helped him out during the period when the number of business orders Ragu was getting had become difficult for him to handle. His supply chain could not meet the demands of his customers. On Mr. Joseph’s advice, Ragu agreed to experiment with innovation and wanted to invest in mechanising the production process. His research revealed that all units in the market, like Ragu’s, were daily churning out 1000 Cable Turfs manually. He realised that inputs from his local market was not going to be enough for the scale of supply he was seeking. Ragu planned to scale up his production of turfs from 1000 to 30,000 per day. To do this, he travelled to Coimbatore and visited Akshaya Industries, a prominent machinery manufacturer, spent fifty 50 days with their technical team and accomplished in customising a “Cement Turf Manufacturing Machine” that would serve his needs.
Today, ECP is a certified company, and a leading manufacturer and supplier of a broad range of RCC products. They deliver customised designs based on specific customer requirements. With years of experience behind them in manufacturing RCC concrete products, their focus is now on evolving as a quality-centric company and beat their competition. ECP’s current product range includes RCC poles, RCC Tiles, RCC Drain Cover, RCC Tree Guard, RCC Drainage Pipes, RCC Hume Pipes, Cement Pipes, RCC Concrete Pipes, Septic Tank and more. Each product is carefully monitored and goes through a thorough quality control check, to fulfil the requirements of current market specifications. He gets most of his orders from TNEB as a subcontractor.
But Ragu also has quite a varied customer base, coming from different industries. These include reputed companies like KSA Power Infra, Sterling and Wilson, Lotus Wireless Technology VJN Builders, EK Infra, TJR, PMR Constructions, Marutham Apartments, Amar Prakash Builders, Naveen Construction, Swan Electricals, and more. Today, he even handles international companies based in Korea, like K&K and Kotak Infra.
Combining innovative ideas and perseverance, Ragu has become a successful businessman now. In the last financial year (2020-21) alone, Ragu’s business had a turnover of INR 3.25 crores. His business unit functions in a 90,000 square feet space in Perungalathur, near Chennai. The company owns four commercial vehicles and two four wheelers for logistical purposes.
Currently, he needs funds to further expand his business and progress to the next level where he wants to create jobs for at least 150 young people in his company and aims to cross a turnover of INR 50 crores. He is now a well-known player in the market with an ever-increasing order volume. Since his repayment record is well-maintained, he is now gearing up to take out a third loan with BYST’s support.
The pandemic has been a difficult time for businesses, and it has been difficult for Ragu to get payments on time from his vendors. However, Ragu did not let his workers suffer. He was able to get the 10% Corona fund out of the C.C amount of INR 25 lakhs from Indian bank. With this amount, he effectively paid out salaries and managed other business expenses. He has a very strong sense of duty.
This pushed him to contribute to government-led initiatives and he donated INR 5000 each to the ‘PM Relief Fund’ and ‘CM Relief Fund.’ He considers giving back to the community as one of his primary responsibilities. His tribal background plays a huge role in the way Ragu thinks and acts. He feels a huge responsibility to ensure proper livelihoods for his community. Therefore, from his profits, Ragu donates to the school for deaf & mute on an annual basis. He has also built a community hall and eight toilets for his community members. These are especially to be utilized for educational activities of children of scheduled tribe in the locality. He also plans to help children from his community pursue higher education.
Looking back at his life, Ragu sees how far he has come from owning just a bicycle when he started his career, to owning an Innova and riding a Royal Enfield today. Recently, Ragu also built a house worth INR 67 lakhs for his family. With BYST’s support and his own strong will, he rewrote his fate.
Panchamirtham Elumalai’s story is one worth telling to every little girl wondering about their future in this world marked with so many gender discrepancies. It is one that speaks of fighting the odds, standing on one’s own feet, and chasing the dream till it becomes a reality. She comes from an agricultural family residing in rural Madhurandhagam in Chengalpattu district. As a young girl, Panchamirtham’s only aim was to be able to complete her education. For her, this meant undertaking a long and risky 7 km journey on foot to attend school every day.
Through sheer grit and determination, she managed to complete her secondary education, but soon after was married off to a relative, Mr. Elumalai. Post marriage, the couple moved to Chennai where the husband was working in a company that designed tools & dies. The newly married Panchamirtham did not want marriage to stop her from realizing her true potential. For 16 years, she had been nurturing the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. When she learnt that Mr. Elumalai had 16 years of experience in the field of tools and dies, she jumped at the idea and immediately set out to make her dream come true with the help of his experience.
In 2005, Panchamirtham started her business with an investment of Rs. 50,000. Her first unit “Indo Tools & Dies” was established in Kolathur. She took up a 100 sq ft space on rent. In 2007, she expanded her business unit by taking up a 300 sq ft space for rent in the same area. She now had 12 women employees. In 2012, the company was established as a private limited entity under the name of M/s Indo Tools & Dies Pvt. Ltd. They manufacture the tools and dies required by the industrial sector for electrical & electronic components. A well-known manufacturer and supplier of die moulds etc., they ensure delivering best quality products and service.
While building her business, Panchamirtham felt the need to expand her unit and took out a loan from a local finance company at 5% of interest. The high interest hindered the growth of her business. But this amazing and talented young entrepreneur was already dealing with the Indo Japan Company, supplying high quality tools and dies. When Indo Japan company demanded more goods, Panchamirtham felt an immediate need to rectify the situation at hand. But she did not which direction to take and needed able guidance.
This is when BYST intervened and helped her stabilize her company, while helping it grow as well. The support came not just in form of funds, but also a mentorship that solidified the foundation for her business to flourish. Panchamirtham’s mentor Mr Kunjidhapatham, was a former electrical engineer, and one of the senior mentors of BYST Chennai cluster. He mentored Panchamirtham from the initial stages of her business and continues to stay by her side to witness the growth of the unit into a Private Limited company and beyond. He has been guiding her with regard to sales & marketing tactics, as well as helping her with references in the field of Panchamirtham’s tools & dies. He is also a great source of motivation to Panchamirtham, who is not only a leading women entrepreneur in the field of tools & dies but also envisions to diversify into commercial laundry business in the near future, to keep the funds flowing.
Today, they have dedicated personnel and specified processes for each activity from the quality control department, accounts division, stocks management and production in-charge. For Panchamirtham, her business success is dependent on quality control, and is given utmost importance.
A confident Panchamirtham now plans to expand the range of products, look for worldwide import-export opportunities, and to have a turnover of Rs. 7 crores in 2021-2022.
All her employees are local people residing within 5 km of radius of the business unit. As a woman entrepreneur herself, Ms. Elumalai focuses on hiring women employees. They form majority of her workforce. Emphatic about the employees’ needs, the company motivates them by offering incentives on target achievement.
An unfortunate accident at the business unit that caused her husband to injure nine fingers, drove Panchamirtham to ensure maximum workplace safety. She continues to motivate her team to work better by make sure that they are safe and protected. This also increases their productivity.
Though many businesses suffered from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Elumalai continued to be productive. She kept delivering her usual orders, albeit in a slower pace. But work did not stop.
Right before the lockdown induced by COVID-19 was announced, Panchamirtham had moved her business unit to Tiruvallur from Kolathur. After working out of a rented unit from 2005 to 2020, this newly constructed unit was established in a space purchased and owned by her.
Panchamirtham firmly believes that one’s dreams to flourish cannot be hindered by marriage. She also wanted to prove that married women can achieve whatever they want and become financially independent. Through her journey with BYST, she has not just proven herself as an unstoppable force of nature, but also the fact that any obstacle can be overcome with faith in oneself.
