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                            The success story of Patricia Narayan

The success story of Patricia Narayan is a perfect rags to riches story which every aspiring
entrepreneur should read.

This is the story of Patricia Narayan, winner of the FICCI Woman Entrepreneur of the
Year award who, from a day‟s of earning of just five paise in the early 80‟s continued to
fight to overcome all hurdles to establish a chain of restaurants to earn at least Rs 2 lakh a day

She started business with just two people. Now, there are 200 people working with her in my
restaurants. Her lifestyle has changed too. From travelling in a cycle rickshaw, she moved to
auto rickshaws and now she has her own car. From 50 paise a day, my revenue has gone up
to Rs 2 lakh a day.

The 'FICCI entrepreneur of the year' award is the culmination of all the hard work she has
put in over the last 30 years.

Till now, I had no time to think of what I was doing. But the award made me look back and
relive the days that passed by. Now, my ambition is to build my Sandeepha brand.

Famous for

It is a perfect „rags to riches‟ story which every aspiring entrepreneur should read and imbibe
inspiration from it. She fought against all odds to become a successful entrepreneur in her
own right. That she fought all the odds at the male-dominated era of 1980‟s and 90‟s and she
does not belong to any business family made her success more spectacular and heroic.

Back ground

I was always interested in cooking and passionate about trying out new dishes. But, the
thought of becoming a business woman never came to my mind at all as I do not come from a
business family. Both my parents were government servants.

But my marriage changed everything. Both the families opposed the marriage vehemently as
my husband belonged to the Brahmin community; unfortunately my marriage did not work
out as my husband was addicted to alcohol, drugs, etc. I could not bring him out of the
addiction. As a young woman, I did not know how to cope with this and I was getting beaten
up every day.

Though my father, a very conservative Christian never forgave me, he gave me refuge when I
had nowhere to go. I was thrown out with two very small children. It was a question of
survival for me. I knew I should either succumb to the burden or fight; I decided to fight my
lonely battle.

I did not want to be a burden on my parents. So, to be economically independent, I could only
do what I knew and what I liked. I started making pickles, squashes and jams at home. I just
took a couple of hundred rupees from my mother. I sold everything I made in one day and
that gave me confidence.

I earned a good income. I invested whatever I earned to make more pickles, squashes and
jams. It was quite lucrative in the sense, even ten rupees was a blessing for me.

Breaking-In as an entrepreneur

Her father's friend, who was running a school for handicapped children, was handing out
mobile carts or kiosks to people who would employ at least two handicapped people. They
needed somebody who could run it and I was offered one such cart free. I had to train the
handicapped children to make coffee and serve them to customers.

As I lived near the Marina beach, I decided to put the mobile cart at the Anna Square on the
Marina beach. I had seen people thronging the beach in the evenings. But I had to make
umpteen trips to the Public Works Department and wait for one year to get the permission.

Finally, I started working on June 21, 1982, a day I will never forget. The previous night
itself, with the help of the local rickshaw drivers, I had rolled the mobile cart to the beach. It
was a small move but thrilling as it was my own and I was going to be a business woman the
next day.

While such carts sold only tea and cigarettes, I decided to sell cutlets, fried stuff, fresh juice
and coffee and tea. On the first day, on June 21, 1982 she sold only one cup of coffee and that
was for fifty paise.

I was very disappointed and came home crying. I told my mother, that I would not like to
continue. But my mother consoled me saying, at least you sold one cup of coffee. That's a
good sign. You will do well tomorrow. And, she was adamant that I go the next day also.

The next day, I made sold snacks for Rs 600-700 which was big money for me then! As I
started making money, I added ice creams, sandwiches, French fries and juices too. I used to
keep thinking of adding more items.

I ran it from 1982 to 2003, and the maximum I made from that mobile cart was Rs 25,000 a
day. That was during the strike (closed) days! We used to be open from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
every day, and later, I started opening from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. for the walkers.
I used to personally stand there and sell all the stuff I made. I never felt scared to stand there
late at night. My only thought was to prove myself and move ahead.

