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Nurturing GROWTH

Rags to RICHES Chennai

The Dalit CAPITALIST Business Mumbai

for all

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Weaving DREAMS

A u g u s t 2 0Assam 13

Student STARTUP Haryana


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From Editor’s desk

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Dear All ,

ndia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and has a significant youth population. India needs to create 1- 1.5 crore (10-15 million) jobs per year for the next decade to provide gainful employment to its young population.

Accelerating entrepreneurship and business creation is crucial for such large-scale employment generation. Moreover, entrepreneurship tends to be innovation-driven and will also arrive at solutions to India’s myriad social problems including high-quality education, affordable health care, clean energy and waste management, and financial inclusion. Entrepreneurship, the key driver to economic growth is also moreinclusive and typically does not involve exploitation of natural resources. Wealth and a high majority of jobs are created by small businesses started by entrepreneurially minded individuals, many of whom go on to create big businesses. People exposed to entrepreneurship frequently express that they have more opportunity to exercise creative freedoms, higher self esteem, and an overall greater sense of control over their own lives. At the heart of any successful business is a great idea. Some seem so simple we wonder why nobody thought of them before. Others are so revolutionary we wonder how anybody could’ve thought of them at all. But those great ideas don’t come on command. And that leaves lots of would-be entrepreneurs asking the same question: How did everybody else get inspiration to strike—and how can we work the same magic? But the greatest factor that determines whether or not an entrepreneur is successful isn’t the business idea itself, but it is the entrepreneur’s willingness to try (and keep trying) to transform the idea into reality. Great ideas are abundant, but it’s what we decide to do with them that counts. In this issue of “Business for all ” we have covered entrepreneurs from various fields who are worth emulating and will inspire many. We will continue to publish more such amazing stories in different sectors from different parts of India.

Siby M lukose

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Business for all

Contents

Publisher Siby M Lukose Managing Editor Siby M Lukose Executive Editor Ramakrishna Sangem Senior Editor V.L.Srinivasan Editorial Board K. Stevenson Verinder Kumar Dhall Anju Kurian Lux Radhica Kanniganti, Bengaluru Soma Mukherjee , Nagpur Madhulika Verma , Kolkata Vignesh Agarwal Art Director M.V.Rao Sta Writers Madhu Krishna K.Srujan.Abraham

Rags to RICHES -8

Fashion, Passion & Profits -14 For your DREAM CAR -22

Photo Editor V.V. Rao Contributors Sreena Kavitha Sreekumar Soma Mukherjee Deepak Parvatiyar Praveen Reddy C Anandkumar Reddy

Green POWER -26

Marketing Dept. Manager (Circulation) Narender Gangapuram Asst Manager Md Asif Khan Business for all welcomes enquiries, opinions, and comments from its readers. Please send an e-mail to businessforall@gmail.com Address: 201, Siri Sampada Hitech, Kavuri Hills, Hitech City, Hyderabad -500 081 Tel:040-20014074 sibybusiness@gmail.com Enquiries and suggestions feedback@businessforall.in

The Dalit CAPITALIST -10

Weaving DREAMS -32

PRINTED, PUBLISHED BY SIBY M. LUKOSE on behalf of SIBY BUSINESS SOLUTIONS PVT LTD, OWNED BY SIBY BUSINESS SOLUTIONS PVT LTD, PRINTED AT : SIBY Business Solutions Pvt Ltd, Flat No. 201, Sirisampada Hitech, D.No. 1-65/4/4/SH/201, KavuriHills, Madhapur, Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy (Dist), Andhra Pradesh. PUBLISHED FROM : SIBY Business Solutions Pvt Ltd, Flat No. 201, Sirisampada Hitech, D.No. 1-65/4/4/SH/201, KavuriHills, Madhapur, Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy (Dist), Andhra Pradesh. EDITOR : SIBY M. LUKOSE, RNI. No. APENG/2013/50007 Business for all

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Contents

Committed to a CAUSE -44

Student STARTUP -18

Success ALL THE WAY -64 High on CAR RENTALS -36

IPE leads SME training -57

Amnesty New States, for WHOM? -61 MORE BUSINESS -40 The digital Moulding the MARKETER -68 FUTURE MINDS -50 Man with INSTINCT -54

Tackling JOBLESSNESS -74 Business for all

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Daughter of DESTINY -72


Rags to RICHES Sarat Babu Elumalai

S

GEETA SRAVANTI

arat Babu Elumalai’s entrepreneurial journey is a true text book example of rags to riches story in the Indian context. Born and brought up in dire poverty and hunger, this wonder kid-turned-entrepreneur’s growth which went to places, is inspired by none other than his own mother who toiled for 14 hours a day to bring up her children. As an Anganwadi worker in a staterun mid-day meal programme during day time and as idli seller on the pavements in the night, she struggled a lot. “My mother used to drink water in the nights. When I was a child, I thought that she liked drinking lots of water. But I realized, when I was

10 years, that she was doing so to satiate her hunger,” Sarat Babu, who recalled his days of hunger with his two elder sisters and a younger brother, told “Business for all.” “Everyone wants to have a good job and some want to become entrepreneurs. But my aim is to create more entrepreneurs like me and I would like to be role model to them so that they, in turn, inspire others. There shall be an entrepreneurship chain revolution in the country and only then the problems of our country can be solved to a great deal,” he said. Sarat Babu, who would turn 34 this November, started Foodking Catering Service Private Limited in 2006 with a seed capital of Rs 2,000 out of savings from his job with Polaris Software Solutions in

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Ahmedabad. He also obtained a degree in business management from Indian Institute of Management (IIM-A) in Ahmedabad. Earlier, Sarat Babu completed his chemical engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) in Pilani. “After graduating from BITS, I joined Polaris but that didn’t satisfy me. My childhood days kept revisiting me where I have seen scores of youth without jobs and livelihood. I finally appeared in the CAT (Common Admission Test) and joined IIM in Ahmedabad,” he said. As soon as he finished IIM-A, Sarat Babu was flooded with campus placement offers and some of them were really good with a decent salary and perks. But months before he


Hungry entrepreneur passed out, he already made up his mind that he should start something of his own rather than joining a regular job. “I was afraid that any time spent in a job is a waste of my life without doing what I wanted to do,” Sarat Babu explained. The idea of starting Foodking Catering Services came to him while travelling between Chennai and Bengaluru during those days. “One day I stopped at a roadside hotel and found the food was good but the people working there were too emaciated and tired. When I asked them, they told me that the food serve to the customers was never offered to them. I was shocked. Then I decided to start a food shop one day.” Once he set up his own venture, Sarat Babu never lost sight of his vision. Rather than making profits, his goal was to provide employment to as many people as possible. “Compared to the decision to start something, joining a corporate job would have been cozier. But I opted this way and it is important for an entrepreneur to stick to one’s goals,” he said. However, establishing Foodking Catering Services was not an easy task. Sarat Babu chose Ahmedabad for his startup location. It was a single employee startup on the first day. He invested Rs 2,000 and purchased groceries and some kitchenware. His initial orders came from four firms – IIM-A, Darpana Academy, Gujarat Energy Research Institute and Systems Plus, a software firm. Sarat Babu’s connections with IIMA campus worked in his favour. He started receiving orders from all these four companies. Lunch, snacks, tea and coffee were his menu. He supplied quality food at affordable prices. People liked the

“One day I stopped at a roadside hotel and found the food was good, but the people working there were too emaciated and tired. When I asked them, they told me that the food serve to the customers was not offered to them. I was shocked. Then I decided to start of a food shop one day.” stuff and that helped him step up his catering services over next three months. His first month profit was Rs 35,000. “Initially I faced some difficulties like lack of man power and capital crunch,” he said. He tried to secure loans from circle of friends, but that was not sufficient. Then he went for a bank loan of Rs 11 lakh through personal sureties in 2007. With that money, he set up a modern kitchen where more items could be made with better quality. That kitchen cost him Rs 12 lakh. Once coming to know about the tastes of software professionals and salaried employees, Sarat Babu decided to emulate Ahmedabad example in Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune and recently in Hyderabad. “The principle of the business is simple. People like tasty and quality food at affordable prices and if they like it, your business is on track.” After different units of his Foodking Catering began making revenues, there was no dearth of liquid cash

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flow. Within five years, his turnover crossed Rs 9 crore and is expected to touch Rs 10 crore by end of 2013. More than money, Sarat Babu is satisfied with the fact that today he is providing jobs to 300 people. Now he is a celebrity among B – School circuits as he is invited for talks on personality development, entrepreneurship programs and social responsibility. He will be on the move meeting people and lecturing at least for 100 days in a year. Sarat Babu did not forget his mother Deepa Ramanie and his native village Madapakkam on the Chennai outskirts. “They are closest to my heart,” he said. Last year, Sarat Babu was invited to the U.S. as part of young entrepreneurs’ exchange program. There he evoked loud applause from the U.S. senators and Congressmen for his meteoric rise from abject poverty to a successful entrepreneur. The Americans thought such things were possible only in the U.S. and not in a country like India. But Sarat proved them wrong. “Creating more entrepreneurs is the most attractive thing to me than anything else. I will be happy if I can motivate one person in a gathering of 100. If that person can inspire another one and this goes on, India will have at least 2 crore entrepreneurs soon,” Sarat Babu said.He won many awards and recognition in the last five years – CNN-IBN’s Young Leader award and Pepsi-MTV’s Youth Icon are some of them. Sarat Babu also dabbled in politics in Chennai in 2009 and 2011 elections as an Independent, but did not succeed. “I realize that motivating the youth to become entrepreneurs is the greater satisfaction to me.”  (feedback@businessforall.in)


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Milind Kamble with daughter Maitreyee

wife

Seema

and


Surging ahead

The Dalit CAPITALIST

M

MADHU KRISHNA

eet Milind Kamble, who wants to spawn dalit capitalism in the country and transform his community into job givers and not seekers. Milind Kamble, a successful entrepreneur from Maharashtra, is treading a path no one from his Dalit community has even dreamed of till now. He wants to make sure his community embraces capitalism and spawns business leaders across the country. To achieve this goal, he founded Dalit India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI) a decade ago. Started on a modest scale, the chamber has become a pan-Indian phenomenon now, with over 3,000 active members across the country and overseas.

“Initially, no business man from Dalit community has shown interest to join the organization because they feared that their association with the DICCI will reveal their identity and hamper business growth. Now our industry body has become a phenomenon and given an identity to SC/ST communities across the country. Our sole objective is to transform Dalits into job givers and not job seekers,” the DICCI’s Founding Chairman tells Business for all, in an interview. Kamble was recently honoured with

“Our next goal is to create 100 SC/ ST billionaires over the next few years. We will select new people or existing businessmen with small turnovers, provide funding to them and encourage them to build Rs 100crore companies.” Padmashree award by the Indian government in recognition of his services to Dalit entrepreneurs. Excerpts: Can you tell us about your experience as a businessman and entrepreneur? I hail from Chobli village in Latur district in Maharashtra. My father was a primary school teacher. He reprimanded me when I told him that I would become a businessman. But I refused to join government service as I did not want to use reservation. However, I promised my father that I would never do anything which would bring bad name to our family. After completing civil engineering in 1987, I worked for some private companies in Pune to get a first-

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hand experience. But my aim was to become an entrepreneur and businessman. As I am an engineer, it’s but natural that I have entered into civil contract field. The first work contract I secured was in 1994. It was worth Rs 1 lakh. I had just Rs 10,000 with him, but I needed Rs 25,000 to commence the work. So I borrowed Rs 15,000 from friends and executed the work successfully with Rs 25,000 as initial capital. Thereafter, I never looked back. At present, I have several businesses including construction and trading. My MPK group turnover is over Rs 70 crore. As I have been spending a lot of time for DICCI now, I have no spare time for my own business. Moreover, I travel a lot. I am happy with what I have achieved for myself. Now, I am keen to work for the betterment of Dalit community and encourage more and more Dalit entrepreneurs. What challenges did you face when you set up the DICCI? Not many business people and traders from Dalit background showed interest in the chamber initially after we founded it in Pune in 2003. This was because they feared that their association with the chamber will reveal their identity thereby hampering growth of their businesses. We had to work very hard and convince people to join the DICCI. We somehow managed to get 200 members in the first year. Our initial perseverance has paid rich dividends subsequently. You see the result now. DICCI has become a pan-India organization with 3,000 members across the country. The combined annual turnover of our 3,000 members is upwards of Rs 27,000 crore. That number is an


Surging ahead

Milind Kamble receiving commitment letter of SIDBI from Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram in June this year. Sushil Muhnot , Chairman and Managing Director, SIDBI, is also seen. indication of the entrepreneurial spirit that exists among Dalits in the country. There are scores of Dalit businessmen and traders who have not become our members yet. According to a study carried out by the central government in 2007, more than 1.64 lakh small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are owned by the people from the SC/ ST communities. All of them are registered. So, obviously there are scores of others who have not registered their companies. At present, DICCI has 11 state chapters in the country and seven international chapters across the world, from UAE to Netherlands. What did DICCI do for Dalits till

now? DICCI has initiated several steps to encourage existing Dalit entrepreneurs and motivate new people from our community to become entrepreneurs. We have also inuenced several government policies so that Dalit people get their due in the industrial space. The most important achievement of DICCI in this area is that we have succeeded in convincing the central government to earmark four per cent of its entire procurement budget for the SC/ST entrepreneurs. The central government, which has over 60 departments and several public sector companies under its fold, procures materials and products worth Rs 6 lakh crore every year.

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With this four per cent reservation for Dalits, our community now has an assured market of Rs 24,000 crore. We will make concerted efforts to achieve many more of such things. The fact that the Central government has included DICCI in its policy making process for industrial and trade sectors indicates how successful and effective our body has become now. What are the DICCI’s plans for future? As we have achieved an assured market of Rs 24,000 crore for our community, our next step is to create entrepreneurs who can make use of the government’s help and grow into billionaires. Our next goal is to create 100 SC/


Surging ahead ST billionaires over the next few years. We will select new people or existing businessmen with small turnovers, provide funding to them and encourage them to build Rs 100-crore companies. For this, we have already launched Rs 500-crore venture capital fund which has received approval from the SEBI. It is registered as DICCI SME Fund and so obviously it will focus on SME sector. We have already raised Rs 50 crore for the fund and identified 25 people who will benefit from it in the first phase. We hope to raise Rs 150 crore by end of the current fiscal. Once we reach that milestone, we will start disbursing the funds. We are tapping all the financial institutions for the rare endeavour. Interestingly, this is India’s first real social impact fund. Don’t you think a separate industry body for Dalits would not perpetuate alienation of Dalits from the mainstream? We thought about it when we started DICCI. But I am an ardent follower of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, and his philosophy. He repeatedly made it clear that there would be no freedom without economic independence. I found that somehow that vision was lacking among Dalits. We have seen pioneers from Dalit community in political, intellectual and social areas. But unfortunately there are no business leaders from Dalit community, who can inspire and motivate Dalit youth towards entrepreneurship. DICCI was founded to create Dalit business leaders who can inspire and motivate Dalit youth to become job givers. Now Dalit youth are identifying themselves with the chamber and coming forward to establish new businesses across the country. Our

Milind Kamble with former Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata in Mumbai core objective is to bring Dalits into mainstream, not other way around.

classes, expos and trade fairs to promote Dalit entrepreneurs.

We will definitely change name and act like any other mainstream industry body once we reach our goal. Till that time, we have to strive hard and create capitalist culture among the SC/ST communities in the country. We are hopeful of achieving the goal soon.

We had organized first expo – DEEP expo - in Pune in 2010. The event was the first ever industrial exhibition to showcase products produced by Dalit businessmen. We had organized BSE-DICCI Seminar at Mumbai in 2011. Subsequently, we also organised expos in Mumbai and Nagpur.