Kiran Bala Choudhry comes from Ganjam, Odisha. She was born to a well-established family and lived with her parents and younger brother. Her father was a government official, giving them a lifestyle of comfort and happiness. Unfortunately, the happiness was too short-lived for the girl. At the age of nine, Kiran lost her father and the entire responsibility of raising two very young children fell on her mother, now a single parent. To say it was an uphill task would be an understatement.
Nine-year-old Kiran became her mother’s ally in raising her younger brother, as it pans out in our country. Though she was always very ambitious and interested in her studies, her brother, being the only male member in the family now, came first. After she cleared her higher secondary examinations, she was informed that only one of the two siblings could attend college. And so, Kiran sacrificed her college education for her brother.
Not just that, as soon as Kiran turned eighteen, her mother forced her into getting married as well. For Kiran, this meant an end for all her dreams and ambitions. But she did not quite give up yet. Her husband was a small businessman and with him, she moved to Bhubaneswar and bore two children. Despite the pressures of domestic life, she kept trying to complete her graduation. But her in-laws were too conservative to let her go through with her plan.
Sensing her dejection, her husband extended a supportive arm. He encouraged her to join him in running his small eatery together. Kiran was happy to utilise her time doing something fruitful and accepted the proposal, gaining valuable experience, and developing management skills in the process. Her dreams were making their way back to her, again.
Things took an interesting turn in 2020 when with the onset of the pandemic, her husband’s business collapsed, and it became very difficult for him to manage household expenses. Kiran saw matters spiralling downwards and realised this was her chance to do something. After much discussion and brainstorming, she decided to start a new venture of her own – a facility to manufacture and process snacks.
Not one to waste time, Kiran started knocking on the doors of several banks to avail funds but was unsuccessful. Though she already had some pending working capital at Bank of India, banks were hesitant to give her a loan. They would ask for collaterals and other paperwork which Kiran found difficult to provide. During this process of facing rejection after rejection, one of her friends suddenly informed her about the BYST-FCDO Youth Entrepreneurship Program. BYST provided her with a two-day EDP training programme, post which her loan of Rs. 23 lakhs was processed from the State Bank of India. She used the funds to purchase the pieces of machinery and raw material.
BYST also assigned a mentor to Kiran. Mr. Rajwardhan Dhoul Mahapatra, Kiran’s mentor, became her friend, philosopher, and guide, monitoring her progress and supporting her with expert advice on the production process, loan repayment, subsidies, market analysis etc. He mentored on several things, from the importance of maintaining the quality of her products to fixing the rates of the eatables. He also helped her to confidently address the questions related to the pricing of her products. Kiran expanded her business under the name of ‘Som Veg’ and came up with a complete packaging solution as well.
Som Veg manufactures a range of snacks like, sew bhaji, ghantia, mixture etc. Kiran focuses on maintaining quality and taste for the eatables she manufactures. Currently, she manufactures three varieties of snacks targeted to customers from different segments. They also run a flour mill aided by the Pulverizer (milling machine) that Kiran purchased. The differentiator for Som Veg snacks is the usage of the besan from her own milling machine. This besan is pure unlike the adulterated version used by other products.
She sells the products from the counter of her hotel. She also supplies to various grocery stores and snacks stores in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. A hardworking entrepreneur, she visited every store personally to get the orders. The attractive packaging she uses also helps appeal to customers. Starting just in April 2021, Kiran is already earning a monthly turnover of INR 3 lakhs today, eyeing a yearly turnover of INR 20 lakhs. Her loan repayments are regular, and her financial records are updated diligently. She is now focused on expanding her business to four districts of Odisha.
While it just seems like the little ambitious girl whose dreams were put on the backburner is finally turning her dreams into reality, the reality is different. Kiran is working so hard, not just to fulfil her own dreams, but also to ensure that many more unfulfilled dreams like hers find a way to materialize. She wants to become a job creator for people from marginal backgrounds, especially women. For her, business expansion means the opportunity to create more employment. She has taken up the taks of motivating many young women around her, especially those living in the nearby slums, working as maids, earning paltry amounts in return of their hard work. Kiran wants to create opportunities for them through her business. Just the way BYST showed faith in her abilities and supported her venture, she wants to be able to discover the potential of women around her.
“Our society treats women as the weaker sex, pushing them into the homemaker role. But I want other women to know that its not true. I am an example of that. Though I struggled a lot, I did become an entrepreneur. There may have been other business opportunities for me, but I chose this one to be able to engage more women employees,” she says.
The hallmark of a progressive society is the way it treats its women, including women entrepreneurs. While a lot has been achieved, instances of patriarchy, discrimination and lack of independence still shackle potential women entrepreneurs in the country.
Kiran’s efforts towards her independence and achievement have inspired many. Limited resources and conventional views can make starting up as a woman in small towns in India a tough task, but Kiran never minded these factors as her obstacles. India is brimming with talented women who can contribute a huge amount of wealth to the country’s economy, and empower others along the way, Kiran is one of them and we are proud to have her as our entrepreneur.
Shri. R. Mukundan
Managing Director & CEO of Tata Chemicals Limited
Mr. R. Mukundan, Managing Director & CEO of Tata Chemicals Limited, joined Tata Administrative Service in 1990, after completion of MBA from FMS, Delhi University. He is an Engineer from IIT, Roorkee and an Alumnus of Havard Business School. During his 29 year career with Tata Group, he has held various responsibilities across the Chemical, Automotive and Hospitality sectors of the Tata Group. He serves on Executive Committees of various industry forums viz. Confederation of Indian Industry, Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Employers’ Federation of India, All India Management Association etc.
The International Labour Organisation is the UN specialized agency which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights. It promotes the development of independent employers' and workers' organizations and provides training and advisory services to those organizations.
BYST was chosen as an effective practice programme by the ILO SEED (Sustainable Employment and Economic Development) programme. Considering that BYST has designed this excellent mentoring model they have also been asked to develop a mentoring tool kit, to compliment the other tools being developed and disseminated. BYST has also written an article on its mentoring model for a publication that is being produced with support from the ILO and International Development Research Centre in Canada.
BYST has partnered with Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI), a public sector financial institution to support entrepreneurs in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi.
The Escorts Group is an Indian engineering company that operates in the sectors of agri-machinery, construction and material handling equipment, and railway equipment.
The company was launched in 1944 and has marketing operations in more than 40 countries.
Late Mr. H P Nanda, one of the founding trustees of BYST and also the Chairman of the Escorts group, cherished a dream of nurturing rural entrepreneurs. This resulted in the formation of BYST in Rural Haryana in 1994. Presently BYST is operational from the Escort’s Rural Development Department. Apart from providing space and other support in kind, Escorts also provides funds for the BYST corpus.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, partnering industry, Government, and civil society, through advisory and consultative processes.
CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, playing a proactive role in India’s development process. Founded in 1895, India’s premier business association has around 9000 members, from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 300,000 enterprises from around 265 national and regional sectoral industry bodies.
CII charts change by working closely with Government on policy issues, interfacing with thought leaders, and enhancing efficiency, competitiveness and business opportunities for industry through a range of specialized services and strategic global linkages. It also provides a platform for consensus-building and networking on key issues.
Extending its agenda beyond business, CII assists industry to identify and execute corporate citizenship programmes. Partnerships with civil society organizations carry forward corporate initiatives for integrated and inclusive development across diverse domains including affirmative action, healthcare, education, livelihood, diversity management, skill development, empowerment of women, and water, to name a few.
As a developmental institution working towards India’s overall growth with a special focus on India@75 in 2022, the CII theme for 2018-19, India RISE : Responsible. Inclusive. Sustainable. Entrepreneurial emphasizes Industry’s role in partnering Government to accelerate India’s growth and development. The focus will be on key enablers such as job creation; skill development; financing growth; promoting next gen manufacturing; sustainability; corporate social responsibility and governance and transparency.