There was a fire in me that made me believe that I could be successful without anyone's help.
I did not want to be a failure. If you have that fire, nothing in the world can stop you from

Chance to run canteen

On seeing my work at the beach, within a year, the Slum Clearance Board gave me an offer
to run the canteen at their office with a proper kitchen. The chairman met me during her
morning walk. That is how I got the offer. The canteen was a huge success.

On Wednesdays, it was the public grievance day, so about 3000 people used to come there
and I had a roaring business.

I used to get up at 5 a.m. in the morning, make idlis (Indian food item made with rice) and go
to the beach. From 9 a.m. I would be at the canteen. From 3.30 p.m. I would again be at the
beach cart and would be there till 11p.m. By then, I had employed people to cook, and clean,
and all the cooking was done at the canteen kitchen. My monthly income in those days was
around Rs 20,000.

Later, I got an offer to run the Bank of Madurai canteen, I stopped running the canteen at the
Slum Clearance Board canteen. At the Bank canteen, I served food to around 300 people

The turning point

One day, after a fight with my husband who used to come to trouble me often, I boarded a
bus and travelled till the last stop. I got down and saw the National Port Management training
school run by the Central government.

On the spur of the moment, I told the security guard that I wanted to meet the administrative
officer. I met him and told him that I was a caterer and that I heard they were looking for a

He said, to my surprise that they were indeed looking for one as they had problems with the
current contractor. I still believe it was God who took me there.

I got the offer. I had to serve three meals to about 700 students. They gave us quarters to stay.
It was a new life for me. I got into the groove in a day. It was successful from day one, and I
took care of the canteen till 1998.

My first weekly payment was Rs 80,000. I felt so elated having seen only hundreds and
thousands till then. During those times, I was earning almost a lakh a week.

In those days, I wanted to do everything personally as I felt only then, things would run
smoothly. Now I know if I train people well, they will do the work the way you want.
Starting restaurants

My connection with restaurants started in 1998 when I met people from the Sangeetha
Restaurant group. They offered me a partnership in one of the units. But my son, Praveen
Rajkumar wanted me to start my own restaurant and build a brand of ours.

 But destiny played truant with me again. I lost my daughter, Pratibha Sandra and son-in-law
road accident, a month after their marriage in 2004. It shattered me, and I withdrew from all
that I was doing.

 Then my son took over and started the first restaurant 'Sandeepha' in my daughter's memory.
It took some time for me to come out of the shock and start helping my son in the business.
Now, I am fully involved in the business. The fire to succeed has come back to me now.

 From then on, she did not look back for the last around 30 years. From kiosks to canteen
business to „Sandeepha‟ brand of restaurant chain, she is now a business woman who
accomplished a feat which is exemplary in right earnest.

Social activity

 I still cannot get over my daughter's death as I did all this for my children; to bring them up
and give them a good life.

What shocked me was the way the accident victims were treated by the ambulance operators.
When they found that all the four in the car were dead, they said they would not carry dead
bodies. Finally, somebody carried all the dead bodies in the boot of a car. When I saw the
bodies being taken out of the boot, I broke down.

No mother can bear such a scene. That is when I decided to keep an ambulance on that very
spot to help people whether the victims are alive or dead. It is in memory of my daughter.

Advice to young entrepreneurs

 Do not ever compromise on quality. Never lose your self-confidence. Believe in yourself and
the product you are making. Third, always stick to what you know. When you employ
people, you should know what you ask them to do.

                                            Case -2

              The inspiring success story of C K Ranganathan & Cavinkare

Forty five year old CK Ranganathan, promoter and CMD of the Rs572 crore CavinKare
group is a master differentiator. At a time when the tough, fast moving consumer goods
(FMCG) market was dominated by multinational companies (MNC) and Indian corporate
giants, Ranganathan spotted opportunities in unconventional areas and exploited the same.
In the process, Ranganathan, a teacher's son - his father Chinnikrishnan was a math‟s
schoolteacher in Cuddalore - taught industry giants business basics. Today, the group's
cosmetics company CavinKare Private Limited logs a turnover of Rs400 crore.

He started the business with an investment of Rs 15,000 in the early '80s. Here, he shares his
views on leadership. According to him, a leader becomes obsolete when he stops to enthuse,
energize his team members.