Is there any support from state governments and others for your endeavours? Andhra Pradesh government is far ahead of others when it comes to encouraging SC/ST entrepreneurs. Its industrial policy is the most Dalit friendly initiative in entire country. I have not seen this kind of policy in any of the other states. Furthermore, AP government is allocating 22.5 per cent of the units in various clusters and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) for Dalit community. It’s a good move and will definitely encourage Dalit youth to set up new businesses. What are the other activities of DICCI? We organize conferences, training

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Our plan is to hold similar expos in various cities across the country. Besides, we are also planning to Dalit entrepreneurs with awards from next year. We will present Ambedkar Business Excellence Awards in various categories. DICCI will also suggest to the government to institute separate awards for Dalit entrepreneurs. Besides, we have requested all our members to allocate at least 50 per cent of the jobs in their companies to SC/ST people. We believe in principle of equality propagated by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. That’s why other communities should also benefit and get employment in the companies promoted by Dalits. 

(feedback@businessforall.in)


Garments

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Garments

Fashion,

P

assion & rofits

RAMA KRISHNA SANGEM

E

ven a job of Rs 2 lakh per month with an equity fund could not quench the thirst of the entrepreneur in Varsha Bhawnani. The 32-year-old Indian School of Business (ISB) graduate could not stick to a regular job with two firms she worked as the passion for entrepreneurship overpowered her to start something of her own – Vinegar Exports Private Limited, a fashion garments line in Mumbai, in August 2005. Today, Vinegar Exports in the posh Bandra area is a popular address but the uphill task made Varsha Bhawnani a stubborn entrepreneur over the years. As her startup garments firm is on the eve of completing eight years in August, Varsha revealed her thoughts to “Business for all” and recalled her tough days to make

Vinegar Exports a truly high end fashion destination. She dabbled with two jobs, first with a private equity fund as manager and as an executive with the Chatterjee Group Real Estate. She had bagged them through campus placement at the IBS, Hyderabad in 2004.

the beginning,” she said.

When she gave up her second job, her monthly salary and perks touched Rs 2 lakh. Normally, any other ISB graduate would have been happy with such a pay packet. “But, not me, I found these jobs very mundane,” says Varsha.

But none in the family was positive that her startup would click. “I purchased five sewing machines and hired six or seven people to run the shop,” said Varsha. In 2013, the company is worth Rs 15 crore.

“I was not happy with these routine jobs, but did not know what to do instead. I wanted to start something of my own, but had no concrete idea. Also, I had limited funds to invest in big projects. I knew that the creative field with potential for exports suited me. Finally, I zeroed in on fashion where my taste and capability met. Moreso, because I am aesthetically inclined. I was interested in designing right from

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When Varsha started Vinegar Exports Private Limited, she was just 24 years. The Rs 5 lakh investment needed for the project was raised from her personal savings and her family contributed Rs one lakh.

Though her shop was small and investments were measly, Varsha was clear that one day her business would grow and it would become an exports house. She used to draw sketches and prepare blueprints for garments which caught the attention of people. “Around that time, the International Garments Trade Fair, a biennial event held in Delhi proved to be a good platform to showcase my


Garments were not interested in Vinegar Exports, but the support of my buyers and bulk clients encouraged me as they liked my products and skills even though I did not own a factory.”

products. I displayed some of my samples and received positive reviews,” she said. Varsha did not make any money there, but the event helped her understand the global trends and the dynamics of the exports market. Looking at things from an entrepreneur’s perspective is a different thing to her. She developed that skill.

By the end of the first year, 2006, her returns touched Rs 50 lakh and orders started pouring in from different customers in the city and outside. The economy was on the upswing and recession was yet to set in. By the end of 2007, Vinegar Exports bagged decent orders from abroad.

“Initially, I did not bag any orders. My first big customer, a boutique in Spain, came in December 2005, which helped me earn Rs 7000,” she recalled. Varsha is an example for young entrepreneurs who dream big to deal big. “The first year in business, 2006, was a shocker to me, as my operational profits were almost zero. For the first time, I realised how difficult and important it was to make a margin of Rs 10 on a garment,” she recounted. Those who place bulk orders are tough bargainers and they know where to squeeze in the outsourcers. That made her bankrupt on bulk export orders. Since then, Varsha sharpened her manufacturing skills and understood where to save a minimum margin and how to service the bulk orders. Her experiment with Vinegar Exports is also an example for other entrepreneurs who lacked formal knowledge in their respective business lines. “Then, I started learning how to handle taxes, middlemen, and other operational expenditure,” Varsha pointed out. If these were her physical challenges, Varsha also faced some tough time and lonely moments as her family members were not so enthused about her garments exports. They

“The first year in business, 2006, was a shocker to me, as my operational profits were almost zero. For the first time, I realised how difficult and important it was to make a margin of Rs 10 on a garment,” she recounted. Those who place bulk orders are tough bargainers and they know where to squeeze in the outsourcers. That made her bankrupt on bulk export orders. feared that she would not make much money out of this business. Her parents shared the typical mindset of middle class which prefers their wards to enjoy a good job and stay away from risky businesses. “Of course, my family members

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She could ship out 50,000 pieces of garments per month and profit margins were decent too. Then, Varsha thought of expanding her business. By the end of 2007, she rented a small factory at Mahim, and added 30 more machines and 100 staff members, including designers and masters. For a mass production oriented garments line, one needs to have a large unit but Varsha was hamstrung with her small production unit with limited manpower. As a result, though it bagged bulk orders from leading brands like Zaguar and Esprit, she couldn’t handle them as her small factory and limited manpower could not match the size of the orders. That was another lesson for Varsha. In 2008, Varsha tried to make up it by scaling up the operations. She added another 70 machines and hired half a dozen designers and some masters. “At that point in time, I was exporting to markets in the US, Russia, Spain and some other countries in the Europe. This strategy helped Vinegar Exports to break even for the first time and


Garments

Varsha Bhawnani - with her collection at Mumbai showroom touched a turnover of Rs 6 crore. was a reason why I had survived From then, there was no looking the toughest economic slowdown that year,” said Varsha. back. Scaling up her operations also made her aware of the nitty gritty Now consolidation of creative surrounding bulk orders and designing and high end collections production. Though the times were are Varsha’s priority. In 2012, she good, she decided to opt out of shut down her flagship stores in the mass production and focus on Mumbai. “My attention is to bring creative designing. Fashion couture out an exclusive couture, meant and special collections, were the for high-end customers within and hallmark. Varsha hired freelance outside the country,” said Varsha. designers from NIFT and NID (National Institute of Designing) to She plans to launch Vinegar as a label in India and have it registered present her first special collection. as a brand in Spain and Argentina. She had pumped in close to Rs 70 lakh in to this line from the Vinegar Exports is getting steady funds she earned from exports. By orders from abroad. It manufactures 2009, Varsha launched Vinegar, about 30,000 pieces per month and the Boutique, in Bangalore and its profit margins are around 40 per cent. Two years ago, the company Mumbai. rented another 80 machine factory The garments were priced from Rs at Goregaon on the Mumbai 500-6,000, catering to all sections outskirts and it produces brands like of customers. “Probably, my pricing Mango, Top Shop and uniforms for

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corporate customers like Air India and Grand Hyatt hotels. Varsha has international orders worth Rs 15 crore on hand and her mind is brimming with ideas. Her road map for the future is clear – shift from: pressure induced bulk orders to skill based special collections: labour and capital intensive flagship stores to creative designing and; thin margined domestic market to decent profit ensured foreign markets. “All this comes through struggle and experience,” said Varsha Bhawnani. (With inputs from Kavitha Sreekumar, Mumbai)  (feedback@businessforall.in)


Student STARTUP

Arman Sood (left) with Ashwajeet Singh.

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Party time

P

artying is no longer a boring and repetitive activity for regular party hoppers nowadays thanks to two student entrepreneurs who started Sood & Singh Ventures in November 2012. The idea to launch the startup by two friends – Arman Sood and Ashwajeet Singh – both students of Jindal Law School at Sonepat in Haryana struck them when they were celebrating the 50th birthday of Arman’s father in Bangkok on April 5 last year. They mopped up the seed money of Rs 13 lakh from their parents soon after returning from Bangkok and worked on the project and realized their dream of launching the venture six months later. In a first person account to Business for all, Arman Sood explains the story behind the launching and success of his startup. We (me and Ashwajeet Singh) came up with the idea to have a startup in our second year of Law School. We had gone to Bangkok for my father’s 50th birthday. We were drinking from beer bongs and using a beer pong table and partying hardcore. It was then that the idea hit us that hardcore house parties and parties were not happening in India due to lack of innovative party accessories and products. We got back to India, skipped our internships and put the startup in place. Our motivation was to work for ourselves. That’s how we started out, we wanted to create a niche for ourselves and we can say we are getting there slowly and steadily. We love beer and love to party, when we realized we wanted to start something we were passionate about, then what better than a start up serving this very market. We Business for all

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Party time

Youngsters enjoying the party. never looked back. Our website www.eshack.in. has a collection of innovative and funky bar/party and drinking accessories which were not earlier available to the Indian consumers. Traditional partying in the opinion of a lot of people and us was getting boring and repetitive hence we brought to the market innovative and exciting drinking games, beer pong tables for those who love beer bong and other interesting accessories to liven up the parties. We have also launched a funky and exclusive collection of Beer and Alcohol T-shirts and are expanding to other verticals as well. While launching our brand, we had to import a large quantity of products that were not tried and

tested in India and thus it was all based on gut and instinct. We had to negotiate with suppliers worldwide to source our products since we were the ďŹ rst movers in the space. As young law school students launching a startup, we had no idea how to go about imports, negotiations, customs etc but we learnt along the way. We had no skills in customer acquisition or digital and social media marketing but all those are small things when you have a bigger plan. We learnt all of it on the way. We recently launched a brand new website which we designed our selves. The journey has always been more important than the destination

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and we have learnt more than we could ever imagine starting out on our own. We have faced many hurdles on the way. Our business/ start up runs out of our college rooms and we live on a residential campus and still have two years of law school to go. We had to maintain a 75 per cent attendance at college and it was very difďŹ cult to balance the pressure of law school studies with running a full-edged e-commerce start up. Our friends and teachers have been extremely supportive and helpful throughout and it has helped us a lot it maintain the balance we need to so as to ensure everything goes smoothly. One of the biggest problems that any startup faces, especially an


Party time e-commerce startup, is that of funding. We were very fortunate that our parents and family supported us and believed in us completely. We took our seed funding of Rs 13 lakh from our parents but that was no easy task either because we did not want them to just give it to us we wanted to earn it. We made our very first business plan and pitch for our parents and convinced them that we were up to it and that we had it in us to take upon the challenge and beat the odds and do something that we truly believed in. We haven’t completed one year of our start up so and the annual turnover will be known only in November but for a student start up with all the hassles that it comes with we have been making more than substantial monthly revenues and are on the verge on breaking even. We launched with bar/party and drinking accessories and now we have launched a range of exclusive drinking and party T-shirts and plan to expand to a few more verticals. We have started the box subscription service for T-shirts, which we believe is an interesting addition to T-shirts and E-Commerce in India. We have moved from solely B2C to a largely B2B based business as well and have received orders from Dubai, Brazil and Germany!

“We launched with bar/party and drinking accessories and now we have launched a range of exclusive drinking and party T-shirts and plan to expand to a few more verticals.We have moved from solely B2C to a largely B2B based business as well and have received orders from Dubai, Brazil and Germany.”

start up. It might be time, funding, resources etc but once your heart is out there, then there should be no looking back. Follow your heart and instinct, be ready to take the giant leap of faith and don’t be afraid to get your paws wet. Things don’t always go as planned but that is not necessarily for the worse it can be for the better if you can adapt and adjust. We always thought we would be a B2C start-up but soon enough we had large B2B traction. You need to be willing to take a risk, not because that’s how it is but because there’s no fun otherwise. Always believe you can beat the odds!

We want to expand Internationally and be the largest portal for quirky drinking accessories and funky beer and alcohol tees in India. Our ambition seems larger than life but we believe it is quite possible.

(feedback@businessforall.in)

(As told to V L Srinivasan)

We feel that there are always excuses to not Business for all

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For your DREAM CAR

A

Mani Sri Vellanki

C. ANAND KUMAR REDDY

like a fairy tale? No.

19-year-old girl was married off to a top Indian American executive and she returns after 20 years to set up a technology-centred enterprise in India and continues to manage its affairs with aplomb. Does this read

Mani Sri Vellanki is the person behind Sunmold Digi-ďŹ t, which supplies customized oor mats to about 40 models of different car manufacturers and is working to increase its share in the automobile market by negotiating directly with the car manufacturers like Tata and

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Autozone Hyundai. Mani Sri Vellanki has active support from her husband Krishna Vellanki since her family returned to India in 2005, despite their friends in the US advising against such a decision. At a first look, tray-type floor mats may seem simple but design of customized floor mats is basically an engineering task. Business for all interviewed Mani Sri Vellanki on the sidelines of the ALEAP-sponsored ‘International Conference on Green Enterprises and Green Industrial Parks.’

There is vast scope in the accessories market which is worth billions of dollars. We will work to raise our share in the custom-made accessories for cars rolled out by different companies every year in India.

What prompted you to enter the car accessories market and floor mats in particular? Rubber mats used in India give out foul smell, they are unclean and unhygienic and they do not fit into different models of cars. We manufacture customized floor mats, also called tray type mats, using poly-ethylene material. That makes our floor mats odour-free, hygienic, washable and stainfree. Since they are customized to each model, they cover the surface fully and there is no risk of skidding. Most importantly, they are 100 per cent recyclable.

India. We gave Sunmold Digi-fit as brandname to our mats. Our plant is located in Jeedimetla Industrial estate in Hyderabad. What is the installed capacity of your manufacturing plant? At present, we can deliver 6,000 sets per month. We can increase the capacity to churn out 16,000 sets per month by working in three shifts. We have recently acquired lamination facility, which will allow us to offer customized design patterns as well. Have you approached original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for orders? We have initiated talks with TATAs and we plan to manufacture floor mats for Hyundai models but we are yet to get in touch with them. The most common question we are facing is over the installed capacity. You have said you both had an idea of starting an enterprise even before you launched Sunmold Digi-fit. What was it?

Please tell our readers how it all started?

down, after which my husband and children return. Though we had the idea of manufacturing floor mats even then, we first wanted to get things in order for ourselves.

My husband had worked for ten years in Ford Motors when we moved to Detroit in 1994. Though I have IT background, I too had a small stint in the company. After returning to India in 2005, I joned Infosys and resigned the job only in March this year. The plan was that I move to India first and settle

In the beginning, we used to provide engineering design services to automobile accessory clients in the US and Canada through our Sunmold Engineers Division. When we realised that the customized floor mats available in India are imported, we decided to set up a plant to manufacture them in

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We were in talks for a tie-up with a Detroit-based company, when 9/11 happened. After the incident, they backed off, saying ”we will not do business with that part of the world.” It is for this reason we confined ourselves to providing engineering services to firms in the US and Canada until 2005, even after relocating to India. How are product?

you marketing the

More than dealers, we are banking on our ditribution network. Apart from this, our product has presence in Reliance Autozones. Out of the total 26 Reliance autozones in the country, our floor mats are available in 11 of them. Reliance is trying to


Autozone

take the total number of autozones to 50 and our endeavour is to have full presence in all the zones by the year-end or even before, by October. You and your husband are highly qualified. What more do you have in your mind apart from poly ethylene floor mats? Making floor mats is not easy as it may seem. We need design drawings and specific tools. One needs compressors, heaters and lamination machines. We understood that floor mats will give us an entry and a foothold in the domestic market. We have a limited distributor network in place as of now. We can leverage our market strengths once we enter other accessories. We are already working on another car accessory which I cannot disclose now. Not only that, we can deliver floor mats customised to a car model, within a week of the order. On the contrary, importing the same product will take anything like three months.