With 65 offices, including 9 Centres of Excellence, in India, and 11 overseas offices in Australia, Bahrain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Singapore, South Africa, UK, and USA, as well as institutional partnerships with 355 counterpart organizations in 126 countries, CII serves as a reference point for Indian industry and the international business community.
Bajaj Group is an Indian conglomerate founded by Jamnalal Bajaj in Mumbai in 1926. Bajaj Group is one of the oldest and largest conglomerates based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The group comprises 37 companies and its flagship company Bajaj Auto is ranked as the world’s fourth largest two- and three-wheeler manufacturer. Some of the notable companies are Bajaj Auto Ltd, Bajaj Finserv Ltd, Hercules Hoists Ltd, Bajaj Electricals, Mukand Ltd, Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd and Bajaj Holding & Investment Ltd. The group has involvement in various industries that include automobiles (2- and 3-wheelers), home appliances, lighting, iron and steel, insurance, travel and finance.
Mr. Rahul Bajaj, Chairman & Managing Director of Bajaj Auto Ltd. and the current chairman of BYST makes sure that the Trust gets adequate funds and mentors for running the entrepreneurship development programme. In Dec.2014 BYST entered into a partnership with Bajaj Auto under their CSR initiative for starting the programme in Aurangabad and Wardha in Maharashtra branded as “Bajaj Auto – BYST Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme”
It was AIG who first made a success story of a collaboration between a bank and an NGO, which reaped rich dividends when it partnered with BYST to launch the Hyderabad programme in 1998.
Dr Pawan Munjal
Chairman and Director-Hero Fin Corp Limited
Dr. Pawan Munjal is one of India's renowned corporate leaders, championing growth,socio-economic progress, and technological innovations. He is the Chairman & CEO of Hero MotoCorp, the world's largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters. With his leadership, Hero MotoCorp achieved the coveted title of World-s No. 1 two-wheeler company in 2001 and has successfully retained this position to date - for 20 consecutive years.
Shri Chandrajit Banerjee
Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
Chandrajit Banerjee is the Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). CII is India’s apex industry organisation, proactively enhancing the competitiveness of Indian industry. Mr Banerjee has been with the CII for 32 years and has served as its Director General since 2008. In this post, he is responsible for the overall operations of CII. Prior to his appointment as Director General, Mr Banerjee held several senior positions in CII in key areas including sectoral verticals of Manufacturing, Services, Agriculture and Life Sciences as well as the SME sector. He has also led CII’s policy work relating to macroeconomic policy, financial services and corporate governance. He was the first Executive Director of the National Foundation of Corporate Governance (NFCG), an organization set up by the Government of India and continues to be Member of its Board of Trustees and Governing Council. He also initiated the Centre of Excellence of the Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA) in Bengaluru, a state-of-the-art centre for training, conventions and trade fairs. He holds / has held Trusteeship and Board Member posts in many institutions: • CII Foundation • India@75 Foundation • Institute of Economic Growth (IEG) • Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA) • Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST) • Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) • World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Agenda Council of India • Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) • Indian Institute of Management (IIM) • Vice Chairman of the Asia Pacific Chapter of UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry. He is a Member of the Managing Committee of SPORTSCOM and Governing Council Member of Healthcare Sector Skill Council (HSSC). He is a Director on the Board at the “Invest India” set up by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. Mr Banerjee is also a Director in the Singapore India Partnership Foundation (SIPF). He is also secretary for bilateral CEOs Forums constituted by the Government of India with Australia, France, Russia, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Japan, Sweden, and South Africa, among others. He has been honoured with the China-India Friendship Award by the Chinese Premier for his contributions towards the development of bilateral ties between India and China. Mr Banerjee has been conferred with the decoration of “Knight Commander” by His Majesty the King of Spain in recognition of his meritorious achievements and exceptional contributions towards promoting relations between India and Spain. Mr Banerjee is a Post-Graduate (MS) in Economics with specialisation in Economics of Planning and Econometrics from the University of Calcutta. Earlier, he did his Graduation from St. Xavier&amp;#039;s College (Calcutta) in Economics (Hons). With 68 offices, including 9 Centres of Excellence, in India, and 11 overseas offices in Australia, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa, UAE, UK, and USA, as well as institutional partnerships with 394 counterpart organizations in 133 countries, CII serves as a reference point for Indian industry and the international business community.
Shri. R Dinesh
Managing Director, TVS Supply Chain Solutions Limited & Joint Managing Director, TV Sundram Iyengar & Sons Private Limited
Mr. R Dinesh, 54, the fourth generation TVS family member has worked his way up the organization ladder - as is the tradition in the family. Dinesh is a Commerce graduate and an Associate Member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India. He is the Managing Director of TVS Supply Chain Solutions Limited and Joint Managing Director of T V Sundram Iyengar & Sons Private Limited. He is also Director for various joint ventures and subsidiaries of these companies. Mr. Dinesh has been elected as the Chairman of the CII National Committee on CII Institute of Logistics Advisory Council and CII National Committee on Shipping and Logistics for 2019-20. He has also been elected for the CII National Council for the year 2019-20. Mr. Dinesh is also the Immediate Past Chairman of CII Southern Region for the year 2018-2019. Mr. Dinesh has won many awards including, ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award for ‘Services’ category by Ernst & Young in 2017. He is also the recipient of TiECON’s ‘Next Gen Entrepreneur of the year 2014’ award and ‘Emerging Entrepreneur’ award by CII in 2010. Mr. Dinesh, often referred as ‘game changer’ within the fraternity, started TVS Supply Chain Solutions Limited (TVS SCS – previously TVS Logistics Services Limited – TVS LSL) in 2004. Since then under his able leadership the company has grown multifold to become a billion-dollar company in 2018. TVS SCS is the first company to get private equity funding within the group. TVS SCS has presence across the globe making it a truly global company and serving customers in over 50 countries. TVS SCS employs around 19,000 strong work force in India. Its UK arm also provides over 2500 jobs in the UK. Currently, the companies under his management have a turnover of around USD 2 Billion and employ more than 25,000 people. Mr. Dinesh has been instrumental in expanding his companies’ operations globally and has set up subsidiaries in Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Thailand, Bangladesh, United States of America, South Africa, Singapore, China and Australia. TVS & Sons Private Limited is the parent company of the TVS Group. The total turnover of the Group is USD 8.5 Billion and the group employs more than 60,000 people. The Group operates in diverse fields ranging from two-wheeler and automotive component manufacturing to automotive dealerships, Logistics, finance & electronics and is the leading Automobile Distributor in India.
J.K. Paper Ltd
In July 2017, BYST joined hands with JK Paper Limited and commenced “BYST-JK Paper Youth Entrepreneurship Programme” in Odisha (Rayagada).