His father, his inspiration

My father, Chinni Krishnan, an agriculturist, was also into pharmaceutical business. As I was
poor in academics, he wanted me to either do agriculture or start a business.
My siblings were good in studies -- two of them became doctors and another a lawyer. I was
the odd one out. While my siblings studied in English medium schools, I was put in a Tamil
medium school. I used to suffer from an inferiority complex because of my poor academic
Studies did not interest me, but rearing pets did. When I was in the fifth standard, I had a lot
of pets -- more than 500 pigeons, a lot of fish and a large variety of birds. I used to earn my
pocket money out of pet business at that time. Perhaps, the entrepreneurial spirit in me
showed its first streak.

The origin of the concept of sachets

My father died as I entered college. He had come out with the sachet concept a couple of
years prior to his demise. He felt liquid can be packed in sachets as well. When talcum
powder was sold only in tin containers, he was the one who sold it in 100 gm, 50 gm and 20
gm packs.
When Epsom salt came in 100 gm packets, my father brought out salt sachets of as low as 5
'Whatever I make, I want the coolies and the rickshawpullers to use. I want to make my
products affordable to them,' he used to say.
Selling things in sachets was his motto as he said, 'this is going to be the product of the
future.' But my father could not market the concept well. He moved from one innovation to
another but never thought of marketing strategies. He was a great innovator, but a poor

Joining the family business

After my father's death, my brothers took charge of the family business. In 1982, when I
joined them after my studies, they had launched Velvette Shampoo. Within eight to nine
months, I left the business because my ideas clashed with theirs.
As I was in the manufacturing unit, I did not know anything about marketing or finance. But,
my inferiority complex notwithstanding, I was somehow confident of doing business better.

Starting his own business with Rs 15,000
 I had left my brothers saying that I did not want any stake in the property or business. That
was a defining moment for me. I had saved Rs 15,000 from my salary and that was all I had.
Yet I was confident of achieving success. I did not feel anything about riding a bicycle after
having got used to cars.
For a week, I could not make up my mind as to what business to do. I knew only two things;
making shampoo and rearing pets. I didn't want to venture into the shampoo business as it
would initiate a fight with my brothers. However, I decided to do the same later as I could
only make shampoo.
I rented a house-cum-office for Rs 250 a month against an advance of Rs 1,000. I took
another place for the factory for a rent of Rs 300 a month and against an advance of Rs 1,200.
I bought a shampoo-packing machine for Rs 3,000.

How Chik Shampoo was born

I named it Chik Shampoo after my father. The product did not succeed immediately; we
learnt many things during the process. In the first month, we could sell 20,000 sachets and
from the second year, we started making profits. I moved to Chennai in 1989 but our
manufacturing unit continued to be in Cuddalore. It took me three years to get the first loan
because banks asked for collateral. I did not have any. But one particular bank gave me a loan
of Rs 25,000 which we rotated and later upgraded to Rs 400,000, Rs 15 lakh (Rs 1.5 million),

You know what the bank manager wrote in our loan application? 'This person does not have
any collateral to offer but there is something interesting about this SSI unit. Unlike others,
this company pays income tax!' I must say my business never looked back because I was very
particular about paying income tax.

Strategies that made Chik Shampoo No. 1 in South India

When Chik entered the market, Velvette Shampoo was being marketed aggressively by
Godrej. But a scheme of ours became extremely successful -- we exchanged five sachets of
any shampoo for a Chik Shampoo sachet, free.

Later, we altered the scheme -- we started giving one free Chik Shampoo sachet in lieu of
five Chik Shampoo sachets only. Soon, consumers started asking for Chik sachets only. The
sales went up from Rs 35,000 to Rs 12 lakh (Rs 1.2 million) a month.

When we introduced jasmine and rose fragrances, our sales went up to Rs 30 lakh (Rs 3
million) per month and with actor Amala as our model, our sales rose to Rs 1 crore (Rs 10
million) a month! Each idea of ours was rewarded by our customers. There has been no
looking back since then.