What is the scope of expansion of your business? At present, we have a network of 30 distributors and we will expand this netwrok further. We are researching on another car accessory and it might be ready in one year. There is vast scope in the accessories market which is worth billions of dollars. We will work to raise our share in the custom-made accessories for cars rolled out by different companies every year in India. How are the growth projections for your company like? In India, the current vehicle sales are at 2.5 million per annum. The market penetration of this product is approximately 5 per cent as of now and we believe we can take it to more than 50 per cent five years down the line. As on date, our annual turnover is INR 1.5 crore. With this humble beginning of two years into manufacturing, we hope our talks with two of the auto manufacturing companies to supply directly will

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bear fruit. How about your family and your return to India? Since I got married at a young age and left for the US, my parents always missed me. We were US citizens when we started to think of returning and our family friends opposed our idea. But I actually wanted to be with my parents and brother. All of them are doctors. My brother is a nephrologist and my sister in-law is a doctor in foetal medicine. My parents were worried when I told them about Sunmold Digi-fit. They feared that doing business in India is difficult even after spending money to get things done. But my resolve to return to India was firm and it was love for the family. The thought that my brother is a stranger to my 11-year-old and 5year-old daughters rankled me. Yes, if they happen to see their maternal uncle once in a year or in a couple of years, he will be a stranger.  (feedback@businessforall.in)


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August 2013


Green

POWER

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Sanjith S Shetty


Going green

W

hat will a valedictorian at Duke University and alumni of Harvard, do to leave a foot print in our quest to leave a better world for our future generations? It is but natural that the person will launch his/her businesses which is eco, enviro and people friendly and that is what Sanjith S Shetty did but with a difference. He kept in mind the Corporate Social Responsibility in order to build that strong bond with the local stakeholder. Power projects based on fossil fuels like coal and gas are easy to implement since they require fewer regulatory approvals. And yet, he decided to stick to renewable energy, which has its own set of challenges, both natural and man-made. Instead of starting something else which could fetch him millions, he chose to set up mini hydel power projects in his native Karnataka state. For this, Sanjith established Soham Renewable Energy India Private Limited and conceived the first of the seven units - Ambuthirtha Power Project Limited (APPL) –at Jog Waterfalls (South East Asia’s largest waterfall), with an installed capacity of 22 MW in 2001, which started generating hydel power six years later. With the first project taking off smoothly, he decided to take on another challenge, that is to take over an abandoned but partially built hydro power project SohamMannapitlu Power Private Limited (SMPPL) - near Moodabidri in Dakshina Kannada district in November 2008. The installed capacity of this project is 15 MW. “The other five projects are in various stages of implementation with a list of ambitious line-up of

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acquisitions that we intend to make, soon. The underlying idea behind taking up them is for Soham to have a pan India footprint in the renewable energy vertical,” Sanjith, who is the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the company, told Business for all. Sanjith’s father K Sadananda Shetty, who was former chairman and managing director of Vijaya Bank, is the Chairman of Soham. The other five “run of the river” mini hydel plants are; Mulibettu Small Hydel Project (10.5 MW) plant on Gurupur river in Moodabidri, Mahadevapura Small Hydel Project (6 MW) on the Cauvery River in Mandya district, Nekkiladi hydel project (12.5 MW) on the Kumaradhara river at Uppinangadi and Kolavuru hydel project (18 MW) on the Phalguni river, both in Dakshina Kannada district and Devaragaddi hydel project (20 MW) across the Krishna river in Yadgir district. In fact, the company has embarked to be a leader of the mini hydel power sector in the country and plans are underway to generate at least 250 MW in the next two to three years as “everything will decay and die without growth.” “So means inhalation and Ham exhalation. When both are chanted, the two align the mind and soul to give you inner strength. That is Soham for you. And what the company does is an embodiment of inner strength: operating two hydro power plants and in the process of implementing 5 other power stations,” he said. According to Sanjith, his aim is to protect, enable and equip the future generation through various CSR initiatives of the Soham Foundation. “Many firms take up CSR after the operations phase but we did it during the construction


Going green phase itself. It was not a part of its business plan but more dictated by our conscience. Till date, Soham Foundation has also managed to touch the lives of almost 9000 rural families, particularly, school-going children,� he explained. The various community Initiatives through Soham Foundation are; Vidya Ganaka: Implemented in May 2006 by setting computer labs to unleash the power of computers and the internet to an area that has not seen or experienced one with an objective to establish an enabling environment to promote the usage of Information Technology in government schools in rural areas. Under this initiative, the Foundation has reached 3250 students in 20 schools within a radius of 10-15 km around their project sites at the primary level itself so that every rural child at the primary education level can compete with the urban when they reach higher education level. This program is in partnership with the Azim Premji Foundation.

Mahatma Gandhi Hydro Electric Tail Race Scheme at Jog. (Below) Sanjith sharing his thoughts with locals

Vidya Vahana: Provided free transportation to the students in remote rural hamlets who had to cross dense forests in diverse weather conditions of scorching sun and heavy monsoon downpour to reach schools. The trek of more than 10 km to attend the school was making many parents to withdraw their children, especially girls. Though it was meant for 25 students, over 200 children are covered every day and this programme has been in operation since August 2005. Taking care of health of the rural children under the Vidya Bala Suraksha initiative addresses the problems like malnutrition including vitamin deďŹ ciencies and infectious diseases. The Foundation responds to the

basic needs and issues of the local community by joining hands with local institutions youth groups – for providing road facility, solar lights, and civic amenities, and building community awareness to tap the local resources through its programme Soham Sahayog. To build better rapport with the

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local community and also to utilize their leisure time constructively, employees are encouraged to participate in Shramdan (free Labour). Soham Jyothi was taken up to provide lighting solutions to remote areas not connected to the grid and under this program, four families


Going green

Sanjith at an interactive session with students today have power in their houses at a time when they could not dream of having it. “Even tree plantation has been accorded priority and the company has ensured that every member of Team Soham understood the importance of conservation of nature. Every power project site of Soham is encouraged for plantation on World Environment day and their effort would provide more Green credits to concerned Team Soham,” Sanjith added. The company has also shown its understanding of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) space by not only being among the first to have registered the project under United Nations Climate Change Program and selling its Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) commonly known as Carbon Credits to Japan’s second largest power utility. Soham aims to soon be among the top three in the Indian renewable

“It is a great resource for all countries to tap given the longevity of the equipment and the low costs involved. It makes great sense to invest in small hydro power because of nil fuel cost and the fact that the technology today is far superior and allows for generating high PLFs (plant load factors). space and is exploring other renewable sources of energy such as wind, biomass and solar to keep the flag flying. With minimal reservoirs, small hydro does not impact the environment compared to large hydro units. The

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best part is not only does small hydro produce cleaner electricity than fossil fuels, but as the water passes through the generator, it is directed back into the stream and leaves almost no impact on the surrounding environment. “It is a great resource for all countries to tap given the longevity of the equipment. It makes great sense to invest in small hydro power because the technology today is far superior and allows for generating high PLFs (plant load factors). The other advantages include a long project lifetime, zero fuel costs, favourable government regulations that favour the private investment and the project’s focus on rural development,” he said. India is a natural home to quite a few places where small hydro can thrive like the Himalayan Region (Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Uttarakhand), the North Eastern states and the Western Ghats (Karnataka, Kerala).


Going green

Talakalale weir He said that the Union Ministry of Non Conventional and Renewable Energy offers upfront capital subsidy and technical assistance. There is support for older projects from the central government and state subsidies for all kinds of projects, old and new. Soham is in the process of acquiring various projects in different states including Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Orissa. On the problems he faced, Sanjith feels that they are part of the growth story but he was undeterred by them. The government of the day should encourage companies like Soham for a greener future. “The obstacles to the commercialisation of renewable energy technologies are largely political and not technical. Besides,

the national grids are not suited to receive electricity from small sources and there is lack of proper government policies that support renewable energy. The other issues include a higher capital cost of these technologies compared to those of conventional energy, limited financing options, red tapism at the government level for the various clearances required and land acquisition,” he said. The solution to overcome these problems is that the authorities need to level the playing field and redress the imbalance of traditional approaches associated with fossil fuels. Safeguarding the environment should be made a priority, because this will ensure a cleaner, greener world. With some officers, it would be great to be innocent till proven guilty, rather than the other way around,

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as a lot of officers today feel private entrepreneurs are here only to make a quick buck and nothing else, he said. The company has raised public equity funds on four occasions, the first one in 2004 from India Clean Fund out of Singapore, second from the global hedge fund, DE Shaw in 2007 and the third time in July 2011 when a consortium of Macquarie (a large Australian headquartered fund) State Bank of India and IFC, Washington (part of The World Bank group) invested Rs 125 crore in Soham Group out of a commitment of Rs 375 crore. On the debt side, the first funding was from HUDCO, REC and Syndicate Bank. Subsequently, we confined to State Bank of India for all the existing and proposed projects with exception of one with ICICI,” he added.  (feedback@businessforall.in)


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Weaving DREAMS

Jonali Saikia Khasnabish

J

onali Saikia Khasnabish is not from a design or a textile background. Neither has she ever worked in an NGO or in a village or goes trekking to remote places. Out of her own admission, she is a city woman, having lived her entire life in different cities. Yet her enterprise Heeya is firmly rooted in the remote villages and small towns. Jonali comes from a family of well qualified professionals settled in senior positions in the industry in India and abroad. Amongst her siblings are a senior Marketing Director in a

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US pharmaceutical, senior officers in a Public Sector Bank and in a PSU Navratna company - and a Chartered Accountant. Jonali’s father was a Government officer in the Govt Of Assam and also a writer. Her only connection to weaving is her mother, who used to weave for pleasure before she joined a full time teaching profession. As most women in the North East India are- from a queen to a worker- every woman weaves and creates dreams. As Mahatma Gandhi famously remarked of the Assamese women on his visit to

August 2013


Handicraft

“I believe that the North East region despite being traditionally rich in hand woven textiles and crafts has not truly been a part of the revolution that saw a comeback of the traditional textiles and crafts.”

Assam - ‘Assamese women weave dreams on their clothes.’ Despite her sound academic background, a passion for writing and a stable career with a reputed multinational, she chose to become an entrepreneur and caught the eye of connoisseurs for promoting the handlooms and textiles of the North East, an oft forgotten and untapped region for many, Jonali narrates her story to Business for all in her inimitable style. I am a graduate in Business Management Graduate and worked

in the corporate sector for 14 years before I wanted to do “something different.” I was working in the Learning Business of a global consultancy and technology major, looking after the training delivery of the company’s Asia Pacific locations. In the midst of travelling, planning new curriculum roll outs and training executives I realised something. I wanted to do something different, I knew that “different venture” had to possess three ‘C’s - creativity, compassion and collaboration – something that would have an impact on the lives of those who really need help, and in a sustainable manner. With this thought, I quit my job in October 2010 without having a ‘real’ idea of what that “something different” would be. I spent some time doing a few other voluntary and social projects to gain some insights and experience and even toyed with a few other business ideas. In the mean time, I was helping my friends with getting some products from Assam on request – I saw there was a fairly encouraging interest in the unique silks and weaves of this region but there was no mainstream

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brand or a store selling them here. That is when I first thought of this idea. As a hobby it was fine but was there truly a business potential in this? Looking around at the average urban population with a growing interest in hand woven/handcrafted products, I was convinced there was a potential. Plus all the products would be eco-friendly, which is where the world is going towards. Thus I started ‘Heeya’ in 2012 with Rs 5 lakh. Heeya means the heart (in Assamese, Bengali and Sanskrit) and like its name suggests, Heeya clothing epitomises purity and joy. The purity of the fabric, being ecofriendly and joy of the weaver who gives his heart and soul to weaving, the product range currently includes Indo western wear, sarees, stoles etc made primarily of exclusive silks like Eri, Muga silk (silks found primarily in NE India) and cotton. There are plans to also include bamboo fibre, jute and other natural fibres to the list. Fabrics are woven by weaver groups in the North East. Wherever working capital is a problem, we provide yarn. After the fabrics are woven, they go through a process of value addition and/or the conversion to garments is done in Bengaluru. Before I started Heeya, I spent a year researching the space and what can be done to promote the wide and rich tradition of North Eastern textiles/crafts and also connect the craftspersons to sustainable markets. I undertook courses in weaving, dyeing and printing from Central Silk Board before I started the journey. I contacted several Government organisations, both in Bengaluru and in Assam, to understand what help I can get in terms of access/


Handicraft

A young Mishing woman at work weaving a custom Heeya fabric in Dhemaji, Assam up and meet market demands. I started out with two groups and now work with six, of which one is in Nagaland and the rest being in Assam. A total of about 100 weavers are directly or indirectly impacted by my enterprise - my goal for 2013 is to impact at least 200 women. Over the last nine months since I An ethnic Kurta made of mulberry started, I have sold through shopin-shop model, online as well as and muga silk with traditional through exhibitions. I now plan to Mishing patterns woven have a store. database. Since the supply is completely With some help from them, I visited dependent on the production by different organisations across these groups, I am looking to have a Assam and understood their crafts modest turnover this year. I see this and organisational and production doubling next fiscal. capabilities. Hurdles: It is not that I walked on Accordingly, I started working to a rosy path in getting to this point. provide them with design specs to There were some hurdles; for instance I am the first generation make custom made materials. I am focusing on leveraging the entrepreneur with everybody else in potential of co-operative groups the family doing white collar jobs. and Self Help Groups as opposed It was difficult to convince my to single/individual weavers so that family why I was taking a leap to the impact on the artisan base would a completely unknown path and away from a career with a renowned be higher. At the same time, I want to make multinational company. sure that the organisation or the Support: My husband Dipankar has society has the capability and intent been the biggest source of support. to produce quality products, scale My sisters are continuously engaged

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and help me with sourcing, selling and connecting. Future Plans: To make North Eastern textiles and crafts a recognised brand. Use technology to improve and sustain market connections. Challenges: As women form the bulk of the weavers and traditionally have been weaving for their own needs rather than for commercial use, there was some uncertainty around the weaving activity if demand is not generated in a sustainable manner. It is likely that the weavers move away from their traditional weaving skills as there is a pressure to earn easy livelihoods. It is thus important to create a sustainable demand around the produce from weavers There are several reasons for staring this initiative: The three quick ones are: Preservation of indigenous skills, enhancement of livelihood and reduction of migration to cities. Advice to budding entrepreneurs: Believe in your idea- check for clarity, conviction and context and then jump headlong.  (feedback@businessforall.in)


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Gaurav Aggarwal

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Travel

High on CAR RENTALS L ANIL KUMAR

W

hy would a foreigneducated postgraduate in computers with a decade of work experience quit his dream job in the US and start a car rental back home? Well, it’s the bad personal experience which triggered a passion among individuals who created hundreds of successful companies. When Gaurav Aggarwal wanted to book a cab from Mumbai to his hometown Roorkee, he realized that the simple act of getting into a cab and meeting his family was an arduous task. So he dug a little deeper and found that car rentals in India, though highly unorganized, presented a very good opportunity. ``Car rentals is not a cut-throat margins business as popularly believed. It’s an area where there is space for organized players. As there was one lacking a pan-India presence, I felt this was a good area and launched Savaari Car Rentals with three other friends,’’ he says looking back at how he started the company in 2006. His co-founders, Mohit Khanna, Rahul Khanna and Manik Shah shouldered the responsibility in giving a world class experience in car rentals to the customers. The company, headquartered in Bangalore currently has 100 employees. Savaari, has a presence

Customers will find newspapers and branded water bottles in our cars along with highly trained drivers who know the local topography. As of now, about 35 per cent of the vehicles in stock sport savaari stickers and logos. ``Slowly, we are making sure all of them do. We encourage vendors to join us as the context changes in every city. in 60 Indian cities in partnership with 158 vendors and clocked over eight lakh trip hours. The company has recently achieved one crore trip kilometers, a sure way of knowing what’s on the road ahead. Aggarwal says in India, rent-a-car model has always meant renting a car with a chauffeur and not a selfdriven model. Back when he seeded