Shri. Vipin Sondhi
Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer Ashok Leyland Limited
Vipin Sondhi is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ashok Leyland, one of the largest Commercial Vehicles, Trucks and Bus manufacturers in the World. Founded in 1948, it is the second largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in India, the fourth largest manufacturer of buses in the world and 10th largest manufacturer of trucks globally. The company’s vision is to be amongst the Top 10 Commercial Vehicle manufacturers globally. He has over three decades of experience in Manufacturing and Engineering based companies such as JCB, Honda, Tata Steel and Tecumseh. Prior to Ashok Leyland, he was heading JCB lndia, where he spent over 13 years, and was a member of JCB's global executive team. He led the $1.7 billion business with five manufacturing plants in three locations during which time JCB established market leadership in the Construction Equipment Industry. JCB’s Made-in-India products were also exported to over 100 countries cumulatively during his time. Vipin has a strong and proven track record as a leader and is a passionate hands-on professional An alumnus of The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, The Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi he did his schooling at The Lawrence School, Sanawar; an institution where he learnt to “Never Give In”. By continually expanding the boundaries in both, academics and extra-curricular activities, The Lawrence School laid the foundation for holistic development. It helped him significantly in pushing boundaries and “Never Giving In” all through his career in the Manufacturing Industry as well. He was appointed by the Government of India as the Chairperson, Board of Governors, of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Bhopal in December 2015. An elected member of the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) National Council, he has been the Chairman of Excon, South Asia’s largest exhibition for Construction Equipment from 2006 to 2019. He was also conferred with an Honorary Fellowship by the Centre for Excellence in Project Management (CEPM) in December 2017. He has been awarded The CEO of the Year Award at CEO India Awards in 2014; the Udyog Rattan Award by the Institute of Economic Studies in 2011 and the Young Manager’s Trophy by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in the year 2000. An avid golfer, he lives in Delhi with his wife and daughter.
Shri. Gaurav Dalmia
Chairman, Dalmia Group Holdings
Gaurav Dalmia is a member of a leading industrial family in India, with substantial business interests mostly in India, UK and USA. The Dalmia Group has interests in cement, industrial ceramics, chemicals, real estate, information technology, investments, engineering and trading. Mr Dalmia is a prominent private equity investor through his investment vehicle First Capital. He has been involved in investments in more than fifty companies, mostly in India, some in the US, covering most industries like technology, entertainment, engineering, infrastructure, speciality chemicals, agro-products, apparel and consumer products. Mr Dalmia co-founded Infinity, a leading Indian technology venture capital firm. He is an early investor in and a member of the Investment Committee of GW Capital India, a general Indian private equity fund started by Gary Wendt, former CEO of GE Capital. He is the founder and Chairman of Landmark Holdings. Mr. Dalmia sits on the Boards of various companies and investment vehicles in India, Europe and the US. He was selected by the World Economic Forum as a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” for the year 2000. He has a B.S in Computer Science from Salford University in the UK (Ranked 1 in 200) and an MBA from Columbia Business School (top 5% of class).
Shri. Nimesh Kampani
Chairman, JM Financial Group
Mr. Nimesh N Kampani is the founder and chairman of JM Financial Group, one of India’s leading players in the financial services space. The Group is engaged in businesses covering investment banking, institutional equity sales, trading, research and broking, wealth management, equity broking, portfolio management, asset management, commodity broking, fixed income broking, non-banking financial services, private equity and asset reconstruction. In his career spanning over four decades, Mr. Nimesh Kampani has made pioneering contributions to the development of the Indian capital markets and has advised several corporates on their strategic and financial needs, especially, capital raising and mergers acquisitions, investors on the focus areas for investing, and Regulators and Law Makers on progressive regulations for development of financial markets and corporate activities. Mr. Kampani has served as a member on several important committees constituted by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Reserve Bank of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Bombay Stock Exchange Limited, National Stock Exchange Limited, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He was a member of the High Powered Expert Committee constituted by the Ministry of Finance on making Mumbai an International Finance Centre and also a member of the Advisory Panel on Financial Regulation and Supervision constituted by RBI Committee on Financial Sector Assessment. He was a member of the Bloomberg Asia Pacific Advisory Board and also a member of the Governing Board of Centre for Policy Research. Mr. Kampani is currently the Chairman of the CII Financial Sector Development Council. He is also a member of the India Advisory Board of Bain Company and the Advisory Board of Venture Studio promoted by Ahmedabad University. Mr. Kampani serves as an Independent Director on the Board of Directors of several leading Indian companies such as Apollo Tyres Limited, Britannia Industries Limited and Deepak Nitrite Limited. Mr. Kampani is a commerce graduate from Sydenham College, Mumbai and a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
Shri. Harshpati Singhania
Vice Chairman and Managing Director, JK Paper Limited
Mr. Harshpati Singhania, a fourth-generation industrialist belongs to one of India's largest industrial groups - JK Organisation. The Groups business includes manufacturing of Paper & Boards, Cement, Automobile Tyres, V-Belts, Oil Seals, Hybrid Seeds, Sugar, Dairy products, Textiles and operations in Clinical Research, Insurance Brokerage, Health Care, Education, etc. with a turnover of around USD 3.6 billion. A Commerce Graduate from Calcutta University, he did his MBA from University of Massachusetts, USA, followed by OPM Programme from Harvard Business School, USA. Past President of India's apex Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI- 2009), he has been President (the youngest ever) of Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (1994-2001), Chairman of Young Presidents Organisation-Delhi, and served as a Member of the Board of Indo-British Partnership, Co-Chairman of Indo-Korea Joint Business Council (2004) and Indo-UAE Joint Business Council (2005), Member of National Integration Council (2009), Senior Vice President of PHD Chamber of Commerce of India (2007). Currently Chairman for Development Council for Pulp & Paper Industry (Govt. of India) (2001-02; 201011), and Vice President of International Chamber of Commerce (India), Mr. Singhania is serving as a Member on the Executive/Managing Committees of FICCI, ICC (India), Indian Paper Manufacturers Association, UK-India Business Leaders Climate Group, Indo-French CEO Forum, Indian Government Industry Task Force, Central Pulp & Paper Research Institute, Board of Governors of International Management Institute, JK Lakhsmipat University, Regional Council of International Baccalaureate and Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute for Liver, Renal & Digestive Diseases (PSRI). Widely travelled, Mr. Singhania is an avid reader, golfer and an auto aficionado. He is married and has three sons.
Shri. Saurabh Srivastava
Director and Co-Founder, Indian Angel Network
Known as one of the leading architects of the Indian IT Industry, Saurabh Srivastava is widely acknowledged, both nationally and globally, as one of India’s leading entrepreneurs and institution builders. He pioneered the creation of a vibrant entrepreneurial eco system in India. In March,2017 our Honourable PM Shri Narendra Modi presented him an Award for his exemplary contribution to the Indian IT Industry. He was also honoured with the Padma Shri in January 2018 by the GOI. He co-founded and chaired key institutions of modern India which focussed on entrepreneurship: NASSCOM; Indian Venture Capital Association; TiE New Delhi NCR (also served 5 years on the Global Board); Indian Angel Network (now arguably the world’s largest investor group with 100 portfolio companies, 400 investor members globally and 7 chapters). At the UK Government’s invitation IAN’s chapter was launched in London at 10 Downing Street by PM David Cameron, with 4 cabinet Ministers present After working for IBM and Tata Unisys in the US and India, Saurabh became a highly successful serial entrepreneur, founding several successful IT companies. One was ranked amongst the top 20 Indian software companies and, post-merger, listed as Xansa on the London Stock Exchange with revenues of approx. US $ 800 mill till it was acquired by Steria. Saurabh now Chairs Steria in India. He is a doyen of entrepreneurship and angel/VC investments. He has been involved in investing in around 100 start-ups and has personally mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs. He founded and chaired India’s first private sector VC Fund- Infinity, which created companies like India Bulls, India Games and Avendus. He was adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at IIT Bombay, on the board of Incubation Cell of IIT Delhi and is on the board of the Entrepreneurship/ Innovation Cell at IIT Kanpur. At the forefront of public service, constantly striving to help create a positive environment for start-ups and entrepreneurship in India, he has served on virtually every Committee set up by the Government to look at different aspects of start-ups and entrepreneurship in India : The National Innovation Council, SEBI Committee on Alternative Investment Funds, Investment Committee of the Government’s India Aspiration Fund of Funds Committee to Examine the Financial Structure of the MSME Sector, Bombay Stock Exchange Hi-Tech Advisory Panel ,Telecom Centre of Excellence and the National Expert Advisory Committee on Innovation, Incubation and Technology Entrepreneurship. He is on the board of CSIR Tech Ltd (set up by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to commercialise its technologies) and Media lab Asia (Deity). He Chaired the Software and Electronics Promotion Council, was on the Railway Expert Committee, etc. He is a co-founder of Ashoka University and serves/has served on the Advisory Boards of Imperial College Business School, London and Uttarakhand and Himachal Universities in India. He has a Master’s degree from Harvard University and a B.Tech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur. Other Awards include “Distinguished Alumnus Award” from IIT, the Data Quest (Indian IT Industry’s Oscars) Lifetime Achievement Award, an Honorary Doctorate in Technology from the University of Wolverhampton, UK, and Awards from TiE, LMA and other organizations.