Shampoo market share

In the last two to three years, our market share has come down though we are growing. It is
mainly because of the anti-dandruff shampoos in the market. We do not have an anti-dandruff
shampoo yet. From 0 per cent, the anti-dandruff shampoos have taken over 25 per cent of the
Only 75 per cent of the market, therefore, constitutes ordinary shampoos. We hold 20 per
cent of the market share.
But we are the largest brand in rural Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, etc. and we are the
number one in many other states as well.

Reasons behind his success

Teamwork is the main reason for our success. We have good professionals who work really
hard. The second reason of our success is innovation. We have executed innovative ideas as

Perseverance, the desire and curiosity to learn every new area that is useful for my business
are some of my strengths. One other factor is my ability to recruit good talent, delegate work
and give enough freedom to them, without compromising on their accountability.

Leisure time

I have a dozen dogs and over 500 birds. I also keep an aquarium both at work and at home.
Reading books, the book I am reading these days “The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman

CavinKare Ability Award

I stayed as a tenant at Jayashree Ravindran's place (the woman who started the Ability
Foundation). Once, she said she wanted to start a magazine for the disabled. Though she did
not ask for sponsorship, I gave her a cheque of Rs 25,000. I also became one of the
Foundation's                                  founder                                 members.
Once we came to know about the disabled who have climbed the ladder of success, we --
Ability Foundation and CavinKare -- decided to institute an award for them.
I feel each of us has to give something back to the society. I have great admiration for those
who fight against all odds and attain success. When I started my career, I only faced shortage
of funds but these people tide over graver difficulties. We must applaud their fighting spirit.


In November 2003, C. K. Ranganathan, Managing director, CavinKare Private Ltd.
(CavinKare), was declared the Marketing Professional of the Year in the India Brand
2008 – CK Ranganathan was awarded with Lifetime Achievement Award by Rotary Club
of Meenambakkam
2008 Rotary Club of Trichy Midtown has honoured CK Ranganathan with Vocational
Excellence Award.
2004 - C K Ranganathan honored with „Distinguished Services Award‟ by Advertising
Association of India
2004 - C K Ranganathan was awarded Entrepreneur of the year given by Economic times

The Inspiring case story of Sarath babu founder of Foodking Catering Services Pvt Ltd

Name                       E. Sarath babu

Education                  BE, MBA

Industry                   Food

Products                   Tamil Nadu

Country                    India

Company                    Foodking Catering Services Pvt Ltd


A boy hailing from Tamil Nadu wants to be the Food King In world one day. Once upon
a time this guy was selling Idlis with his mother in the street of Chennai. Thanks to his
brilliancy and talent for which he got a chance to be an Engineer. This boy is not an
engineer from ordinary college; he has a degree in Chemical Engineering from BITS,
Pilani. During his College life, he often managed his College Canteen as he had a
natural          Management             experience          on         the         same.

After graduating from BITS, he did job in Software Company for 3 years. After getting
experience he qualified CAT exam and got an offer from IIM-Ahmadabad to get admit.
With an MBA degree from

India’s Top notch management Institute, he followed his dream what he had planned to
do. He expanded his mother’s small idea into a big Idea. His story is an inspiration for
millions. A self-made entrepreneur, his mission is to help the poor through job creation.
E Sarathbabu hit the headlines after he rejected several high profile job offers from
various MNCs after he passed out of IIM, Ahmedabad two years ago.

Sarathbabu describes his rise from a Chennai slum to his journey to the nation's
premier management institute to becoming a successful entrepreneur. This is his story,
in his own words.

Childhood in a slum

I was born and brought up in a slum in Madipakkam in Chennai. I have two elder sisters and
two younger brothers and my mother was the sole breadwinner of the family. It was really
tough for her to bring up five kids on her meager salary.
As she had studied till the tenth standard, she got a job under the mid-day meal scheme of the
Tamil Nadu government in a school at a salary of Rs 30 a month. She made just one rupee a
day for six people. So, she sold idlis in the mornings. She would then work for the mid-day
meal at the school during daytime. In the evenings, she taught at the adult education
programme of the Indian government. She, thus, did three different jobs to bring us up and
educate us. Although she didn't say explicitly that we should study well, we knew she was
struggling hard to send us to school. I was determined that her hard work should not go in

I was a topper throughout my school days. In the mornings, we went out to sell idlis because
people in slums did not come out of their homes to buy idlis. For kids living in a slum, idlis
for breakfast is something very special.