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the idea, there were few big names running on foreign franchisees but were not earning enough revenues in what was a multi-crore market. ``Even today, as much as 96 per cent of the market is unorganized despite the industry worth anywhere between Rs 20,000-30,000 crore.’’ Aggarwal, is originally from Roorkee where his family has been running a fleet of buses for two generations. He doesn’t want to be called a third-generation fleet owner. ``The major difference being they own a fleet while I don’t own any vehicles. I built the pan-Indian car rental business by getting associates.’’ Savaari’s model is to tie up with vendors who have vehicles, train their drivers and ensure that there is a uniform code of service throughout the country. Our criteria for joining is very stringent as we want customers to have the same quality experience whether they hire a Savaari cab in Varanasi, Jaipur or Bangalore. Customers will find newspapers and branded water bottles in our cars along with highly trained drivers who know the local topography. As of now, about 35 per cent of the vehicles in stock sport savaari stickers and logos. ``Slowly, we are making sure all of them do. We encourage vendors to join us as the context changes in every city. So, aggregation works best in our model,’’ says Aggarwal who has a dedicated 24/7 toll free number for easier communication,


Travel enquiries and booking. This is in addition to the website. Savaari’s website http://savaari. com is very user-friendly. Travelling executives and holidaying customers can get onto the net in any city and book a cab. They can click various options to arrive at the cost for half-day, full day or per km for long trips. The website calculates all the cost and the customer knows how much they will have to pay immediately after choosing the type of car or SUV. There is an option either to pay on the net itself or pay the driver as there are several issues with e-commerce. ``Of the 30-35 per cent of retail customers who book on the net, only a third are comfortable with e-commerce. They are mostly foreigners or those booking for senior citizens or for young children who travel alone. It’s a mindset not to pay on the net and our experience has been that due to the stages involved in net payment, there are many drop-offs too,’’ says Aggarwal. Savaari has a good size of inventory and no customer is turned away. And, the company is still building on size. As a car rental, Aggarwal is aware that safety of women customers is paramount. The company has built an Android application where the driver is tracked at all times. It is essentially built for womens’ safety. He also accepted the Star Young Entrepreneur Award at the sixth India International Innovation Summit. While a lot was happening on the ground, Aggarwal was back in the US while his co-founders managed the day-to-day operations. In 2011, he returned for good as he saw the scale of opportunity and became the CEO. The founders are happy with the way things have shaped up. The only thing Aggarwal regrets is that people in India don’t value those who provide services. ``They don’t

treat the driver well, because they don’t see him as another human being,’’ he says. Customer’s attitude also changes once they come to know that the driver actually owns the car. ``He is given more respect immediately.’’ Sixty per cent of the total revenues of Savaari come from corporates. But, that share is dropping as retail end of business is picking up. ``Corporate earnings were 70 per cent last year, but dropped this year. It is expected to drop further,’’ he says. Savaari has over 500 corporate customers who include MNCs, SMEs and travel partners including OTAs using the services. Last year, in March they received series A funding of US $ 1 million from Inventus Capital partners and are now in line for another round of funding. Aggarwal says building a car rental brand is tough as it’s mostly word of mouth. For

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customers the trips should be hassle free, comfortable and without hiccups. Savaari advertises online only but there is a strong push to build the brand and market it. They are looking at more offline advertising as this will help improve brand-recall. The fact that there are more retail customers is proof that the company has reached where it desires. In the next five years, Savaari plans to be India’s largest car rental company. With adequate funding and a proven business and service model that it has now, Savaari is eyeing 35 per cent of the market share of this unorganized sector. The target is achievable, says Aggarwal, as the company has already experienced over one lakh car rental days. The scalability challenge will be to add more corporate and retail customers, adding more local fleet owners and adding more cities.  (feedback@businessforall.in)


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New States ,

MORE BUSINESS

T

BFA TEAM

he ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Congress Working Committee have given the nod for the formation of Telangana. While the decision is bound to end the protracted struggle and uncertainty, the formation of the new states Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will open up plethora of entrepreneurial opportunities. Though there are still doubts over the procedural formalities for the process, the UPA at the Centre on July 30 resolved to create the 29th state in India within four to five months. The likely fallout of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh is seen as an opportunity for entrepreneurs in both the States.

If all goes well, two states will be born of out of the present State by early 2014 and Hyderabad city will be the common capital for both the States till 2024. Whatever may be the responses of politicos, the reaction of industry and economists is unanimous – that there will be no further uncertainty on the fate of Hyderabad and that of other regions. Business can be back on tracks and investments can flow back. The new states may go whole hog in trying to woo investors in their newfound enthusiasm following their new identity. “Initially there may be some hiccups, but once it becomes clear that there are going to be two new states – Telangana and Andhra Pradesh- it will be time for economic reconstruction and tremendous business opportunities will be thrown open in both the states,” JA Chowdary, noted venture capitalist and former director of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), Hyderabad told “Business for all.” According to him, Brand Hyderabad will continue to shine, whether it is Andhra Pradesh or Telangana. “In fact, the creation of one more new state will in no way diminish the

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significance of Hyderabad, which is a global hub of IT and pharma industry,” Chowdary said. Both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh (as new Andhra and Rayalaseema state is called) will depend on Hyderabad as their economic hub, he said. Echoing similar views noted industrialist Yarlagadda Harischandra Prasad said, “more than Hyderabad, it is coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema that will witness phenomenal growth in the next two decades. Till date, growth in Andhra Pradesh has just been limited to Hyderabad, but it will spread to other cities Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, and other places henceforth.’’ Harischandra Prasad who heads Maalakshmi Power was a former chairman of CII’s Andhra Pradesh chapter. He said, ‘’the split will attract investments to Nellore, Kurnool, Anantapur and Chittoor which are closer to major ports and other metros like Chennai and Bengaluru. This is a boon for entrepreneurial chances.” The construction of a massive new state capital for Andhra Pradesh in the Seemandhra region will give a greater opportunity to many entrepreneurs in the fields of infrastructure and


Economy services sectors. “Around Rs one lakh crore worth investments will go into construction of new state capital for the new state in the next 10 years. This is a boost for thousands of entrepreneurs,” said P Satya, of Transtroy Company. The agriculture rich coastal Andhra and minerals rich Rayalaseema too will strive hard to kick start more industries to provide employment to people. The Andhra Pradesh state rulers will push for more in backward districts like Dr YSR Kadapa, Prakasam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts. The economic activity will be more in coastal cities like Visakhapatnam, Machilipatnam, Kakinada, Nellore, Nizampatnam and Bhavanapadu with seaports and new ones being planned. The focus of IT heads shifted to Hyderabad since the last decade when other cities like Bengaluru reached saturation levels. Now, if for some reason, industry honchos want to look beyond Hyderabad the city that fits the bill as of now is Visakhapatnem. However, in the changed circumstances following a decision on bifurcation, other cities like Kurnool, Tirupati, Vijayawada, Ongole and Nellore may find some favour. The real estate sector will boom in coastal Andhra, particularly in and around the proposed new capital city, while the demand will dip in Telangana. This, in turn, will enable more industries to come up in the coastal and Rayalaseema districts. The Andhra Pradesh state will be surplus in power as it has NTPC power project in Visakhapatnam, Srisailam hydel project, Rayalaseema thermal power project, Vijayawada thermal power project and another 26 thermal projects coming up in the vicinity of Krishnapatnam seaport in Nellore district. A retired IAS officer S Balasubramaniam provided the reasoning why formation of new states is good for entrepreneurs: “The basic reason for separate state

Whatever may be the responses of politicos, the reaction of industry and economists is unanimous – that there will be no further uncertainty on the fate of Hyderabad and that of other regions. Business can be back on tracks and investments can flow back. demand was creation of more jobs for local people. This will be possible only when more small and medium industries are set up and there is a scope for more entrepreneurs to fill the slot.” The small and compact administration, which would come up in place of one huge apparatus operating from Hyderabad, will encourage many enterprises in the proposed industrial corridor between Visakhapatnam and Kakinada and another industrial belt between Anantapur and Chittoor connecting Chennai and Bengaluru. This belt is expected to attract around Rs one lakh crore in next five years. Andhra Pradesh IT minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah who spoke to “Business for all” said: “I am 100 per cent sure that both regions are good for entrepreneurs. As the two states will encourage basic infrastructure like power, irrigation canals, roads, buildings, schools, hospitals, there will be lot many opportunities for entrepreneurs and rapid industrialization too.” Though there will be two separate

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states, the people to people bond between two Telugu speaking states will not ebb so soon and fast. So, there will be a lot of connectivity in business, in terms of hotels, transportation and investments in both the states – Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. For example, all major banks and companies will open their second headquarters in the new state, a good scope for entrepreneurs. Above all, the non-Telugu speaking entrepreneurs and investors who had already made their presence in Hyderabad are positive about the future scenario. “I think, we will have tremendous opportunity to build new physical and social infrastructure in both the states and entrepreneurial avenues will be manifold,” Kamal Raj Shahay, former CII’s AP chapter secretary. On the other hand in Telangana, Ranga Reddy and Medak districts in Telangana, where industries are already thriving, will witness more investments because of their proximity to Hyderabad. Telangana state will spur industrial growth in Nalgonda which has vast lime stone deposits, the raw material for producing cement, along Krishna River. The rich natural resources in Telangana like coal, limestone and cement industry will attract more investments in the years to come and the new state will do its best to tap them vigorously. Even Mahbubnagar district also has industrial estates at Kothur and Jadcherla where the investors would look in to start new ventures. Khammam is the other district in Telangana but it is predominantly agrarian due to abundant supply of water resources. Power and water are vital for any industry and there are two thermal power stations - Kothagudem, (720 MW) in Khammam district and Kakatiya Power project at Bhoopalpally (500 MW) in Warangal district at present. The installed capacity at Jurala hydel power project is 234 MW while the


Economy Nagarjunasagar generates hydel power to the extent of 770 MW. In all, the installed capacity is 2,224 MW but one cannot be assured of hydel power as it depends on availability of water in the projects. The new power projects that are coming up in Telangana state are; Nagarjunasagar tail pond (50 MW), second stage of Kakatiya power project (600 MW), lower Jurala hydel project (534 MW) and the thermal power project at Sattupalli (600 MW). The capacity addition will be 1784 MW but will take time. The thermal power project near Karimnagar is managed by Centrallyowned National Thermal Power Corporation Limited and the power generated is distributed among all southern states and also Power Grid Corporation of India Limited. It will be a big challenge for the rulers of Telangana state to meet the power demands of the industry as well as the businesses and domestic consumers, which is more than 2500 MW at present. Since Telangana region has one fifth of coal reserves in the country, the Telangana rulers will look to set up more thermal power stations in the coming years. Commenting on the unfolding scenario, an investment banker points out that the locals Telanganites should shed their conservatism and should be prepared to take risks in business. Association of Lady Enterprebneurs of Andhra Pradesh (ALEAP) President, Ms A Rama Devi, sees the carving out a new state as a great opportunity for new entrepreneurs. She has felt that the new state of Telangana will try to create a brand image for itself and vie for the investments with a new industrial policy laced with incentives tio new entrepreneurs. She added that the new State shall also devise a revenue model as the government also needs money to develop infrastructure if it has to attract new industries and fresh investment. This will transform

The new States may go whole hog in trying to woo investors in their new-found enthusiasm following their new identity…. They can vie for new projects with some success, if they are pro-active, given the proven competence of the neighbouring states in attracting new projects. the industrial landscape and help in reaping economic gains. It would be interesting to watch how the Indian diaspora, particularly, those hailing from Telangana, responds to the new and emerging scenario with regards to investments. The primacy of Hyderabad as far as industry is concerned, might now give way to a situation wherein Hyderabad will get some competitors in the remaining Andhra Pradesh state. This however, is not to say that Hyderabad will lose its sheen any sooner. In this background, it is proper to see which other cities will be the new entrepreneur-friendly kids on the block. As is well known, infrastructure will play a key role in the flow of investments. It is pertinent to note here that some IT industry captains assert that Hyderabad has a better infrastructure than cities like Bangalore and Chennai. Rama devi struk a note of caution and said that the new states will have to compete with neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu and Karanataka. The new states can vie for new projects with

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some success, if they are pro-active, given the proven competence of the neighbouring states in attracting newer and newer projects. So it will be difficult for any other city in the state to reach this enviable position any sooner. A number of industries are located in the three Industrial Estates of Chandulal Bardari, Sanathnagar and Azamabad In the city of Hyderabad. A few industrial oases in Patancheru, and adjoining areas of Hyderabad house S.S.I / Tiny Units. The city also called as Cyberabad has good communication, rail and road connectivity, banks, STPH, Hitech City at Madapur, other theme parks such as Apparel Export Park, Export Promotion Park, Hardware Park, Biotech park etc on the outskirts of the city. Further, the presence of various training institutes, offer ample scope for the growth and development of SSI & Tiny sector in the district A report of the Commissioner of Industries, Hyderabad, identifies investment opportunities in the following areas: Agro Based Industries: Processing and packaging of snack foods, bakery products, confectionary, vermicelli, instant mixes of idly and dosa. Textile: Embroidery works, readymade garments Horticulture based Industries: dehydration of vegetables, cold storage. Mineral based industries: cement products, laminated safety glass, glass mirrors, stoneware pipes Miscellaneous Products: pearls processing, lac bangles, diamond cutting & polishing and I.T, I.T.E.S & B.P.O. One will have to wait and watch the nature of business environment the respective governments would create to generate economic wealth for social good. Businesses will be interested to know the shape of things to come.  (feedback@businessforall.in)


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Innovation

Committed to a CAUSE

Priya Naik

“A

V L SRINIVASAN sk not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” His famous words formed part of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s speech when he took over as U.S. President

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on January 20 in 1961. They not only brought to the fore the patriotism among an entire generation for over five decades but continues to be a source of inspiration for many around the world even today and the Mumbaibased social entrepreneur Priya Naik is no exception.


Social venture

Priya could have made millions as she did Masters in Economics from Yale University, and another Masters in Public Policy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA and the third one in Commerce from Mumbai University where she stood first in the entire graduating class. She wanted to repay to the society which made her into what she

is today and founded Samhita (Collective Good) Social Ventures, an organization helping NGOs, corporations, philanthropists, donor agencies, and individuals collaborate for huge scale social impact in 2009. Samhita is a social venture which aims to provide social organizations with access to funds, people, knowledge, networks and customers. Interestingly, Samhita Social Ventures evolved from Priya’s work with the Nadathur family’s social initiatives in the areas of nature conservation, art, education for differently-abled children, and livelihood generation through micro enterprise. Earlier, Priya co-founded The Spark Group, an education company that delivered affordable education to low income communities. Priya’s interest in social entrepreneurship began when she worked as a researcher at the Poverty Action Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the U.S. At MIT, she was part of two studentled startups – Aerovax, a company that created safe, inhalable aerosol vaccines that could be delivered without the use of needles and Kalpataru, a company that delivered innovative, low-cost technology to increase the efficiency of micro finance institutions. Kalpataru’s pilot was tested with the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and was presented to Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus. Both social enterprises won several awards at MIT. She also worked as a consultant with the International Finance Corporation in Africa. She started her career in Accounting at Arthur Andersen in Mumbai. Her career is an interesting fusion of on-the-ground grassroots solutions through enterprise and

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“What has changed in a big way in recent times is the way CSR is perceived by companies. From an optional activity, CSR has become strategic – something that will boost the company’s triple bottom line – profits, people and planet.” strategic consulting experience with established companies, a perfect combination for understanding and implementing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects across the board. In an interview to Business for all, she discussed her project, the need for making CSR a mandatory for the companies to help the needy sections of the society among others. Excerpts: Your academic record is impressive. You could have easily got into a plush job making millions. Still you decided to start Samhita and is there any specific reason for the same? The key driver for me is not money, but the desire to ensure that everyone, regardless of caste, religion, country of birth or their family’s income levels, gets access to equal opportunities. I set up Samhita with the vision of connecting people with resources to those that have devoted their life to public service. What kind of people/organizations were youlooking for when you started Samhita? I was looking for people and organizations that were not just committed to creating social change, but, those that also believed that


Social venture

Samhita team. collaboration was critical to solving the diverse set of challenges that we as a country face. It is virtually impossible for any single individual/organization to address the socio-economic issues that Indians combat on a daily basis. It was,therefore, important for me to build a network of people that had the vision and commitment to leverage their expertise to work collaboratively to pursue initiatives that would create significant social impact. When it came to building my team, the first quality that I look for is commitment to enabling social good. A lot of people have passion for social service and recognize the fulfillment that comes from it. However, not a lot of people are ready to go through the grind of social work or make the sacrifices one needs to in terms of finances and comfort. It needs die-hard commitment to be able to take these things in one’s stride. Of course, beyond this, there are qualities such as strategic thinking, effective communication, utmost professionalism and a general sense

of enterprise that allows them to constantly find opportunities to collaborate with peers and develop programs/services that truly impact the social organizations that we serve. Among all which section is the more vulnerable in the Indian society in the present day scenario and how best the NGOs and other like-minded organizations can safeguard its interests? In my opinion, the youth that come from low income communities are the most vulnerable. Many of them have typically had childhoods in which they have either been deprived of basic rights such as education and health care or have even faced extremely precarious challenges such as drugs and sex abuse. This section is the future of our country and can be swerved in any direction. Their energies and ambition can be channelized into very productive results by providing them with substantial education and employment opportunities. At the same time, they also run the risk of turning to violence, crime and terror if not harnessed well.