Ms. Lakshmi V Venkatesan
Founding and Managing Trustee, BYST
Lakshmi Venkataraman Venkatesan returned to India in the late 1980s, after nearly two decades of a successful career in high-tech. An alma mater of Delhi University holding a double masters in Physics and Engineering Science from New York University, she started her professional career with the prestigious AT&T- Bell Laboratories, USA. Early seeds of her philanthropic journey were sown, as she treaded on an unchartered visionary path, to develop a program on entrepreneurship. Aware and respectful of her privileged background as the daughter of the former President of India, Ms. Venkatesan co-founded Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST) with the stalwart of industry, late J.R.D. Tata and with the support of HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales in 1992. BYST works to support young aspiring entrepreneurs and nurture the entrepreneurial dreams of the underserved youth at India’s grassroots. Over the past 27 years, many of these “bottom of the pyramid” entrepreneurs have become millionaires, winning national and international awards. Partnering together with Youth Business International (YBI), Ms. Venkatesan has also lend her advisory support to establish similar programs around the world and has successfully replicated the BYST model in over 48 countries, such as, Brazil, Argentina, Africa, Uganda, Kenya and neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Nepal Indonesia, Philippines. She currently serves on numerous task forces and boards: Leading member of the Youth Business International (YBI), UK ; Member of various National Level Task Forces of the Government of India ; Member of the CII led committees: Foundation Steering Committee of Woman Exemplar Program 2017, Northern Region CSR Regional Committee, North East Council; Charter member of Council on Affirmative Action and the Indus Entrepreneurs – Delhi; Trustee in Guild of Service, Delhi.
Shri. C K Birla
Chairman, CK Birla Group
MR. C.K.Birla is the chairman of the CK Birla Group, a conglomerate operating in nearly every industry possible, be it home and building products, automotive and technology, or healthcare and education. The Group has strategic alliances with some of the world’s leading companies like Caterpillar, Ford and Daimler. Not only is he the chairman of various other companies like AVTEC, HIL, National Engineering Industries, Neosym, Orient Cement and Orient Paper Industries, he is also associated with various national and international institutions. His roles comprise that of the Member of the Commonwealth Business Council; Chairman of the board of governors of the Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi; Chairman of the board of governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur and Member of the board of governors of The Calcutta Medical Research Institute. Other Group companies and organisations include Birlasoft, GMMCO, Orient Electric, the Birla Institute of Technology, the BM Birla Heart Research Centre, the Calcutta Medical Research Institute, Modern High School for Girls, and the Rukmani Birla Modern High School.
Shri. Subodh Bhargava
Chairman BYST and Former Chairman, Tata Communications
Mr. Subodh Bhargava holds a Degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT, Roorkee. He started his career with Balmer Lawrie &amp;amp; Co., Kolkata before joining the Eicher group of companies in Delhi in 1975. On March 31, 2000, he retired as the Group Chairman and Chief Executive and is now the Chairman Emeritus, Eicher group. He is the past President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Association of Indian Automobile Manufacturers; and the Vice President of the Tractor Manufacturers Association. Over several years, he has taken up a various roles like that of the key spokesperson for the Indian industry, wherein he contributed to and influenced government policies, which were responsible for development and change in the new evolving environment. He was also a member of the Insurance Tariff Advisory Committee, the Economic Development Board of the Government of Rajasthan and the chairman of the National Accreditation Board for Certifying Bodies (NABCB) under the aegis of the Quality Council of India (QCI). Mr. Bhargava has been closely associated with technical and management education in India. He was the Chairman of the Board of Apprenticeship Training and Member of the Board of Governors of IIT Roorkee ,The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi; Indian Institute of Management, Indore ; Indian Institute of Management , Lucknow; and the Entrepreneurship Development InstituteofIndia,Ahmedabad. Mr. Subodh Bhargava is a trustee on various government/ semi government and charitable organizations and is also on the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management, Kashipur, and other Engineering Institutions and also for many Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree programmes in Business Management. He has been conferred with the Distinguished Alumnus Award by Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee and by Agra University. Mr. Subodh Bhargava is on the Board of Directors for the following Companies: Batliboi Limited., Larsen &amp;amp; Toubro Limited., SunBorne Energy Holdings LLC., Nicco Parks &amp;amp; Resorts Limited., International Institute of CSR Foundation. and Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi. Mr. Bhargava is also a Chairman/member of the Committee of Directors in the Nomination and Remuneration Committee at Larsen &amp;amp; Toubro, and is a distinguished member of the Committee of Directors in the Audit Committee &amp;amp; Nomination and Remuneration Committee at Batliboi Ltd.
BYST’s objective is to empower disadvantaged youth through entrepreneurship. It nurtures the entrepreneurial dreams of the youth and provides them financial assistance and mentoring support. This is implemented by creating awareness on entrepreneurship as an option and enthusing the youth to explore this option by letting them know of the eco-systems available to them through various tools of reaching out to them. Awareness generation is conducted using various tools such as media publicity, presentations at various forums, sharing of case studies and display of posters at vantage points that will be frequented.
Keeping in line with its objective of promoting an entrepreneurial culture among youth, BYST aims at encouraging youth and addressing them through various tools of awareness generation to ignite the spirit of entrepreneurship among the youth and to help them think in terms of livelihood options that are alternative to the conventional livelihood opportunities. Such tools help the youth to explore and express new business ideas which are creative and viable and that could be converted into successful dynamic micro-enterprises.
Role Models Among Us- When the Common Man takes charge
COVID-19 has become the cause of all kinds of difficulties that people and governments are facing all over the world. Almost every country is under full or partial lockdown and businesses and economies have collapsed. In a situation like this, there are some brave people who are coming forward and doing their bit to fight against the virus, while following all the rules of lockdown. Abhijeet Bhamkar from Wardha, Maharashtra is one such young entrepreneur. Abhijeet is the Director of Udayan Signature Private Ltd, a garment manufacturing company that started in 2019 and was about to complete its first anniversary when COVID-19 started spreading. Abhijeet had to close production as per the government's orders. Being the Director, Abhijeet shouldered a lot of responsibilities and have suffered a lot due to the closure of the factory. At such a critical point he noticed that there are still people, essential workers and others, in his locality who have to work in the lockdown. These are personnel from Police, Health care industry, and the Municipal Council who are risking their lives to save others and he found out that they are lacking basic necessities like face masks. Abhijeet planned to make cotton face masks and make them available in the market for the masses to protect themselves. He started making breathable face masks made of cotton, with a high elastic ear loop that would help in providing complete protection to the user. At present his company has already supplied around 50000 masks in the market with plans to double that number soon. Abhijeet also provided 4000 masks to the police. To prevent any reselling or increment in the MRP, each finished product has its own bar code which ensures that the article is sold at the correct price. Abhijeet made sure that all the employees in the company follow correct measures to maintain safety. Washing hands, wearing gloves and masks always, and maintaining social distancing were just a few rules that he and his employees strictly abided by. With the help and encouragement from BYST and his mentor, Abhijeet made it possible for his employees to be comfortable at a time so economically straining. Giving them work, salaries on time and the purpose of fighting against a worldwide crisis, Abhijeet’s story proves that real role models are those who don't back down from any challenge and lead by example.