My mother was not aware of institutions like the Birla Institute of Technology and Science,
Pilani, or the Indian Institutes of Technology. She only wanted to educate us so that we got a
good job. I didn't know what I wanted to do at that time because in my friend-circle, nobody
talked about higher education or preparing for the IIT-JEE. When you constantly worry about
the next square meal, you do not dream of becoming a doctor or an engineer. The only thing
that was on my mind was to get a good job because my mother was struggling a lot.

I got very good marks in the 10th standard exam. It was the most critical moment of my life.
Till the 10th, there was no special fee but for the 11th and the 12th, the fees were Rs 2,000-
3,000. I did book-binding work during the summer vacation and accumulated money for my
school fees. When I got plenty of work, I employed 20 other children and all of us did the
work together. That was my first real job as an entrepreneur. Once I saw the opportunity, I
continued with the work.

A classmate of mine told me about BITS, Pilani. He was confident that I would get
admission, as I was the topper. He also told me that on completion (of studies at Pilani), I will
definitely get a job. When I got the admission, I had mixed feelings. On one hand I was
excited that for the first time I was going out of Chennai, but there was also a sense of
uncertainty. The fees alone were around Rs 28,000, and I had to get around Rs 42,000. It was
huge, huge money for us. And there was no one to help us. Just my mother and sisters. One
of my sisters -- they were all married by then -- pawned her jewellery and that's how I paid
for the first semester.

Life at BITS, Pilani

My mother then found out about an Indian government scholarship scheme. She sent me the
application forms, I applied for the scholarship, and I was successful. So, after the first
semester, it was the scholarship that helped me through. It also helped me to pay my debt (to
the sister who had pawned her jewellery). I then borrowed money from my other sister and
repaid her when the next scholarship came. The scholarship, however, covered only the
tuition fees. What about the hostel fees and food? Even small things like a washing soap or a
toothbrush or a tube of toothpaste was a burden. So, I borrowed more at high rates of interest.
The debt grew to a substantial amount by the time I reached the fourth year.

Inspiration to be an entrepreneur

It was while preparing for the Common Admission Test that I read in the papers that 30 per
cent of India's population does not get two meals a day. I know how it feels to be hungry.
What should be done to help them, I wondered. I also read about Infosys and Narayana
Murthy, Reliance and Ambani. Reliance employed 20,000-25,000 people at that time, and
Infosys, around 15,000. When a single entrepreneur like Ambani employed 25,000 people, he
was supporting the family, of four or five, of each employee. So he was taking care of
100,000 people indirectly. I felt I, too, should become an entrepreneur.

But, my mother was waiting for her engineer son to get a job, pay all the debts, build a pucca
house and take care of her. And here I was dreaming about starting my own enterprise. I
decided to go for a campus interview, and got a job with Polaris. I also sat for CAT but I
failed to clear it in my first attempt. I worked for 30 months at Polaris. By then, I could pay
off all the debts but I hadn't built a proper house for my mother. But I decided to pursue my
dream. When I took CAT for the third time, I cleared it and got calls from all the six IIMs. I
got admission at IIM, Ahmedabad.

Life at IIM, Ahmedabad

My college helped me get a scholarship for the two years that I was at IIM. Unlike in BITS, I
was more confident and life at IIM was fantastic. I took up a lot of responsibilities in the
college. I was in the mess committee in the first year and in the second year; I was elected the
mess secretary

Becoming an entrepreneur

By the end of the second year, there were many lucrative job offers coming our way, but in
my mind I was determined to start something on my own. But back home, I didn‟t have a
house. It was a difficult decision to say „no‟ to offers that gave you Rs 800,000 a year. But I
was clear in my mind even while I knew the hard realities back home.