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The social sector is already addressing the needs of this sector, or at least has begun to. In the last decade, the focus of philanthropy has shifted from feeding the poor to impart skills to them and make them productive citizens. Several corporates, foundations and philanthropists today are investing in vocational training programmes that are tied to employment opportunities. There is a lot more work to be done though. Livelihoods are only part of the solution. There is urgent need for sensitizing society on burning issues such as gender equity and judicious use of resources. How conscious is the Indian corporate sector as far as its social responsibility is concerned? It is difficult to generalize the mindset of the corporate sector in India with respect to social responsibility. Work in this space spans the entire spectrum ranging from philanthropy to strategic corporate sustainability. There are several companies that have been practicing philanthropy at an institutional level for several decades now. For many companies, this is driven


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Social venture by the founder/owner while for some others it is driven by the corporate leadership. There are several smaller companies too that have embarked on the process of enabling social good through their work. Technology startups are a good example. What has changed in a big way in recent times is the way CSR is perceived by companies. From an optional activity, it has become strategic – something that will boost the company’s triple bottom line – profits, people and planet. The philosophy that CSR does not need to be an additional exercise but can be embedded with the company’s business needs and longterm sustainability is soon catching up, and Samhita is playing a key role in promoting and propagating this. With the Companies’ Bill soon to be enacted, social activity will become a mandate and will fuel action from a lot of companies, small and big. It is going to be an exciting time when thousands of crores of rupees will fund key programmes on the ground. At Samhita, we have already started the process of channelising funds from corporate sector into impactful programmes. We look forward to doing much more of this in the future. Did you face any problems in convincing the corporate world to help the non-governmental organizations and civil societies in helping the needy sections of the society? The key to doing this smoothly and successfully is to have a sense of how social programmes will address the business objectives of the company. At Samhita, we have devised a robust framework that includes participation from the company leadership, heads of individual business units and representatives of employees.

Samhita receives proceeds from the DNA iCAN Women’s Marathon 2013 for its Support A Woman program.

At TechCamp Mumbai 2013, a technology conference for NGOs organized by US Consulate Mumbai and Samhita. This exercise is aimed at helping a easier for corporate world to invest company identify its own needs in in social good and make them terms of social responsibility and accountable on this front. arrive at programs that will address We would also like to see a much those needs. In this way, there greater boost from the government is a lot more ownership of such to social enterprises and social projects from the company since it businesses – ones that work to create came from them and was an answer social impact through a model that to their requirements. generates revenue and will be selfWith the corporate world sustainable in the future instead of shouldering its responsibility in depending on grants and donations. helping the weaker sections of the Social enterprises have shown society, what should be the role of immense promise in revolutionizing the social sector. government in this direction? The Companies Bill is a big step in At Samhita, we have now included this direction. We look forward to social enterprises in our axis of more such legislations that make it impact, and are working to create

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Social venture meaningful connections between corporate sector and social enterprises. What are your future plans to strengthen Samhita? Samhita is right now in a very interesting and promising place. It is at the epicenter of Indian social landscape. In the last one year, we have grown by leaps and bounds, both in terms of the number of clients and partners we have worked with, as well as the sheer volumes of beneficiaries we have addressed. While our core service offering still remains CSR strategy, consulting and programme implementation, we have diversified into a host of other activities such as managing grants of international foundations, monitoring progress and assessing impact of programs, running fundraising campaigns, hosting capacity-building conferences, as well as conducting trainings for developing fundraising and communications expertise. We have also streamlined our services to our network of NGOs and are in the process of revamping our donation portal that will help NGOs raise funds in an easier and quicker manner. These are exciting times for us and it would be interesting to see where

Beneficiaries being trained at the Stayfree Women For Change health camp we go from here. You are a role model for many budding entrepreneurs and what advice you would like to give them? I have three pieces of advice: 1. Have conviction in what you are doing. While entrepreneurship has its share of highs, it is also a journey that is fraught with a series of boring, monotonous, tedious tasks as well as with times when it seems as if no one other than you

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believes in your idea. It is therefore important to have faith in one’s ideas and continue to energize and inspire those that are working on your idea. 2. Take time to learn. I wish I had spent more time learning from others before I became an entrepreneur. Becoming an entrepreneur requires you to be a master of all trades – business strategy, product development, sales and marketing, fund raising, HR, accounting, etc. The more experience you have before becoming an entrepreneur, the more competent you will be in that role. 3. Understand the cost of failure. This advice is most relevant for social entrepreneurs. Social enterprises are usually set up to serve the underprivileged. When a social entrepreneur fails, he stops delivering a critical service to a community that depends on him. I have seen instances of entrepreneurs who shut down their ventures because they are bored or because they are faced a difficult situation. At times when you want to give up, because things are looking bleak, stop for a moment and think of the impact of your actions on those that have come to rely on you.  (feedback@businessforall.in)


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Education

Moulding the FUTURE MINDS

W

KAVITA SREEKUMAR

hat happens when a seasoned entrepreneur focuses his attention on posterity and sustainability of future generations? A social enterprise is born with a definite purpose. Mindgardenz, of Kirk D’Cruz is an organization that targets youth and their future. Kavitha Sreekumar tries to find more about the Mumbai-based Kirk D’Cruz and Mindgardenz Enterprise started by him to nurture the community and provide knowledge through fulfillment. Kirk D’Cruz, the president and CEO of Mindgardenz, transitioned from an energy professional to an educationist working for children and young adults. What made him divert his attention from energy to children and youth? Says Kirk, “Energy has always fascinated me, and for my latest entrepreneurial stint, I have chosen a path to energize young minds.” Kirk has 24 years of experience as an energy entrepreneur. As a founding partner, he had headed Eudekh group of companies which supplied oil and lubricants for the marine industry and was associated with the Royal/Dutch Shell group of companies. He says, “I have also worked with the Shell Group as their India head for Shell India Markets Pvt. Limited.” His transition to a new and unchartered field came as the result of a realization that the young generation lacks a perspective about the direction that they need to take to maximize their strengths. He says, “children are not responsible for this lack of perspectives, they are intelligent and intuitive. The problem lies with the adults who are becoming more and more isolated by the day, resulting in their families to remain in a shell of their

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Education

Kirk D’Cruz addressing a session of Mindgardenz own.” It has become difficult to find people who interact and spend time with their neighbours, he adds. Kirk positioned Mindgardenz as a platform that maximizes value by creating a community that “nurtures the mind” and “cultivates the intellect” of the young. “The purpose,” he says, is holistic development - development of the whole body, mind and spirit, with particular focus on the mind. Part of this objective is also to shift the focus of attention on to ourselves and not the careers to facilitate holistic life management, based on the foundation of simple living, high thinking, sharing, aiding and giver’s gaining. In collaboration with like-minded people, Mindgardenz aims to mould individuals into wellrounded personalities and bring fulfillment and energy to their lives by gaining knowledge through community participation. The organisation targets children, adults,

parents, teachers, families, schools, colleges, institutions and corporates to guide them in maximizing their potential.

counsel children regarding their studies, reading habits, and so on. Says Kirk, it took time for people to accept counseling as well.

Mindgardenz Enterprise was launched in November 2011. “Our biggest problem when we started was to get people interested in the concept of social engineering to create a vibrant community spirit. The novel concept that approaches the present and future generations with the idea of providing accelerated learning, and dissemination of knowledge through information faced troubles of acceptance.” Initially, Mindgardenz conducted a series of awareness programs inits head office at Powai, and provided vocabulary-building programs for children. “We were able to help children increase their vocabulary by as much as 7,000 words through a 21-day program and become a hit with children as well as their parents.” They started getting requests to

Mindgardenz approaches dissemination of knowledge using a five garden virtual estate concept spread across the fields of education, training, consulting, library, and counseling. “Perhaps we would be the first training organization in the world to introduce children to management through a 3-day workshop.” The program was a hit with children and parents. “We have been flooded with requests to offer the program in other countries as well.” Mindgardenz is planning to launch the Young MBA program in the United Kingdom, the UAE, Canada, Singapore and Australia by the end of the year.

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He adds, “We want to remain intensely focused on children’s intellectual development. We restrict


Education

Children during a session of Mindgardenz

the batch sizes to a maximum of 15 students and create an informal and non stifling atmosphere.” For training, the Mindgardenz adapts the International Baccalaureate (IB) syllabus that caters to a rapidly globalizing world. “We have found that IB allows maximum flexibility as compared to the other school syllabi and adapted ourselves to it. At the same time it is adaptable to address children from all streams,” adds Kirk. Have they reached a break-even? “Not yet,” says Kirk. “We expect to achieve break-even in the next two years. Right now, I am using the resources from my earlier entrepreneurial stints for this purpose, and I am getting immense satisfaction impacting young lives in a positive way.” Having launched workshops such as Young MBA, and Young Supermindz, Mindgardenz is gearing up for its next big event. “We are planning to launch a gapyear program for students who pass out of tenth standard by the

Mindgardenz, as a platform that maximizes value by creating a community that “nurtures the mind” and “cultivates the intellect” of young minds. “The purpose is holistic development development of the whole body, mind and spirit, with particular focus on the mind. end of this academic year. A gapyear is a new concept in education where the children will be exposed to all the subjects and disciplines during a period of a year. The idea behind the program is to equip the student to plunge into higher

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education.” Kirk believes that the present educational system is not equipped to provide the students with adequate information about the immense possibilities available. He informs that Mindgardenz will be an answer to this and will provide an alternative to parents and children to explore higher education which now remains a largely unchartered territory for children above 15-years. He observes that today we see an increasing trend where parents are sending their wards for extended stints abroad to experiment with life and learning before taking up formal studies. What is the growth model for the organization? Says Kirk, “we are approaching schools in Mumbai to launch our programs in a big way, and a number of events are in the pipeline.” Mindgardenz is looking at a franchise model to expand to other localities in the city and beyond Mumbai. His wife Priya, a HR professional, and two children, Jino and Danyeshka ably support Kirk in his endeavor.  (feedback@businessforall.in)


Man with INSTINCT

Avinash Jain

I

RAMA KRISHNA SANGEM

f someone says entrepreneurship lies in genes, many of us may not agree. But, Avinash Jain, a 42 year old entrepreneur from Delhi firmly believes that entrepreneurship is an inherent quality and that it cannot be taught by others. “The will to start something comes to us naturally and Business for all

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automatically. It is like instinctual decision and rest follows,” Jain told “Business for all.” Still, many not concur with Jain, who completed BCom and stopped further studies as he was preoccupied with the phenomenal growth in his business. A close look at his 25 year- long saga reminds us of the twists and turns of a Bollywood film and


Electrical goods

Pradesh. One would find it hard to believe that Avinash started it as a tiny startup with a paltry Rs 5,000, in 1988. That is the story. When several of his other classmates were simply enjoying the summer holidays in May 1988, Avinash, who finished his Intermediate in Delhi thought of launching a hardware shop at Palam area in the city. The reason was he was witness to the struggles of his father who was into construction activity as a material supplier with meagre returns. “As entrepreneurship was in my genes, I wanted to toe a different line, of hardware business,” Avinash said. During that summer vacation, Avinash with the help of his elder brother Amit Jain, borrowed Rs. 5,000 from his father as hand loan. They opened a small hardware shop in a rented 120 sq ft space in Palam, named as Amith Brothers. Many his family circle and friends looked at him with suspicion.

proves that not everyone can set up startups and steer them on to the path of profits and growth curve. Today, Avinash heads Arise India Limited, a Rs 855 crore company manufacturing electronics, invertors, gas and electrical geysers, air conditioners, mobile batteries and other appliances. The company has factories in Haryana and Himachal

But, Avinash knew that his decision was right. “Initially, we started our business by selling paints and adhesives and other tapes etc. We hired two shop assistants. I and my brother visited construction sites and promoted our trade and soon we began getting customers,” Avinash recalled those early days. Responding to the market demand, the young Jains sold other related material like waterproof motors and assembled parts of machines used in construction activity. “This clicked within a short time and we started getting big orders. Within six months, I started taking a salary of Rs 3,000, a big amount in those days,” he said.What drew him accolades from his family was the fact that Avinash was handling this budding business while continuing his graduation, BCom from Motilal Nehru Degree College in Delhi.

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Avinash took most of the business development decisions but brother Amit’s presence was always an asset to the firm. Though revenues were flowing, the initial days were not without hiccups. Avinash and Amit faced tough times when a lot of material was sold on credit and many clients defaulted on payments. “A lot of time was spent on recovering the money from customers. That consumed a lot of time while running the business. The lesson we learnt was to be choosy in credit sales,” said Avinash.By 1990, the business was on solid ground and the annual turnover crossed Rs 3 lakh. As revenues were good, the Jains ploughed back all the money they made. “We saved a lot by not spending on advertising and our dependence on word of mouth publicity of plumbers’ network . This boosted our sales and also established credibility to us.” This would have been a routine story, had Avinash and his brother had stopped at this. But they did not. Like all forward looking entrepreneurs, they never ceased to spot the opportunity in a crisis. One day, Avinash took his TV to a mechanic for repair. Quickly, he found that they were not many quality mechanics in the market to service electronic equipment.“Then, I noticed that there was a shortage of good electronic gadgets backed by effective customer care. While Indian electronic manufacturers would not focus on quality, the foreign goods do not have sound customer care after sales. Then, I decided to enter into electronics sector with quality after sale service back up,” Avinash said. Electronic and telephone sectors offered tremendous potential for growth.