Tales of Sustainability -- How a small-time tailor from Aurangabad increased his turnover 15 times in 4 years!
Rohidas Barsawne was a small-time tailor when he started his business of manufacturing uniforms, for companies, hospitals and schools, in 2015. He borrowed Rs 20,000 from friends and relatives to purchase sewing machineries and hire staff for his new enterprise Tej Garments and Uniforms. At that time, he had just one tailor in his existing unit and a turnover of less than Rs. 1 lakh! Five years later, Rohidas has a turnover of more than Rs 15 lakhs per annum, employs more than 14 professionals and has diversified into making doctors’ caps, face masks and related products. The transformation is a tribute to Rohidas’ tenacity and an archetypical example of what mentoring and access to finance can do to lives of small entrepreneurs. And this is what happened. Around the time he started off in 2015-16, he heard about Bajaj Auto – Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust Mentoring programme from a friend and decided to seek support for mentoring and augmenting his initial financial capital. In September 2016, with BA-BYST help, he received a loan of Rs 2.63 lacs from Bank of Baroda’s CIDCO branch for the purchase of machineries. On the product side, what helped him was his knowledge of the specifications required in production of face masks and other PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) equipment, owing to his association with doctors and hospitals. Hence, he has been able to deliver a massive quantity of these products for these customers, at a time when the demand is at its peak. His knowledge, and keen sense of business strategy got him orders for over 10,000 masks and PPE kits from various clients, including hospitals, social workers, local politicians, local medicals institutions etc. This helped his business stay afloat and helped him pay wages to his employees during this period of great economic uncertainty -- and at a time when numerous businesses are shutting down. To his credit, he has also been able to generate some temporary work-from-home employment for almost 30 local ladies. Add another 10 in-house workers and here you have a person who has managed to not only stay on course but also contribute to social well-being. While Rohidas Barsawne’s story – from numerous such stories coming out of BYST stables -- is the silver lining amidst this pandemic, all is not hunky-dory. He is working with his mentor and other stakeholders to stave off the impending trouble, in the form of raw material shortages, that has the potential to derail his business. The lock down situation, he recognizes, is not ending soon and his raw material stocks of cloth and elastic, initially planned for 21-days, are plummeting. He is not sure how many days he can sustain the production cycle and supply to his customers, without being able to replenish his stocks. With his order books full, the main challenge that he is working on right now, with his mentor Mr Milind Patil, is how to ensure supply of raw material from his vendors, who are not able to function due to the lockdown. He hopes for some positive decisions from the government and local authorities that would help him sustain his production cycle and take his business to newer heights. Conclusion: This situation has given Mr. Rohidas an opportunity to increase his turnover but the shortage in raw material consequences has pulled him back from achieving so.
Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust joins Youth Business International's Rapid Response Programme, funded by Google.org, to support struggling small businesses during the Covid-19 crisis
The programme, led by Youth Business International (YBI) and funded by Google.org, will support underserved micro, small and medium businesses to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. New Delhi: The global economy is suffering from an unprecedented shock as a result of COVID-19. With typically tight margins, micro, small and medium businesses are vulnerable to economic downturn. The current pandemic is having a particularly serious impact on business owners and entrepreneurs from underserved communities, including young people (aged 18-35 years), women, and refugees and other migrants. Many are struggling to get through the crisis and need support now. “I run Biotechnology company (Life Science company) named as BioEra Life Sciences Pvt Ltd, that manufactures sophisticated lab equipment. We also research activities related to Life Science, and we are researching on solutions to deal with COVID19. Cash flow of most of the organisations has come to a halt and has left many entrepreneurs mentally disturbed with an increasing fear of uncertainty in mind. With most of the businesses going online, digitisation is going to play a major role in future. If business today had good digital solutions to run their business, the impact could have been less severe. In a nutshell, the need of the hour is replacing social distancing with social networking. The Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) would definitely benefit by making an online presence of their businesses and any such initiative by the govt. or any other agency to uplift the SME’s his highly appreciated.”- said BYST Grampreneur™ Siddharth Salunke from Pune, Maharashtra. The program will include the SMEs that are the backbone of the Indian economy and help in generating further employment. Due to the current lockdown, business and financial cycle of entrepreneurs has come to a standstill, especially the ones that are into manufacturing. Due to low liquidity, the entrepreneurs are unable to pay the salary & wages to their workers. However, such businesses will simply not be able to survive if not rescued - on priority - to pull them out of the current disruption. Globally, financial packages have already been announced by nations in a bid to restore their economies amid the COVID-19 pandemic looming large, across economies. There are several opportunities at a local, regional and global level for Googlers to engage and support SMEs, its members and network. They will be contributing in various ways like Digitalization of advisory and delivery services, coaching MSMEs: through a series of webinars or personalised online coaching to enable remote working for those in quarantine or social isolation; coaching members and YBI members to adapt emergency response support or helpline advisory mechanism. Lakshmi Venkataraman Venkatesan, Founding and Managing Trustee, Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust said, “The outbreak of COVID-19 has deeply affected BYST entrepreneurs and their local communities particularly in India’s rural hinterlands. Given underlying challenges like poor digital connectivity, BYST has been pushing hard to reach out to and mentor over 3500 young entrepreneurs with another 3000 in the pipeline. We are truly thankful to Google.org and Youth Business International for their timely support in helping us establish a helpline and in capacity building our mentors, thereby expanding our reach ten-fold.” The global programme is led by YBI, an experienced network of enterprise support organisations. It will support over 200,000 small and medium business owners across 32 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific to respond to and recover from the impact of COVID-19. Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust has been part of the YBI network since its inception. Anita Tiessen, CEO of Youth Business International, said: “The world is changing dramatically from day to day and I feel deeply for business owners everywhere, especially those running smaller businesses and are from underserved communities, who are often least able to bear the economic shocks of this crisis. In the face of these challenges, I have been incredibly inspired by the quick response of our network to support business owners around the world. YBI, with Google.org’s new funding commitment, will help us sustain and extend this support throughout 2020, ensuring more than 200,000 businesses can get the advice they need right now to navigate this crisis.” Rowan Barnett, Head of Google.org, EMEA & APAC, said: “The coronavirus outbreak is taking a devastating toll on lives and communities, and small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges as they struggle to stay afloat. With this grant to Youth Business International, alongside a series of Google initiatives and products, we hope to help some of the most vulnerable small businesses find a way through the crisis.” For interview requests/ media queries: Write to [email protected] Notes to editors Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST) Inspired by HRH, The Prince of Wales, and founded in 1992, Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust is the first organisation to replicate the Prince’s Trust’s youth entrepreneurship support model globally outside U.K. The programmes include supporting underprivileged young entrepreneurs by supplementing financing based on the requirement assessment done by the mentor selectors, INR 5 lakhs being the present average and with an upper limit of INR 100 lakhs, they are also supported with a host of business related activities such as training, business plan development, monitoring, mentoring and networking. The young entrepreneurs are nurtured till they reach a level where not only are they self-sufficient, but they in turn make a valuable contribution to society through creation of wealth and employment. Celebrating its 28 years of service to the nation and the youths of India, till date, BYST has supported its entrepreneurs with a total funding of about INR 316 crores through them 10% of BYST supported entrepreneurs have become millionaires. BYST through outreach and counselling initiatives has reached out to 6,64,816 youths. Over 6189 mentors have been trained and inducted and accredited by City and Guild, the UK’S largest vocational awarding body. Many of BYST’s entrepreneurs have gone ahead to win National and International awards and emerging as successful youth icons - 26 Youth Business International, 25 Citigroup and 35 JRD Tata Awards. Our Board of Trustees comprises leaders from the top business houses in India. Our corporate partners include National and multi-national organizations like, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Tata Steel, Bajaj Auto, JP Morgan, JK Paper, Godrej, American Insurance Group (AIG), Diageo, the keep walking fund. Over the past 28 years, many of these “bottom of the pyramid” entrepreneurs have become millionaires, winning national and international awards. Youth Business International (YBI) YBI is a global network of expert organisations in over 50 countries supporting underserved young people to turn their ideas into successful businesses, creating jobs and strengthening communities. Our vision is a world where youth entrepreneurship is recognised for driving sustainable economic development and all young people who want to set up a business can fulfil their potential. We connect our members to share expertise and collaborate on solutions to common challenges. Visit www.youthbusiness.org. Google.org Google.org, Google's philanthropy, supports nonprofits that address humanitarian issues and apply scalable, data-driven innovation to solving the world's biggest challenges. We accelerate their progress by connecting them with a unique blend of support that includes funding, products, and technical expertise from Google volunteers. We engage with these believers-turned-doers who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a world that works for everyone—and we believe technology and innovation can move the needle in four key areas: education, economic opportunity, inclusion and crisis response.
