Entrepreneuring India

Economist in its latest edition has an unusual story of IRFAN ALAM, a 27-year-old from Begusarai in Bihar and his typically Indian thirsts of entrepreneurship exhibited through his company SammaaN Foundation that he established in Patna in 2007.

Irfan Alam, the founder and chairman, SammaaN Foundation came out with an innovative idea and transformed it into a business model. It relates to the cycle rickshaw pulling business where the men engaged hardly made a respectable earning. Alam’s idea made it profitable and honourable with small but innovative changes. In Alam’s business plan, rickshaw puller makes the ride for the commuter more comfortable and enjoyable with provision of music, magazine/news papers, and even first aid. He designed the rickshaws in such a way that it gives ample space to put the advertisement on the side, front and back panels of the rickshaw. Rickshaw puller additionally earns from various value-added services such as sale of mineral water, juices, mobile recharge, courier collection, bills collections. The company intrudes for the first time prepaid rickshaws in India.

This is the story of one of the 30 Indian enterprises shortlisted in a competition to find the country’s “hottest” start-up. The contest attracted over 500 nominees. The National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) and the Tata group have promoted the contest to catch up with the spirit of enterprise on India’s campuses.

More than 75% of the nominees are, like Mr Alam, first-generation entrepreneurs who do not hail from business families. Two-thirds of the final 30 have masters degrees. In short, they have plenty of options. Their enthusiasm for entrepreneurship represents a growing willingness on the part of highly educated Indians to turn their backs on careers in brand-name companies and strike out on their own.

Is it not heartening in a country where media keeps on providing stories of depressing political terrorism such as one of promoting another Rabri Devi in Rajasthan or mischievous move of AR Antuley?

I see the entrepreneurs in India all around; in Sunday bazzar, on the footpaths and highways, around malls and multiplexes. The stories of many entrepreneurs of India are interesting and may inspire many more. It appeared in one recent ‘India Today’s special issue. Open the link and see under the main caption ‘The lotus in the swamp’. Some that I got impressed with are:

The spice king Sadananda Maiya (MTR Foods) , medical device manufacturer, flower seller S. Ramakrishna Karuturi ( Karuturi Global) , household baker Rajni Bector (Cremica), Education service provider Shantanu Prakash (Educomp Solutions), Alok Jalan (Laqshya Media), Deepak Puri (Moser Baer), R K. Sinha ( Security and Intelligence Services), Porus Irani (Handiman Services Limited), Bangaruswami Soundarajan (Suguna Poultry), Sushil Kanubhai Shah ( Metropolis Health Services), VG Siddhartha (Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company), Mahendra Vinayak Vichare (Vichare Courier Services), Snack charmers Haldiram, Vandana Luthra (VLCC), Panda Rajan (MA FOI Consultants) , Natesan Murugan (Rajathi Group), Goutam Adani and beekeeper Jagjit Singh Kapoor (Kashmir Apiaries).

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