Electrical goods

Avinash jain, with kids of a social responsibility drive of Arise India Then the Jain brothers purchased another plot measuring 540 sq ft, for Rs 50,000 in Palam area. To begin with, they ventured into invertors business, as Delhi suffered huge power cuts.Simultaneously, the brothers also traded in assembled and branded electronic goods and backed them up with quality after sales service. The business bustled with customers and the same plot is the corporate office of Arise India currently. But, they remained focused on invertors as there was a growing demand from Delhi, UP, Haryana which experienced server outages.In 1993, the Jains went for an additional investment of Rs 15 lakh, chiefly raised through own venture surplus and the turnover touched Rs 30 lakh within a few months. “Then we were forced to expand our business and revamp it. For that, we had to rename our business as Arise India, keeping in view our plans to grow bigger and nationwide”. Arise

India came as new brand in 1995. Though Arise India quickly caught the imagination of customers of invertors and electronic equipment, the Jains had not shut down their original venture, Amit Brothers. It still exists and is doing a good business. But, the brothers’ focus is on Arise India. Right from inverters and chargeable batteries and motor pumps, the firm has become a reliable name for appliances line in Delhi and other areas.In 2003, Avinash sensed the market needs of youth who starting using a variety of mobile phones and other accessories. “Then, we entered the mobile phones line too. We introduced a range of devices to cater to the demand from youth. Then, we had to explore the market of related verticals, like electrical fans, LED TVs, and airconditioners,” Avinash explained.In July 2013, Arise India has a turnover of Rs 855 crore and has 45 offices

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across the country, but mostly in the North India. The company which started with just two shop assistants has over 3,000 employees now, most of them executives and engineers. “My aim is to touch Rs 6,000 crore by 2020 and expand our presence to South and East India too,” Avinash shares his dream.Avinash and his brother today draw a monthly salary of around Rs 10 lakh. But, they are also now aiming to tap the up market customers who earn decent salaries and demand quality appliances and after sales services. Avinash who became an entrepreneur during his student days knows well that nothing short of killer instinct to achieve perfection would help a start up succeed. Over 10,000 distributors and scores of awards from state and central governments and other industry bodies that Arise India got are testimony to the instinct.  (feedback@businessforall.in)


IPE leads SME training

T

executives of various public and private enterprises. The institute also addressed the needs of establishments across India. According to Prof. Sai Kumar, IPE requires its faculty members to travel to Nepanagar, a paper production hub in Madhya Pradesh while another team will go to Duliajan in Assam for conducting training programmes in management.

C. ANAND KUMAR REDDY

he Institute of Public Enterprise (IPE), the fourth highest ranked management institute in South India and second in Andhra Pradesh, is offering programmes in Manufacturing Excellence with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as the key focus. The current Director of IPE is Prof. R.K. Sinha. Speaking to Business for all, Prof. ML Sai Kumar, IPE Dean, said that the Institute conducts training programmes in Export Documentation as several SMEs export their products. The premier management institute was established as a non-proďŹ t autonomous society in 1964, at the initiative of SS Khera, the then Cabinet Secretary, Government of India. Its setting up was actively supported by the then Vice-Chancellor of Osmania University, Dr DS Reddy and Dr VV Ramanadham, the then

ML Sai Kumar Professor and Head, Department of Commerce. The Institute is mainly into – consulting, executive training, management education and research. The Institute has highly acclaimed faculty who conduct training programmes to employees and

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Further to on-campus executive training programmes and programmes conducted at other places, the IPE conducts Open Programmes by giving wide publicity in brochures to public and private enterprises. The companies in turn nominate some of their employees for training at the IPE. Excerpts from an interview with Prof. Sai Kumar: What distinguishes IPE from other mainstream management institutes in terms of management education and training?


Institution Our faculty are known not just for teaching. They are actually consultants to various business enterprises. Ours is one of those few academic institutions whose faculty members figure in the committees and Commissions set up by the Government of India from time to time. I must add that many of the IPE faculty members have industry experience. The best part is they bring their past experience in respective industries into the class rooms. Then, how different is the actual teaching in the IPE’s class rooms? The teaching methods usually involve case studies, role plays, group discussions and team work. Apart from regular academic programmes, we usually conduct about 80 training programmes (called Management Development Programmes- MDPs) every year. You said about 98 percent of the 300 odd students pass out every year, get placements. Are there any students who have started their own enterprises? I can say at least one student passing out every year, is setting up a small or medium-scale enterprise in order to leverage the skills he possesses. Does every prospective entrepreneur require training from an academic institution like yours? To what extent does training helps? It is true that there are exemplary people who have made it big without any formal training, but training helps an entrepreneur who has fire in his belly, to achieve the milestones more speedily and more easily. What promise does the new campus of IPE at Shamirpet hold for the future and budding entrepreneurs? We have already acquired 22 acres

Of the 300 odd who pass out from IPE every year, one student passing out every year, is setting up a small or medium-scale enterprise in order to leverage the skills he possesses.

for new campus just opposite to the NALSAR campus in Shamirpet. It will come up state-of-the-art infrastructure in a overall built-up area of 2,00,000 square feet.

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The current strength of students is 300 per year. The new campus will enable us to raise the annual intake to about 500 students. It will be a residential learning centre, with a hostel being built for students. It will be a green campus and we are certain to get the LEED and GRIHA certifications. Construction at the site is in fact being closely monitored by the relevant agencies. Your Institute has entered its Golden Jubilee year. We have started the Golden Jubilee celebrations and a series of programmes and activities are being conducted. RBI Governor Dr D Subba Rao has delivered the first of the series of Golden Jubilee lectures.  (feedback@businessforall.in)


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Tax matters

Amnesty for WHOM?

V

oluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme, 2013 (VCES) is a new amnesty scheme introduced vide chapter VI of the Finance Act, 2013 to encourage voluntary compliance by defaulter of service tax. Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, in his budget speech, mentioned that there were nearly 17 lakhs registered assesses under the service tax but only 7 lakhs file their service tax returns. Praveen Reddy The VCES is announced to motivate the defaulters to comply with statute. Simultaneously, the Central Government has issued Notification No 10/2013-ST on May 13, 2013 introducing Service Tax Compliance Encouragement Rules, 2013 (‘the VCE Business for all

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Rules’). The said Rules provide details regarding form and manner of declaration, form and manner of acknowledgment of declaration, manner of payment of tax dues and form and manner of issuing acknowledgment of discharge of tax dues by a person making a declaration under said Scheme. This being the need of the hour, we will focus on the salient features of the scheme and the Rules made there under. Declarant: Any person may declare his tax dues, in respect of which no notice or an order of determination under section 72 or section 73 or section 73A of the Chapter has been issued or made before March 1, 2013. Tax Dues: “Tax dues” means the Service tax due or payable under the Chapter or any other amount due or payable under Section 73A thereof for the period beginning from October 1, 2007 to December 31, 2012 including a CESS, leviable thereon under any other act for the time being in force but not

August 2013


Tax matters paid as on March 1, 2013. Who cannot avail the scheme: The following assessees are not eligible to opt for VCES: The person who has furnished return under section 70 of the Chapter and disclosed his true liability, but has not paid the disclosed amount of service tax or any part thereof, shall not be eligible to make declaration for the period covered by the said return. Where a notice or an order of determination has been issued to a person in respect of any period on any issue, no declaration shall be made of his tax dues on the same issue for any subsequent period. Where a declaration has been made by a person against whom: Any inquiry or investigation in respect of a service tax not levied or not paid or short-levied or short paid has been initiated by way of: Search of premises under section 82 of the Finance Act; or Issuance of summons under section 14 of the Central Excise Act, 1944 as made applicable to the Finance Act under section 83 thereof; or

“Thus, whereas the Scheme may prove a boon for non-filers or stop filers of service tax returns, it may have adverse effect on the morale of regularfilers of service tax returns who have honestly discharged their tax dues.” Requiring production of accounts, documents or other evidence under the Finance Act or the Rules made there under; or an audit has been initiated. And such inquiry, investigation or audit is pending on March 1, 2013, the designated authority shall, by an order, and for reasons to be recorded in writing, reject such declaration. How to avail the benefit of the Scheme

Assessees filing their IT returns

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Registration: Any person, who wishes to make a declaration under the Scheme, shall, if not already registered, take registration under rule 4 of the Service Tax Rules, 1994. Form of declaration: The declaration under sub-section (1) of section 107 of the Act, in respect of tax dues under the Scheme shall be made in Form VCES -1 on or before December 31, 2013. Form of acknowledgment of declaration: The designated authority on receipt of declaration shall issue an acknowledgment thereof, in Form VCES -2, within a period of seven working days from the date of receipt of the declaration. Payment of tax due: The declaring party will have to pay a minimum 50 per cent of the declared tax on or before December 31, 2013 and the balance by June 30, 2014. Where the declarant fails to pay said tax dues or part thereof on or before the said date, he shall pay the same on or before the December 31, 2014 along with interest thereon, at such


Tax matters rate as is fixed under section 75 or, as the case may be, section 73B of the Chapter for the period of delay starting from July 1, 2014. Any service tax which becomes due or payable by the declarant for the month of January, 2013 and subsequent months shall be paid by him in accordance with the provisions of the Chapter and accordingly, interest for delay in payment thereof, shall also be payable under the Chapter. The declarant shall furnish to the designated authority details of payment made from time to time under this Scheme along with a copy of acknowledgement issued to him. Form of acknowledgement of discharge. The designated authority shall issuean acknowledgement of discharge under sub-section (7) of section 107 of the Act, in Form VCES-3. The acknowledgement of discharge shall be issued within a period of seven working days from the date of furnishing the details of payment of tax dues in full along with interest, if any, by the declarant. Refund Any amount paid in pursuance of a declaration made under subsection (1) of section 97 shall not be refundable under any

circumstances. Benefits of the Scheme The declarant, upon payment of the tax dues declared by him under subsection (1) of section 97 and the interest payable under the proviso to sub-section (4) thereof, shall get immunity from penalty, interest or any other proceeding under the Chapter. The declaration made under section 97 shall become conclusive upon issue of acknowledgement of discharge and no matter shall be reopened under the Chapter beforeany authority or court relating to the period covered by such declaration. However if the Commissioner of central excise has reason to believe that the declaration made is false, he may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, serve notice on the declarant in respect of such declaration requiring him to show cause why he should not pay the tax dues not paid or short-paid. However, no such action can be taken after the expiry of one year from the date of declaration. Conclusion The Scheme has been framed with a view to collect tax dues from approximately ten lakh non-filers or stop filers of Service Tax returns. However, a large number of Service Tax assessees engaged in providing Renting of Immovable Property Services who availed the benefit of Section 80 (2) of the Act by paying amount of Service Tax along with Interest (between May 28, 2012 and November 27, 2012) in respect of aforementioned renting of i m m ova b l e property services must be feeling cheated.

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Still worse is the position of those service tax assesses engaged in providing renting of immovable property services who paid not only service tax but also the amount of Interest and Penalty (between Nov 28, 2012 and February 28, 2013) in respect of renting of immovable property services. Thus, whereas the Scheme may prove a boon for non-filers or stop filers of service tax returns, it may have adverse effect on the morale of regular-filers of service tax returns who have honestly discharged their tax dues.Further, such regular-filers may also get discouraged because the Scheme provides amnesty even to those service tax assessees who have not deposited service tax with the Central Government even after collecting the same. Another peculiar aspect of the Scheme is that the Central Government has given a period of nearly two years (from February 28, 2013 to December 31, 2014) to the defaulting service tax assessees for availing the benefitof the Scheme. Looking from a different angle, the Central Government will get the tax dues and interest, if any, arising out of the Scheme in two financial years (2013-14 and 2014-15). The rationale of splitting the revenue (arising out of the Scheme) over a period of two years and allowing time of nearly two years for taking the benefit of the Scheme is not clearly understood. In a nut-shell, the Scheme is advantageous for those service tax assessees who are lucky in the sense that, they have not been issued any Order of Determination before March 1, 2013 in respect of their tax dues for the period from October 1, 2007 to December 31, 2012 under Sections 72, 73 and 73A of the Act. (feedback@businessforall.in)


Success ALL THE WAY

Rajesh Butta

F

rom the dingy lanes of the old city in Delhi to BITS Pilani and to be recognized as a successful entrepreneur, Rajesh Butta has come a long way. Modest to the heart, he says that he has achieved “very little” and has many more miles to go. A graduate of BITS Pilani (198690), he wants start a large diversified

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group commanding the respect of business community in future. He is a serial entrepreneur having business interests in diverse fields including business automation and consulting, e-Learning Content and Delivery, Social Media Marketing, Consulting Academic Institutions, Infrastructure Projects and Education. His sound business acumen with


Serial entrepreneur entrepreneur and his future plans. Excerpts: CHILDHOOD I am born and brought up in Old Delhi till my school days, after which I went to BITS Pilani. I think staying in Old Delhi gave me a lot of character, toughness, ability and confidence to handle any kind of situation. BITS Pilani is a world of its own and it was great fusion for someone like me coming from the walled city and then mingling with people from different backgrounds. I was comfortably able to make friends with anybody and everybody. And this virtue has greatly helped in my entrepreneurial journey. Both my parents come from service background, mother retired from semi-govt. and father from bank, therefore it was always very difficult for them to accept the fact that I chucked up a coveted job as offer trainee in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited for business right after one year. Somehow, I wanted to be an entrepreneur right from my college days or may be even before that. In fact, I planned my first venture in college only along with a friend of mine which was that of opening a private school in a small town in Rajasthan which did not take off.

special focus on business process improvement and automation made him as a clincher, negotiator and relationship oriented person. He worked with The Cussat Enterprises, Mindspring Digital and as a consultant for Vishub Consulting Services, and is associated with Takshila Learning Private Limited as Director where he runs the company providing specialized skills programmes in the

finance domain at present. He is also managing partner of CoNetActivity and also Director of Saarthi, a company in the travel industry and creating some path breaking technology based solutions. In an exclusive interview to Business for all, Rajesh Butta recalls his childhood days, how he quit a plum government job to become a serial

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I believe that entrepreneurship is about having a very different temperament and mental makeup. There are some people who are employee material and it is very difficult to train them to be entrepreneur. Similarly, it is difficult to contain people with entrepreneurship streak in them. The first venture was not with much planning. Just a few close friends of mine had been meeting every evening in CP and deliberating on


Serial entrepreneur different avenues of making money through a business venture. One fine day, I said to myself that enough is enough with the job and next day I was sitting with the father of one of my closest friends talking about sharing office space with him in Karol Bagh on rent but on payable when able term. So, that was enough support to get going. HURDLES Once one gets into business in India, it really tests your mettle, perseverance and patience. And on top of it, when one does not have capital (like us), you need to think of creative solutions to solve complex problems. There was a time, when in order to get sales tax registration done, one needed to have a backing of a guarantor who should be an existing dealer. There was a fixed period of three months within which one needed to complete this formality. But since we did not have any backing, and our Chartered Accountant was an extremely simple guy, I went to meet the sales tax commissioner in order to convey the perspective of fresh college graduates like us wanting to start a business. He gave me a patience hearing and asked the concerned inspector to extend the period for another three months. The biggest reward of that interaction was the fearful look on the face of the sales tax inspector whose palms we never greased. So, hurdles are always a part of any small venture particularly in India where most policies, in order to encourage SMEs, are only on papers. SUPPORT I have been blessed with amazing friends during initial period of

“I believe that entrepreneurship is about having a very different temperament and mental make-up. There are some people who are employee material and it is very difficult to train them to be entrepreneur. Similarly, it is difficult to contain people with entrepreneurship streak in them.” business. In fact our office in Karol Bagh used to be an ADDA for most of our friends to come to in the evening. Therefore conducting business was both fun and hard work. There were times when one of my friends who used to handle the technical part broke his leg in an accident and was immobile. Another friend, employed in a private firm, used to visit our office after his regular work to attend to the technical problems . After I got married, again I consider myself extremely lucky to have found an enormously supportive wife. She has stood by me in thick and thin of life without complaining about anything. She has this typical female’s sixth sense and guides me on and off on key business directions, particularly related to treatment of team members. Her judgment is extremely sharp and frankly she is my greatest critic as well; simply because she expects

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me to be the best in everything I take up. I am a workaholic and work for very long hours to finish off the work on hands. In fact, I do not work by the clock when it comes to working. Any other person in her place would have long divorced me, since for many years I, neither gave her enough of my time nor given her the worldly pleasures every woman desires. Same applies to my parents and kids. I have had hard times financially for several years and my father has been running the whole household stuff out of his pension of whatever savings he managed. I can never be thankful enough for it. Whichever sphere I have worked in I have developed sincere relationships. I have found people to be really nice and supportive in their best possible ways if they find you a gentleman and a fair person. INITIAL INVESTMENT There was zero capital investment. During early days in business, I used to borrow money from my dad whenever we required some working capital and then return him the money once the project was executed with some small interest added. ANNUAL TURNOVER FUTURE PLANS

&

It is difficult to talk about turnover since right now I am involved in multiple ventures in different capacities each having operations team of its own. As far as future plan is concerned, I do plan to setup a large diversified group which is well respected in the business community. So, very little achieved and a long way to go. ADVICE TO ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS An entrepreneur wears different hats during the whole day; he has to learn


Serial entrepreneur to time it rightly. Being hands-on with the work or delegating his job to others, when to be emotional or passionate and when to be practical and critical about him and like-wise. But some tips which I would like to give to budding entrepreneurs are listed below:  One should have some practical exposure before taking the plunge. One must at least know what ‘Business’ is all about.