Yes, my mother had been an entrepreneur, and subconsciously, she must have inspired me.
My inspirations were also (Dhirubhai) Ambani and Narayana Murthy. I knew I was not
aiming at something unachievable. I got the courage from them to start my own enterprise.
Nobody at my institute discouraged me. In fact, at least 30-40 students at the IIM wanted to
be entrepreneurs. And we used to discuss about ideas all the time. My last option was to take
up a job.

Foodking Catering Services Pvt Ltd
My mother is my first inspiration to start a food business. Remember I started my life selling
idlis in my slum. Then of course, my experience as the mess secretary at IIM-A was the
second inspiration. I must have handled at least a thousand complaints and a thousand
suggestions at that time. Every time I solved a problem, they thanked me. I also felt there is a
good opportunity in the food business. If you notice, a lot of people who work in the food
business come from the weaker sections of the society. My friends helped me with registering
the company with a capital of Rs 100,000. Because of the IIM brand and also because of the
media attention, I could take a loan from the bank without any problem. I set up an office and
employed three persons. The first order was from a software company in Ahmedabad. They
wanted us to supply tea, coffee and snacks. We transported the items in an auto.

When I got the order from IIM, Ahmedabad, I took a loan of Rs 11 lakhs (Rs 1.1 million) and
started a kitchen. So, my initial capital was Rs 11.75 lakhs (Rs 1.17 million). Three months
have passed, and now we have forty employees and four clients -- IIM Ahmedabad, Darpana
Academy, Gujarat Energy Research Management Institute and System Plus. In the first
month of our operation, we earned around Rs 35,000. Now, the turnover is around Rs
250,000. The Chennai operations will start in another three months' time.

A tough beginning

As I am a first generation entrepreneur, the first year was very challenging. I had a loan of Rs
20 lakh by the end of first year. I had no experience in handling people in business, and it was
difficult to identify the right people. Though I made losses in the first year, not even once did
I regret my decision of not accepting the offers from MNCs and starting an enterprise of my
own. I looked at my losses as a learning experience. I was confident that I would be
successful one day.

Sleeping on the railway platform

My first unit was at IIM, Ahmedabad. When we started our second unit in October 2006, I
thought now I would start making money. But I made losses of around Rs 2000 a day. A first
generation entrepreneur cannot afford such a loss. But I worked really hard, working till 3
a.m. in the morning. What reduced my losses were the birthday party offers. I started the third
unit again in Ahmedabad but it also made losses. All my units were cafeteria and I
understood then that the small cafeterias do not work; I needed huge volumes to work. My
friends who were extremely supportive in the first year when things were difficult for me. I
had taken loans from my IIM-A friends. They were earning very well. In December 2006, an
IIM Ahmadabad alumni event took place in Mumbai and I decided to go there mainly to get a
contract. I was hopeful of getting it. I also knew that if I got the huge contract, I would come
out        of       all       the          losses      I         had       been         incurring.

I booked my train ticket from Ahmadabad to Mumbai for Rs 300 and I had Rs 200 in my
hand. As the meet went on till late at night, I could reach the station only at midnight. I
missed the train. I decided to sit on the platform till the morning and travel by the next train
in the morning. I didn‟t have the money to check into a hotel. I didn‟t want to disturb any of
my               friends               so              late              at               night.

It was an unforgettable night as I was even shoved off by policemen from the platform. It was
quite insulting and embarrassing. After two hours, people started moving in, I also went in. A
man who sat next to me on the platform gave me a newspaper so that I could sleep. I spread
the newspaper and slept on the platform! I sleep well. I got my ticket refund in the morning
and went back to Ahmadabad. And, luck did not favour me, I didn‟t get the contract. In
March 2007, I got an offer to start a unit at BITS, Pilani (Sarathbabu was an alumnus of
BITS, Pilani). That was the first medium break for me. For the first time, I started making
profits there though the other units continued to make losses. The reason for our success at
BITS, Pilani was the volume; there were more students and there was a need for a unit like
ours while in Ahmadabad, they have at least a hundred options. If I made Rs 5000 a day at
Ahmadabad in two shifts, here I made Rs 15,000 a day. BITS, Pilani unit gave me the
confidence to move on. Unless you make money, you can‟t be confident in business.