BYST Mentor Blog: Subhash Shejwal, Owner, Malini Chain of Restaurants, Pune
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher Namaste friends!I launched my first restaurant, Malini, in 1986 when I came to Pune as a young man. Today, my family and I run a chain of three restaurants in Pune city. I also run a food processing and packaging unit where I employ 150 workers.But, let me tell you how my journey of entrepreneurship started in the first place… In 1983, I completed my Hotel Management Diploma from the Food Craft Institute, Pune. During my college years, I was always keen to hear and learn from those who were 8-10 years my senior. I closely followed their debates and discussions on new business ideas and how to bring them to fruition. The firm resolve of my seniors to strike out on their own in life left a lasting impression on me. Therefore, it was only natural that three years after graduating college, I decided to take the plunge and launch my first restaurant. While I was busy managing the affairs of my restaurant, I continued to follow new developments in the world of business. I had a keen sense of curiosity about new industries and new markets, a trait that I retain to this day. Over time, I firmed up an internal belief system that the best way to overcome challenges in life, whether personal, professional, or related to one’s community or business ecosystem, is to have a keen sense of purpose and conduct thorough research before embarking on a new venture. In the mid-1990s, I came across BYST activities when they used to organise meetings and get-togethers at my restaurant. I enrolled myself as a mentor with BYST in 1996 because I wanted to share my experience (of running and managing a business) with young entrepreneurs. Over the years, I have been in touch with more than two hundred entrepreneurs. Being an entrepreneur from a rural background, I am able to relate to the challenges my mentees face. One of the main concerns I identified was entrepreneurs giving up on their dreams due to lack of proper guidance. It gives me immense satisfaction that I am able to use the wisdom I gained (while establishing my own business) to nurture my mentees. When my mentees respond to my feedback and implement my suggestions in their businesses, I feel even more committed to being a mentor. I also get to learn from other mentors and my mentees. In 2018 I advised my mentee Swapnil Kudale, Founder, Sky Power Industries to build up an emergency fund. Against his own will, he honoured my advice and started saving a small sum every month. Today he acknowledges that my advice proved very timely and a life saver for his business during the COVID-19 lockdowns. He was not only able to retain his workers and sustain his business, but also able to diversify into new product lines. I try to help every mentee visualise a clear growth trajectory for his/her business. I have been able to help my mentees plan for fast growth through diversification and introduction of new products. When one of my mentees in the paints industry faced the challenge of low sales volumes over a prolonged period, I advised him to start manufacturing and selling distemper paint colours that are cost effective and hence, extremely popular with rural home-owners. Shortly thereafter, my mentee saw a significant improvement in sales volumes, and he was able to steer his business back to profitability. Some of my former mentees are are high-fliers today, having established successful businesses. These bright and industrious entrepreneurs have created around 4,000-5,000 jobs. Five of my mentees won prestigious national and international awards like YBI Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the JRD Tata Award. These milestones give me a sense that a special force is driving every young entrepreneur who I engage with. I continue to enjoy cordial relations with my mentees. Often, when a member of my group comes up with a new business idea, we are quickly able to size up the market potential, the estimated sales volumes, the time required to break even, and the risks involved. I feel happy to be able to serve as a ‘sounding board’ for my mentees and friends’ business ideas, even before a single rupee has been invested. I have contributed to BYST’s mission of developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the rural heartland of western India. I also function as ‘Buddy Mentor’ to new mentors and familiarise them with the BYST mentoring process. It is my passion to nurture entrepreneurs. I am on this mission for the last 25 years. I felt extremely privileged to be selected as the Youth Business International (YBI) Mentor of the Year 2021 for the Asian region. My journey would not have been so satisfying had it not been for my family’s unstinted support and wholehearted participation in my mission. I learned my earliest business lessons from my father, who continues to run and manager a bakery outlet at the ripe young age of 75 years! Now that our sons have grown up, my wife also spends her time running a Mongini’s bakery products store. While our older son runs a Civil Works construction firm, the younger one is learning to manage the operations of our food processing and packaging unit. The Shejwal Family, Pune Courtesy: Mr. Subhash Shejwal I count myself extremely lucky to have been a co-traveller with my many mentees and my family on their wonderful journeys of business exploration, expansion, and growth. I am deeply grateful to all my seniors, my mentees, my friends, and my family for allowing me to be a part of theirs.
Other kinds support
Training-BYST entrepreneurs are supported with practical training and workshops on small business management skills.
Networking of Entrepreneurs-BYST entrepreneurs also benefit through a network of their own peers. BYST facilitates interaction among the entrepreneurs through regular meets and get-togethers. This interaction process helps in peer learning and sharing.
Newsletter-BYST publishes quarterly newsletters in the regional language for the entrepreneurs. This serves as a link between BYST and the entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs also exchange their views, ideas and other business tips through these newsletters.
Referral Services-Entrepreneurs, who have shown high growth in their business and a good track record in repayment of loans, to BYST, are referred to banks and other financial institutions for further financial assistance
Trade Fairs & Exhibitions-Entrepreneurs are provided opportunity to take part in trade fairs and exhibitions in order to gain more mileage in the market
Awards for Business Excellence-To recognise entrepreneurial excellence among the BYST funded entrepreneurs, an award scheme was started in 1995. The JRD Tata Young Entrepreneur Award, constituted in memory of our Founding Chairman Mr. JRD Tata, selects three best entrepreneurs based on their performance, track record, employment-generated etc.
In particular, BYST has put up a strong emphasis on developing a formalized and comprehensive mentoring programme. Our mentors are Business leaders who have survived the challenges that any fledgling entrepreneur would face – to navigate the young entrepreneurs to the heights of business success. BYST has developed a flexible mentoring model to meet the challenges that arise as a result of both the size of the country and the mix of rural and urban entrepreneurs, including one on one. To maintain the quality of its mentor network and to strengthen its impact, BYST dedicates significant resources to preparing mentors for their role, and supporting their ongoing development adopting tools such as train the trainers. First, it offers a formal training and accreditation scheme. This tool combines a number of different learning methods, from case studies to assessments, both the practical and online elements of this programme are accredited by City and Guilds in the UK, a leading awarding and vocational learning body. This scheme helps BYST formalise and standardise its mentor offering across the country. It also adds professional recognition to the role, thereby incentivising potential mentors to get involved, and motivating the mentor pool in general.