So, be it your uncle or anybody, you must undertake an internship and learn on the job and understand the processes and structure of an organization. And then, once decided about the venture, learn the tips and tricks of the trade preferably beforehand by interviewing and surveying existing players of the business. After the advent of Google, getting information about anything is so

easy; which was never the case during my starting up days.

(knowledge) wins all kinds of deals and negotiations.

Be the devil’s advocate for the idea you want to launch the business for and definitely figure out the differentiating factors.

…..Spend as much time as possible on self-training; most important of which is training on ‘Selling’, since this is what entrepreneur does the whole day through-out his life span. Selling, selling, selling to employees, to customers, to business partners, to investors, to government and even during his or her matrimonial alliance.

 Try to hire people smarter than you and not ‘yes-man’.  Be a positive thinker and don’t even meet people with negative orientation. There are some people who just depress you.

Never be shy of experiments and trying out new combination and permutations but take calculated risks in the process.

 Test your gut-feel and then go with your instincts.  Read a lot about different businesses and personalities; learn a lot about your business domain; remember ‘Information is King’. He who has more information

Rajesh Butta at work

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…..And last but not the least, there is nothing black and white, there are several shades of grey in between. None of my points mentioned above are 100% true in 100% of situations. A lot depends on judgement which mostly comes through exposure and experiences. If you think you will win; create a mental picture that you have won; and you WILL win.  (feedback@businessforall.in)


The digital MARKETER MADHU KRISHNA

T

he Hyderabad-based GenY Medium, started by two youngsters, has pioneered the concept of direct marketing through digital space. The advent of internet has revolutionized the way every business is done. Even the marketing and advertising, the key elements for success of any business, have

also undergone sea change, but not many have tapped the internet the way GenY Medium, a new startup in digital marketing, is doing for the beneďŹ t of its clients. The young company promoted by two enthusiastic engineers from IIT Bombay has pioneered the unique and rare concept of direct marketing through digital space. You may wonder how direct marketing is done in the chaotic world of digital space. Here is an apt example how GenY Medium

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does it. It all began when a Guntur-based real estate ďŹ rm was looking for a marketing campaign to reach people from Guntur district who settled in the United States. It had a new venture in Guntur and wanted to sell those plots to NRIs. GenY Medium, which succeeded in getting the project, used data available on Facebook and collated the details of majority of people from Guntur who settled in the U.S. With relevant data base of targeted


group in hand, the startup reached them through an attractive and innovative campaign. “This particular client wanted to target people from the district residing in the U.S. The gist of the campaign was that the targeted group may want to help their parents, relatives back home. Besides, they may also be keen to invest in their home district. We delivered the message directly to the target group. That level of micro and hyper targeting we can do,” Yashwant Kumar, co-founder and CEO, GenY Medium, said. Kumar, an engineering graduate from IIT Mumbai, founded the startup in early 2012, along with

his college mate Ravi Jain. Both worked in various global companies including Procter & Gamble before deciding to chart out their own path. “The analogy is that cruise missiles versus carpet bombing. You have an advertisement which you can show to 1000 people through traditional media such as print and television, but just one person may be interested in your product. We can take you to that one person directly. That’s what we call micro marketing and we can do that now effectively,” Ravi Jain said. The young company, which currently employs close to 25 people, has over 20 clients from diverse sectors such

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as healthcare, ecommerce, fashion, retail and education. It provides services to both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) segments. “We can broadly demarcate clients into B2B such as IT and B2C segment such as FMCG, fashion retail, etc. In the B2B side, tools and methodology are different. In essence, we have to identify the decision maker there to make the sale happen. So, obviously the platform for data changes from Facebook to Linkedin or Twitter,” Ravi Jain, who also did an MBA from Indian School of Business, said. GenY Medium has carried out


Micro marketing campaigns for multiple brands across various sectors, besides B2B campaigns. “The number of clients is not important here, but the type of clients we are working for. Most of them are national brands and industry leaders in their respective verticals,” he

said. The company, at present, is providing services to Indiatimes Shopping in e-commerce space while it is Gethanji Jewelleries in jewellery space. In education, it has NIIT, the biggest IT training provider, on its client’s list. “In health insurance, we have MaxBupa Insurance, one of the leading health insurance providers in the country. All of our clients are big and they have been with us from the beginning,” Ravi said. Going forward, GenY Medium intends to focus on health care, education, e-

commerce, fashion and retail. “These are the few sectors we are keen to concentrate on though we will also dabble in other sectors whenever an opportunity arises,” Ravi said. It expects the B2B segment to offers huge opportunities for growth. “To put it in simple terms, everyone is spending enormous amount of time on some form of social media and internet. Brands have to be there where people are spending their time,” Ravi added. Exports are another niche where the startup sees decent scope for growth. “This is different model. So, it is not like running a marketing campaign,” he said. Interestingly, the young company even extended the concept of micro targeting beyond business. It tapped the new concept for the benefit of some non-government organizations (NGOs) and even raised funds for an initiative of IIT Bombay Alumni Association to establish a water plant in Medak district. It used Facebook and spread the word around. Two hundred of the founders’ friends saw the message and made donations. The company also did a campaign for another notfor-profit organization called Youth for Seva. “We know that even political parties are using this kind of marketing to reach out to people. If we go to their official websites, we can see what kind of communication tools they are using,” Kumar pointed out. GenY Medium’s business model is so much promising

Yashwant Kumar

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Micro marketing out by the company have explicitly demonstrated this point.

that the company was able to attract angel investor in just one year of its existence. Srinath Devireddy, a Hyderabadbased angle investor and entrepreneur, picked up a significant minority stake in the venture for US$ 500,000 (nearly Rs 2.9 crore) in May 2013.Further to the delight of founders, he has joined the Board of the company and is now mentoring the management team. “He is an extremely experienced person in IT space, founded several companies and nurtured them into big entities. We are sure that his services will be of immense help to our company,” Kumar said. Srinath said, “GenY Medium’s team and their track record resonates with what I believe is the perfect team to do social media marketing. Social media will overtake traditional media in the near future and the team with the right experience and knowhow will win is my firm belief.” The company is planning to raise some more money a couple of years’ time. “We may raise some more funds in 18 months or so. Right now, our focus is on growth,” he said adding that the company is looking to have 80- member team in 18 months time before going for the next round of funding. That will be a good time to raise the more funds, he added. Has the company developed any technology to mine the data from internet and use it for campaigns? Yes, it has done. “We have developed our own technology which will pull out the data on Facebook. Then we can slice and dice the way we want. For example, if we want to target only male, we can deploy a requisite filter there and do it. We have even collated data of those who got engaged in last six months for a

“The analogy is that cruise missiles versus carpet bombing. You have an advertisement which you can show to 1000 people through traditional media such as print and television, but just one person may be interested in your product. We can take you to that one person directly. That’s what we call micro marketing and we can do that now effectively.” marketing campaign for a wedding planner,” explained Kumar. For companies like GenY Medium, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are sort of gold mines. “They have immense wealth of data which is useful for advertisers. In every profile on the Facebook, you have what they read, eat, browse online and are interested in. Besides, details like their hometowns and other basic inputs are already there,” he said. The founders said that y digital marketing offers huge cost advantage. All the campaigns carried

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“The big benefit of digital marketing is that everything can be measured. How many people saw the advertisement and how many people clicked on it, can be measured. We have measured ROI (return on investment) on all the campaigns we have run so far. All the clients are impressed by the cost advantage that our campaigns offer,” Ravi revealed. According to him, for SMEs (small and medium enterprises), there is no other alternative save the digital marketing as they can’t afford expensive mass media campaigns. For larger brands, they do mass marketing and the digital piece is a small part of their overall marketing strategy. “They earmark 10-15 per cent of the total spend for digital marketing. Even that small piece is huge in terms of fund size,” he added. Marketing studies peg India’s digital marketing size at around Rs 2,000 crore with a CAGR (combined annual growth rate) of 10 to 20 per cent. Of this, Google India takes home Rs 800 crore annually while the remaining pie is shared by other companies in this space. “All this has happened in last five to six years. There were just two million Facebook users in India a few years back. Now the number zoomed to 65 million. If you observe around, you can see how much time people spend on Facebook and Google. Dramatic shifts are happening in digital space in a short span of time,” Ravi explains. However, he could not reveal revenues of GenY Medium. “We can’t share our financials now as there is some sensitivity around it,” was his reply.  (feedback@businessforall.in)


Kalpana Saroj greeting Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhu and other dignitaries at Rashtrapati Bhavan in April this year.

Daughter of DESTINY K.SRUJAN ABRAHAM

K

alpana Saroj, a Dalit woman entrepreneur, a dedicated social worker, Padmashree awardee, a philanthropist, a politician.... one seems to run out of epithets for this lady, who has proved herself in the face of all adversity. She is a firm believer of the age old dictum that there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. She has remained undeterred by the many ups and downs in her life and has managed to bloom like a lotus. Her grit and determination have finally paid as she commands ten businesses worth around Rs 1387 crore as of today. Her exemplary hard work has been rewarded through the Padmashree award for 2013, which she received

at the hands of President Pranab Mukherjee at a glittering function at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. Born in an obscure village of Repakheda, on January 7, 1958, in Akola district in Maharashtra, she was married at a tender age of 12 according to village traditions. She, albeit, all odds, was able to study up to tenth class. Marriage brought unusual challenges in the form of ill treatment at the hands of her inlaws and husband. Unable to bear alleged harassment, she returned home but the will of the village elders prevailed upon her fate. Saroj, returned to Mumbai to carve her destiny armoured with her huge level of confidence and immense energy, determined to break away from old traditions and weather beaten path. She had her roller coaster ride of tough, but she was

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a rebel. She had no support except for the strong belief of her parents in her, “I knew that both my parents were right behind me in every way as Shiva and Parvati, as their name indicates.” Her father was a police constable who had a small income but also had many mouths to feed. So, Kalpana Saroj knew she had only herself, as far as raising initial money. She had to work for a living, and eventually she was lucky to raise funds meant for a startup. She set up a small business of steel furniture, married her fellow businessman and started anew- working 16 hours a day, nearly three decades ago. And today, she is the queen of her fate. She often wonders at the flow of events in her life and conclusively calls herself-“Daughter of destiny.” She has never been shy of experimenting with any business be it real estate, building and construction, beauty clinic, or steel furniture. She started with the tailoring business and today she is the proud owner of a copper tube manufacturing company. You name it, she has achieved it, moving a step upwards with each business venture. She not only redeemed herself from


Manufacturing

Kalpana Saroj received Padmashree award from President Pranab Mukherji. poverty but also her whole family by bringing them to Mumbai and they became a huge joint business family. Although, she still retains an establishment at Akola. “I have learned to take both extremes in my stride. It is easy to wallow in poverty and self –pity but it’s difficult to make it big and stay there,” she adds. Business opportunities presented themselves. Her social work brought her in contact with the workers of Kamani Tubes Ltd. The company was a sick unit with ample labour problems. Initially, it was her social worker spirit that moved her heart to the plight of the workers, who were dying without their bread and butter, sometimes even without basic medication. She waded into their problems and agreed to revive “Kamani”. Big businessmen were not ready to invest in a sick unit. Then she sensed an opportunity . “No doubt, I had the guts to fight it out. It takes courage and strong personal attributes to mould a woman to be successful in a room full of men,” she says. Reviving Kamani Tubes, proved to be a protracted legal battle. Eventually, the court sanctioned the

revival scheme directing her to pay the workers Rs 5 crore in three years which she paid in single stroke. Also, she paid an extra of Rs 1.78 crore ex-gratia, so that it would help them to get on with their lives. Kalpana Saroj, shifted the factory from Kurla to Wada investing substantially to rebuild an ultramodern factory in Wada, as per new technology. She also settled the bank dues at one go and not in instalments of five years, as she believed that public money should go back to where it belongs. Her workers admired and loved her for her large hearted philanthropic act. In its first phase, the production capacity of Kamani Tubes was 3000 tons and in the second phase it was ready to manufacture copper alloy tubes. It was her firm resolve that gave her strength to brave out the odds and made her turn around a sick unit into a successful company. She feels very proud, when she says, “We have started a branch for manufacturing steel manufacturing, steel rolling machinery under the umbrella of Kamani Tubes Ltd. Our new project of Kamani Steels Ltd. is expected to start by Dusserah,” she reveals.

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A smile steals on her face, when she is asked about her foray in politics. According to her, she was associated with the likes of Baban Rao Pachpute and Ramdas Athawale but she wonders if it was really her cup of tea. She sees herself as a business woman and a social worker. “Baba Sahib Ambedkar is my icon. I promote world peace on the path of Gautam Buddha. I have been hailed as a Dalit woman entrepreneur and have been awarded Padmashree for trade. My message is for the downtrodden- Rise and Fight, ” she says. She strongly believes that the bright future of our country is based on identifying and nurturing young talent, both male and female, from diverse backgrounds. She has achieved all her dreams but one and for that she appeals to women entrepreneur from the lower strata of our society to come up in large numbers and contribute to the nation building. She faced several challenges and hurdles because of her social background. However, times have changed and now she is an advisor to the Dalit Chamber Of Commerce and Industry (DICCI) and a role model for women with ambition. She is a bold advocate for women empowerment. She calls upon them to be ever hopeful, face all odds and fight for a better position and a richer life. “Women entrepreneurs, rank higher than men on various skills. They tend to stay longer, work harder and deal with issues head on. They thrive through adversity and have the courage to define them. They can adapt to business setting easily and build a result oriented team. They are great listeners and speakers and are constantly refining their opinions on men and matters, ” she adds. Kalpana Saroj stands out as a beacon of inspiration, courage, grit and determination. A model worth emulating. Anyone ready!  (feedback@businessforall.in)


Tackling JOBLESSNESS

Bikas Patra

SOMA MUKHERJEE

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organization.

ikas Patra, a human being par excellence, founder and owner of SDEAS, a venture with the objective to eradicate unemployment to the extent possible. A man with a motive to earn and let earn. A rare blend of money with emotion. A ďŹ rst generation entrepreneur from Orissa. A self effacing man popular among his peers for his honesty and dedication towards the cause of his

A Commerce Graduate (as he states) with knowledge of Computer Science and training in Boiler Engineering shares his saga with Business for all. I consider myself to be a messenger of God, and my entire life which is gifted by Him should not go futile. Once I happened to visit a temple in my village, I saw people donating something, each one according to

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Voluntary sector SDEAS was formed in 1990 with a group of like minded, qualified and dedicated friends who had a gusto to put a meaning to their lives. Well it was never an easy path to tread, because initially no one had a belief in me. There were many who commented that I was trying to run a broiler farm- producing eggs. But I thank them from the bottom of my heart. If it were not for their criticism I would not have been strong and determined chasing my dream. When the first batch of students got good opportunities and an exposure in good and reputed industries with good perks, I smiled and thought----well Bikas’s broiler farm emerged successful in producing golden eggs. Sitting with a man with opulence, knowledge and a golden heart, couldn’t resist myself from digging into this magic box to learn his magical spells. Can you tell us about your business?

his ability. Fora few it was thanking the Almighty for helping secure a job while another lot donated in the hope of landing with a job . It was a common sight but it jolted me .My soul asked me to do something for the jobless, at least give them a small start to fulfil their needs. I recall a seminar in REC Rourkela which initiated entrepreneurs to come up with a cause to help the unemployed youth of our country. I took my first steps of a long journey towards creating a better and happier India.