What changed my fortune

When all my friends who worked for various MNCs made good money every month and I
made losses with my venture. But I kept telling myself, I am moving in the right direction to
reach my ambition and vision. My dream was to provide employment and I was doing just
that. I continued to work till 3 a.m. but I never felt tired. Through BITS, Pilani, I got the
BITS, Goa contract and that was the biggest break for me. It was not a cafeteria like the
earlier ones but the dining hall that we got. We had to feed 1300 students. We started our
operations in July 2007. At Rs 50, for 1300 students, our sale was Rs 65,000 per day. We
soon started making a profit of Rs 10 to 15,000 a day. Around 60 to 70 people work there. I
gave the charge of the Ahmedabad operations to one of my managers and moved to Goa. I
was still in debt by Rs 15-20 lakhs but I knew BITS, Goa would keep my dream alive. Within
six months of starting our operations in Goa, I repaid all my debt.

I was called to give a speech at the SRM Deemed University. After the speech, I asked the
Chancellor, can you give me an opportunity to serve in your campus?? He said, If not you, to
whom will I give such an opportunity? It‟s a food court but a big one, similar to the one at
BITS, Pilani. There are around 17,000 students there. Now, I have the BITS, Hyderabad
contract, ready to start in July 2008. Other than the six units, I have approached a few more
universities and corporate houses too. In the first year, I had made a loss of Rs 25 lakh. Right
now, we have a turnover of Rs 32 lakh every month, which works out to 3.5 crore (Rs 35
million)                                          a                                        year.

I have hired about 200 people. Indirectly, we touch the lives of around 1000 people. By this
year end, we will have 500 people working for us. Only 10% of my workers are educated, the
rest are uneducated. I want to make a change in their lives. If they have any problem, I will
take care of it. We support the marriages and education of poor families. We are paying more
to the employees as the company is doing well. Now that the foundation is strong, I plan to
have ten units and a turnover of Rs 20 crore (Rs 200 million) turnover by next year.
His advice: Never give up!

In the last two years, I have given more than 120 lectures in various institutions in India.
When I got the first opportunity to speak, I thought God had given me an opportunity to
encourage or inspire entrepreneurs. When youngsters tell me they are inspired, I feel good.
When you just dish out the theory, nobody believes you. But when you do it, they believe
you.     What     I     tell   them    is     based    on     my     own        experiences.

When I thought of starting a company, I felt India needed 100 people like Narayana Murthy
and Ambani. If 100 such people support 2 lakh people each, imagine how many Indians get
supported. Entrepreneurship is needed to uplift the poor. It is not easy to be an entrepreneur,
especially a first generation entrepreneur. There will be lots of challenges in the beginning
but you should learn to look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Never give up even if there
are hurdles. There are many who give up within a week. You need determination and a tough
mind to cross the initial hurdles. If you are starting without much money, you should not have
any overhead expenses.

He still lives in the same hut

As I am in the food business, I know how much the price of every food item has gone up.
Many people will languish in poverty because of inflation. Had my mother been working as
an Anganvadi ayah today and earning Rs 1500, she would not have been able to feed us and
educate us. On the one side, we talk about India shining and India growing, but we should
ensure that people do not die of hunger. We can be a developed country but we should not
leave the poor people behind. I am worried for them because I know what hunger is and I still
remember the days I was hungry. That is why I feel it is our responsibility to take care of

I wanted to buy a car and a house for my mother. I bought a car first, not a house. I still live
in the same house, the same hut. I can build a house right now but I want my business to
grow a little more. I feel good in the hut; that‟s where I get my energy, that‟s where I lived 25
years of my life. I want to remind myself that the money and fame should not take me away
from what I want to achieve. But within six months, I will build a good house for my mother.
Her only advice to me is, don‟t waste money. Till I was in the 10th, there was no electricity in
my house. I had to sit near the kerosene lamp and concentrate hard. That‟s how I learnt to
concentrate. The two year journey has been very enriching. It seems like a 20-year journey
for me. I was living every moment of the two years, from sleeping on the Mumbai railway
station platform to this level.