Mentoring models in BYST
BYST further developed its mentor offering through the introduction of Mentor Chapters. These are formal groups of mentors, locally-based and constituted under the guidance of BYST.
One-to-One' mentoring - most popular in urban areas where each entrepreneur is mentored by an individual and the mentor gets to visit the entrepreneur’s facilities regularly.
Mentor Mobile Clinics - Mentors drawn from diverse background travel together to visit and guide rural entrepreneurs.
Mentor Clinics – Mentors form groups based on expertise/need to revive emergency situations
Access to Finance
BYST has evolved an innovative model to provide collateral free start-up finance to young entrepreneurs through its partnership with financial institutions.
Once the entrepreneurs have set up in business, a range of additional support services are available to entrepreneurs, including training, the on line BYST portal ( an online one-stop-shop of information for the entire stakeholder community), a quarterly newsletter, referral of high performing entrepreneurs with a good track record in loan repayments to bank and other financial institutions for further financial assistance, and opportunities to participate in trade fairs and exhibitions and compete for business excellence awards.
BYST sensitizes and supports its entrepreneurs to give back to society by way of encouraging environmentally friendly businesses which has gone on to the making of the BYST Green Business Club. BYST entrepreneurs have moved on to becoming mentors themselves thereby contributing to nurture entrepreneurship.
Counselling and Training
Counselling or Business Idea Generation, is a vigorous follow up mechanism which is provided for business counselling with the objective of facilitating project implementation. Entrepreneurs who fits the basic selection criteria of BYST will be helped in finalizing their business ideas and in obtaining necessary information to prepare their business plans/investment profiles, sourcing technology tie-ups, and receiving administrative support on legal and licensing issues. Following stages will be provided.
Training for Potential entrepreneurs- BYST offers training, which helps youth to convert their ideas into a structured, marketable business proposal
(i) imparting technical and non-technical soft skills;
(ii) providing advice on the nuances of setting up and running a business and dealing with associated challenges with opportunities to interact and seek expertise with successful mentors and entrepreneurs in the related fields.
(iii) allowing participants to witness successful real life case studies of peers & mentor from similar backgrounds, to boost their confidence.
Capacity Building for enhancing business growth- BYST entrepreneurs are supported with practical training and workshops on small business management skills.
Shri. Rahul Bajaj
Patron, BYST and Chairman, Bajaj Auto Limited
Mr. Bajaj is recognized as one of the most successful business leaders of India. He heads the Bajaj Group of Companies which is a leader in a variety of manufactured products and financial services in India and abroad including motorized 2 and 3-wheelers, home appliances, electric lamps, wind energy, special alloy and stainless steel, cranes, forgings, infrastructure development, material handling equipment, travel, general and life insurance and investment, consumer finance & asset management. Mr. Bajaj holds an Honours Degree in Economics from Delhi University, a degree in Law from Bombay University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Mr. Bajaj is the Chairman of the Board of many companies. He was elected to the Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha 2006 - 2010). Mr. Bajaj has received many prestigious awards and recognitions, notable being the award of Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2001, Alumni Achievement Award by the Harvard Business School and Life Time Achievement Awards from Economic Times, Ernst & Young and CNBC TV18. Mr. Bajaj was appointed Knight in the Order of the Legion of Honour by the President of the French Republic. Mr. Bajaj has been conferred Honorary Doctorates by 7 Universities including IIT Roorkee. Mr. Bajaj was the President of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII - 1979-80/1999-2000). He was President of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) and Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industry And Agriculture (MCCIA) and Chairman of the Development Council for Automobiles and Allied Industries. Mr. Bajaj was appointed by the Government of India as Chairman (1986-89) of the Government owned domestic carrier, Indian Airlines. Mr. Bajaj was nominated by the President of India as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay during 2003-06. Mr. Bajaj is a Member and former Chairman of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum, Geneva and a Member of Harvard Business School & Global Advisory Board. He is also a Member of the International Advisory Council of the Brookings Institution, Washington DC and a Member of the Executive Board of Indian School of Business. Mr. Bajaj spear-heads the CSR initiatives of the Bajaj Group which include Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation and Shiksha Mandal and a number of social organizations including Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust and Ruby Hall Clinic .
Networking of mentors
One very important aspect of mentoring is that it helps in developing a mentor network all over theglobe which provides each mentor with brand new ideas and experience. It is never too late to learn new things, and the mentors experience this through their networks. BYST has introduced the concept of Mentor chapters. Each chapter consists of a maximum of 50 mentors and focuses on identification, selection and recruitment of mentors, development of structures and systems to scale up mentoring services provided to entrepreneurs, identification and selection of entrepreneurs etc. These contribute to the expansion of the network of mentors.
A BYST Mentor Chapter is a formal group of business mentors, geographically based, and formed under the aegis of BYST. Formed in the lines of similar organizations such as Rotary and Lions Clubs, the Chapters are characterized by specific objectives and goals and by well-defined structure and processes. The overall vision of the chapters is to develop competent, capable, ethical and successful entrepreneurs through the vehicle of mentoring. The objectives of the chapters are to bring together and develop individuals as competent mentors who in turn will provide service to entrepreneurs through the process of mentoring. This, BYST feels, would foster Networking and through that, help in building enterprises, developing leadership, sharing of information and attainment of sustained and planned growth.
"The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN's principal provider of development advice, advocacy and grant support. It has been supported by various governments and NGOs from many parts of developed as well as developing nations.
As part of its global initiatives to tackle youth unemployment problem the UN Secretary-General has formed a Youth Employment Policy Network (YEPN) combining UNDP, ILO and the World Bank. BYST is one of the leading organisations, which is a part of YEPN's task force to reduce unemployment.
Founded by Jamsetji Tata in 1868, the Tata group is a global enterprise, headquartered in India, comprising over 100 independent operating companies. The group operates in more than 100 countries across six continents, with a mission ‘To improve the quality of life of the communities we serve globally, through long-term stakeholder value creation based on Leadership with Trust’.
Tata Sons is the principal investment holding company and promoter of Tata companies. Sixty-six percent of the equity share capital of Tata Sons is held by philanthropic trusts, which support education, health, livelihood generation and art and culture. In 2016-17, the revenue of Tata companies, taken together, was $100.39 billion. These companies collectively employ over 695,000 people.
Each Tata company or enterprise operates independently under the guidance and supervision of its own board of directors and shareholders. There are 29 publicly-listed Tata enterprises with a combined market capitalisation of about $130.13 billion (as on March 31, 2017). Tata companies with significant scale include Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Power, Tata Chemicals, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Teleservices, Titan, Tata Communications and Indian Hotels.
The TATA group of Institutions have donated liberally towards the BYST corpus fund and for the JRD Tata Young Entrepreneur Award, which was instituted in the name of Late Mr. JRD Tata – the doyen of the Indian Industry. In Feb’ 2015, to create employment through entrepreneurship in Odisha (Jajpur), BYST entered into a partnership with Tata Steel under its CSR initiative to set up “BYST-TATA Steel Youth Entrepreneurship Programme”.
Media Labs Asia
Media Lab Asia is the world's largest academic research programme dedicated to bringing the benefits of new technologies to all, with a special focus on meeting the grand challenges in learning, health, and economic development. It facilitates the invention, refinement, and dissemination of innovations that benefit a large number of those in dire need. Media Lab Asia works with industry, NGOs, and governments, to bring these innovations to every village in Asia.