It was in 1990 I started my venture with a few qualified and dedicated engineers. There was no proper Boiler Training Institute in the market which could produce qualified Boiler Attendants. My prior knowledge in the field promoted me to launch our own Training Division. We started training the unemployed youth and facilitated placements in various industries, with an intention to use their skill and proficiency for their livelihood. They also succeeded in their BACC Certification exams from various boards. This ultimately led us to supply and cater to the needs of the industries having boilers. We started our boiler repairing assignments after getting a Boiler repairer certificate of IBR in 1994.

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Normally industries impart training for self employment like sewing, tailoring, cane work, papad making etc as part of their development programmes. But we laid stress on industry based training to the underprivileged youths, where the industries are located so that they could get jobs in their respective areas. Gradually it became a support system for our trained students to get adequate practice and knowledge in Boiler repairing and maintenance jobs. This was a door which opened to a new era of Boiler Maintenance. We started sending our trained and qualified attendants and support staff to industries. Gradually, as our efficiency demand soared we received requests for taking up Operations and Maintenance for them. In 1997 we started our new division of Outsourcing of Boiler (O&M). After getting a good response and meeting with success in Boiler education, Boiler Maintenance, Boiler Erection and Commissioning, we started a new course in Power Plant Technology and other industry based training courses. This ensured regular supply of qualified staff, mostly jobless youth, to industries.


Voluntary sector

Bikas Patra receiving an award In 1998 we started our Corporate Social Responsibility programmes through SDEAS Welfare Society, an NGO wing. Normally industries impart training for self employment like sewing, tailoring, cane work, papad making etc as part of their development programmes. But we laid stress on industry based training to the underprivileged youths, where the industries are located so that they could get jobs in their respective areas. Jindal Power and Steel, Tata Power and Steel and various other industries offered jobs and supported our cause for the uplift of the unemployed. We hosted our website www. powersteeljobs.com in 1999 which was a major breakthrough. I describe it as a breakthrough because the

jobs. We started providing technical manpower for steel and power sectors. We have built a reputation as recruitment experts in the field of engineering and technical personnel. Be it the requirement of a single engineer/technician or a team or even a complete work force we have always delivered quality within the time frame. We have received Rajiv Gandhi Excellency Award for our mission of imparting training to the unemployed youth and 100 per cent placement.

website supported the industries to get suitable manpower and helped the unemployed to get suitable

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In the same year we ventured into the field of Electric Train Maintenance at South Eastern Railway, Bondamunda, which is the first of its kind in Indian Railways and is still continuing till date.


Voluntary sector We also earned fame for our reliability in the industrial sector and field of: Power Plant Staffing Solutions, Boiler (O& M) Solutions, Technical Manpower Outsourcing, AMC Contracts, Training and Education, Socio Welfare Activity Generally, every industry depends on the Government fire service during major outbreaks. Due to reasons like excessive traffic, failure of the unit etc. the fire engines do not reach on time which costs the industries dear. Against this background, the launch of our Fire Division in 2011 was a major venture. The division provided Fire Protection and Prevention Services to industries which did not have their own fire fighting service. We have set up individual units in every factory so that they could avert major mishaps. We are receiving good response throughout

India, it’s a great success. How does your NGO work We earmark some profits in social activities through our NGO. We have taken up distribution of blankets, medicated mosquito nets to poor and needy in our anti-malaria mission. We organize free health camps and distribute medicines in association with ESIC Model Hospital, Rourkela. What are the secrets of your success? Transparency and maximum satisfaction to our clients. Do you regret quitting your well paid job? No ....not at all..... I got an opportunity in Railways, but my vision was and will be different. I am content with where I am today.

Bikas Patra with his team

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Where do you see yourself after 10 years from now? In the same role doing my bit with satisfaction, catering to 100 and more industries/clients. Above all, helping thousands of employed youths. What is crucial in entrepreneurship? Strong willpower thinking

and

positive

How do you contribute to the present generation I spend 10 per cent of my profit to educate/train the unemployed youth through my NGO. You know what...... My dream was..... is....and will remain.... “ Tackling unemployment of youth through proper training and education.  (feedback@businessforall.in)


In the News

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES

“ “ “ “ “ “

Green firms dig in

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed thelessons of failure.” - Bill Gates “One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves. You don’t choose your passions; your passions choose you.” - Jeff Bezos I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” - Thomas Edison Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people cant.” - Warren G. Tracy’s student

(Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyaprive/2013/05/02/ top-32-quotes-every-entrepreneurshould-live-by/2/ )

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he ‘International conference on Green Enterprises and Green Industrial Parks’ was held at the Madisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Hyderabad, from July 18 to 20. The event saw the convergence of the industry, government and technology/service providers with the aim of taking forward the concept and work on green enterprises and green industrial parks. Addressing delegates, Association of Lady Entrepreneurs of Andhra Pradesh (ALEAP) President A. Rama Devi said: “We see huge opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the areas of waste management, renewable technologies, cost-effective common infrastructure, food packaging. However, more interactions with the industry at the international level would empower women to take up the entrepreneurial route.” Mr. Chandrasekhar Reddy, Director General, National Institute for MSMEs chaired the session titled, Green Industrial ParksConcepts and Cases. Another technical session was addressed by Harsh Thukral, Deputy Director, National Productivity Council on Cleaner Production in MSMEs. The lecture on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Applications was by Mr Girish from Clique Solar, Mumbai. Mr K Dharma Reddy, Executive Director, Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) dwelt on Retrofitting of Existing Industrial Parks. In an extended session, he shed light on the cases of Nacharam and Malllapur, two of the industrial estates in Hyderabad. ALEAP organized the conference with active cooperation from the Union ministry of Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSME), the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) and the German-government- owned GIZ. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) was roped in to provide technical support to ALEAP. Close to 300 delegates from within India and from abroad attended the international conference.

August 2013


In the News said, while responding to a question by Enkay Sagar Holdings Pvt Ltd chairman Naresh Kumar Sagar, about sharing the latest technology with Indian SMEs. He also said that that Poland was interested in the food processing industry, which has not flourished well in India. Interested SMEs can enquire about it from the Polish officials. Sagar also mentioned skill shortages in SME sector from level one to four and sought Poland’s help in this regard. “There are many Polish centres already training workers in India. People here are loyal and eager to learn and that is why we are already helping them to work with new technologies.Training them in return will help us to manufacture more goods of better qualities. So we extend full support to them, Klodkowski said. Meanwhile, bilateral trade between both the countries for the year 2012-13 was USD1.7 billion, the export was of USD810 million and import was of USD874 million. It was in favour of Poland, said Anil Bhardwaj, Secretary General FISME. In 2006, HCL Technologies started looking for a European centre and selected Poland because of its geographical location. “Doing business with Poland is extremely comfortable as we got help from the government. Labour laws are better than any other European country. We are now doing a business of USD20 million in Poland,” said Sameer Chawla, General Manger, HCL Technologies. “A large number SMEs are interested in doing businesses with other countries but they are unaware of how to go about it; we organised this programme to help them,” said Joint SecretaryInternational Trade, FISME, Mukesh Kalra. The objective of the event was to increase bilateral trade between both the countries.

Poland seeks investment from Indian SMEs

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n a major boost to the small and medium businesses in the country, Poland has invited investment from Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) offering them opportunities in a number of areas including food processing, energy sector, etc. India and Poland will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic relations next year and to commemorate the same will organise business interactions and events in order to increase bilateral trade, its Ambassador Piotr Klodkowski said. He said that the SMEs generate more jobs than any other sector, not just in India but also in Poland.“We are more interested in inviting SMEs to invest in our country as big industries have a tendency to shift from one place to another. We will love to explore the energy sector, which has scope to flourish more,” Klodkowski said.He was addressing a seminar on Business Opportunities with Poland, organised jointly by the Federation of Indian Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises (FISME) and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland held recently. He said that his government was planning to come up with an Energy Summit as it wants to invest in the energy sector in India. Currently, the Chinese are investing a lot in Poland as it is the 12th most attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and the third fastest growing country in the European Union, the Ambassador said. “We are ready to share new ways of manufacturing goods and will organise some sort of workshops for small entrepreneurs in future,” the Ambassador

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In the News

India tops technology innovation confidence index

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ndia tops technology innovation confidence index, says GlobalTechnology Innovation survey by KPMG, which was released recently. Technology executives worldwide believe that the U.S., China and India are the top three countries with the potential to drive technology breakthroughs that will have a global impact in the next four years, according to the Global Technology Innovation survey by KPMG LLP. In April – June 2013, KPMG, US surveyed 811 business executives globally whose organizations were focused on the technology space, 34 per cent of the respondents were in the Americas, 37 per cent in Asia Pacific, and 30 per cent in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Some 25 per cent of respondents were from the U.S., 12 per cent from China and 9 per cent from India. This year, KPMG’s survey debuts a confidence index gauging each country’s prospects for tech innovation. The index is based on tech leaders in each market rating their country on ten success factors including talent, infrastructure, incentives, and capital. On the basis of availability of talent, development of disruptive technology breakthroughs, mentoring and access to innovation network (Founders, CEOs, etc.), access to alliances or partnerships, supporting ecosystem (law firms, VCs, etc.), access to capital, education system, ability to drive customer growth and government incentives, India ranks number one with an index of 72, Israel ranks second with an index of 71, U.S. ranks third with an index of 65 and China ranks fourth with an index of 64 in the Technology confidence

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innovation index.“In the field of technology, India’s farsightedness and focus on innovation have helped it seize the third spot in the 2013 Global Tech Innovation Index. That’s not all; India’s topping the Confidence Index is a confirmation of business leaders’ faith in the country’s technological capabilities. Despite several concerns on data privacy and local technological infrastructure, the outlook for the sector is largely positive. The government can assist the technology sector by enabling easier access to capital through investor friendly policies and strengthening IP protection laws” said Pradeep Udhas, Head of Markets & ITITes, KPMG in India. In a change from last year’s survey, 37 per cent of the respondents said the U.S.shows the most promise for disruptive breakthrough while China ranked second with 24 per cent, and India came third with 10 per cent, followed by Korea (7 per cent), Japan (6 per cent) and Israel (6 per cent). The U.S. and China had tied for the top spot in the 2012 survey.Survey respondents’ belief in the U.S. as the top tech innovator in the global ranking also translated to fewer executives (33 per cent) than in 2012 (44 per cent) saying it is likely that the technology innovation center of the world would shift from Silicon Valley to another country in the next four years. Not surprisingly, only 25 per cent of the U.S. respondents believed the shift is likely. However, 64 per cent of respondents from India predicted the center will shift, compared to 48 per cent last year. Around 49 per cent of respondents from China predicted a shift, compared to 60 per cent last year. Among the respondents who believed the center would shift, China again is seen as most likely to become the leading innovation center followed by India, the survey said.

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Power2SME Raises USD 6 Million in Series B Funding Power2SME, the first ‘Buying Club’ for SMEs in India, has announced that it has raised USD 6 million in Series B funding from their existing investors. The funding round was led by Accel Partners with participation from Kalaari Capital and Inventus Capital. The funding will help Power2SME to scale up their current business by extending its footprint to South India, increase their product portfolio, expand their sourcing channels to include direct imports for their SME customers and make additional investment in technology & marketing. Announcing the recent round of funding, Power2SME Founder & CEO R Narayan said, “Power2SME’s aim to help unlock the potential of SMEs, whose progress is so critical to the India growth story. We believe that the power of the SME sector is largely untapped and holds great potential. Power2SME aims to help the SMEs to improve their efficiency and provide a significant lever for growth and profitability. With quarterly revenues run rate of more than USD2 million and 13,000 registered SMEs users in less than 3 quarters of operations, Power2SME is well on its way to becoming a one stop destination for SMEs for all their business needs.” “We believe that the limited size and the inefficiency in negotiation capabilities hamper the ability of the SMEs to get optimum procurement prices. Power2SME enables the SMEs to source the products at a competitive price ensuring significant savings. Buying Club for SMEs’ raw material is a unique concept and we have not found another similar business model so far. There are several similar concepts globally but they focus on services, not physical goods. The business model of Power2SME sustains the ability to grow and expand with the ability to cater SMEs across multiple sectors,” said Mahendran Balachandran of Accel Partners. “The emergence of e-commerce in the B2B marketplace and the changing SME behaviour enables a very significant market opportunity. Power2SME is the first company to capitalise this, they are one of India’s fastest growing businesses in this space. The high satisfaction level of their SME customers is testimony to the excellent service that the company

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R Narayan provides. We saw immense potential in their business model and lead by Narayan the leadership team is stellar to deliver a highly scalable company” said Vani Kola, MD, Kalaari Capital. “SMEs are operating on low margins and don’t have enough capital to spend on R&D. The extra money they generate after dealing with Power2SME can be utilized to drive sales and marketing initiatives for the SMEs, and more importantly can be invested in R&D. Power2SME is truly a trend-setter in the B2B business and capable of becoming a game changer for SMEs in India,” said Parag Dhol, MD, Inventus Capital.

August 2013


In the News

Google to help Indian SMEs adopt digital ads

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lobal search engine provider Google will train small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the South Indian states to grow their business by adopting digital advertising, a senior official said. “We will train our partners in the southern region to provide expertise in developing and launching digital campaigns for SME businesses,” Google India managing director Todd Rowe said in a statement Bengaluru. The training will offer end-toend solutions, including search engine marketing, localised solutions across Google’s properties and mobile advertising platform.“During the training programme, partners will have access to our products, co-branded market collateral and research through our marketing and sales support,” Rowe said.The company roped in 16 mid-size firms for the training programme since September 2012 when it was launched in other regions of the country. “We have trained about 3,000 sales people to help

SMEs gain from digital advertising. We hope to replicate the model in the southern region to add 3,000 more sales’ force by doubling our partner base,” Rowe observed. According to Getit Infomedia chief executive Jaspreet Bindra, with the internet changing the landscape of how customers reach out to businesses, the search platform provider (Google) sees phenomenal growth in the SMEs adopting the seamless network to expand their business. “We have entered into a strategic alliance with Google India through its premier SME partner programme to increase our presence across the country. With 1,000 plus sales force and presence across 150 cities, we have engaged over 3,000 SMEs to manage their digital advertising efforts. We are now looking to become a premier supermarket for all digital advertising needs of SMEs across the country,” Bindra said.Google India has 3,000 partners across 165 cities, which helped over 15,000 SMEs start their digital advertising journey. “We aim to get 500,000 SMEs across the country on online with a website by 2015,” Rowe added.

New research finds web’s impact on Indian SMEs A new research by Google and FICCI has showed that the web makes a big impact on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in India. Nathan Associates, which compiled and presented the report, which showed that SMEs using the web fared much better than those that do not. On an average, web-enabled SMEs boasted revenues 51 per cent higher, 49 per cent more profit and customer bases 7 per cent broader than their offline-only counterparts. The study revealed significant opportunities both for India’s booming SME sector, where fewer than five per cent of all businesses even maintain a web presence, and for India’s economy: SMEs are critical to the economic growth in India, where 47 million SMEs employ about 100 million people and contribute more than 8 per cent to the India’s GDP. According to the report, only 51 per cent of online SMBs use the Web to advertise a mere 27 per cent use it for e-commerce. But with 95 per cent of them

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yet to even establish a website, there’s a lot of room for growth. In his comments, FICCI MSME Committee chairman Sanjay Bhatia said that internet played a vital role in narrowing the gap between Indian SMEs’ potential and their aspirations. India has all that it takes to compete with other developing and fast growing economies. “With the success of e-commerce companies like Makemytrip and Flipkart in India, we believe that more Indian SMEs can benefit from the internet and e-commerce,” he added. The study showed that internet use was the highest among SMEs in the IT & ITES, tourism/ transportation, chemical products (96 per cent) and pharmaceuticals (95 per cent). Of the 49 per cent of internet using SMEs surveyed which had websites, IT & ITES and hospitality had the highest numbers. SMEs in the B2B space had the lowest number of websites.

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