I want to employ as many people as I can, and improve their quality of life. In the first year, I
want to employ around 200-500 people. In the next five years, I hope to increase it by 15,000.
I am sure it is possible. I want to cover all the major cities in India, and later, I want to go
around the world too. I have seen people from all walks of life -- from the slums to the elite
in the country. That is why luxuries like a car or a bungalow do not matter to me. Even
money doesn't matter to me. I feel bad if I have to have food in a five star hotel. I feel guilty.
Personally, I have no ambition but I want to give a house and a car to my mother.


 I did not expect this kind of exposure by the media for my venture or appreciation from
people like my director at the IIM or Narayana Murthy. I was just doing what I wanted to do.
But the exposure really helped me get orders, finance, everything. The best compliments I
received were from Narayana Murthy and my director at IIM, Ahmedabad. When I told him
(IIM-A director) about my decision to start a company, he hugged me and wished me luck.
They have seen life, they have seen thousands and thousands of students and if they say it is a
good decision, I am sure it is a good decision.


MTV Youth Icons In 2008


    V G Siddhartha Coffee King of Karnataka‚ Chairman of ABCTCL

         Name                      V. G. Siddhartha Hegde
         Company                   ABCTCL

         Education                 Msc ( Economics)
         Industry                  Agriculture, Distribution, Retail

         Country                   India

Some facts

Coffee Market in India

» Non Traditional coffee Market

» Grows 4 % of world coffee

» Consumes 30% of coffee produced

» Coffee culture unknown until late 1990
» V G Siddhartha’s family has been in the coffee
business for more than 130 years

» The group owns 7‚000 + acres and manages another
3000 acres

» ABCTCL are the largest producers of Arabica coffee
in Asia

» Cafe Coffee Day has 760 cafes in 115 cities in India

The Beginning

"When I was a young man just out of college in Mangalore‚ I decided that I wanted to
get into business and make a lot of money: albeit‚ in a very respectable manner."

There were three options that he considered seriously at that time: exports of some
kind‚ trading in stocks and shares‚ and trading in metals. Metals‚ he discarded‚ as ‘not
a very pretty option‘.

Even though his family owned some coffee plantations in Chikmagalur in Karnataka.
Siddhartha started out in life as a research analyst at JM Financial a financial services
group back in 1983 after graduating in economics from the stat’s Mangalore University.
At that time all he dreamt of was earning Rs 2.5 lakh a year.

His First Job

After a two years stint with J M Financial Services when Siddhartha returned to
Bangalore his father gave him a good amount of money to start any business of his
choice. Siddhartha promptly bought a stock market card for Rs 30000 with it along
with a company called Sivan and Company as well as a site in the city. While
researching stocks he discovered that Indian farmers used to get 35 cents for 1 kg of
coffee‚ while their overseas counterparts were getting $1.27. "I was a very smart
trader‚" says Siddhartha with an endearing kind of self pride. "I made money almost
every day on the stock market. And with whatever money I made I kept buying coffee
plantations in Chikmagalur. My family background was such that I had a mindset that
the new economy might not be the greatest‚ and that solid‚ tangible‚ physical assets like
land were the best to own."

By 1985‚he was a full – time proprietary investor in the stock market and owner of
10‚000 acre of coffee farms.

When the stock market crashed in the early 1990’s‚Siddhartha began to look around
for a new investment avenue that would spin him good returns. He decided to invest in
First Company

Thus began Sivan Securities‚ which is now a major player in the South Indian capital
market‚ which is now featured among the top 12 investment brokers in the country. It
has a network of 35 offices spread over 25 cities in South India catering to both
corporate and retail clientele.

GTV was formally launched only in May 1990‚but along with its promoting company
Sivan Securities‚ already has stakes in 24 young companies‚ including high profile
start–ups like Sabeer Bhatia‘s Arzoo!.com‚ Ashok Soota‘s MindTree Consulting‚
Ramana Gogula‘s Liqwid Krystal and B V Jagadeesh‘s NetMagic. Siddhartha‘s
company Sivan holds 80 per cent in GTV.

GTV has now set up a global technology village on a 59– acre technology incubator
park in Bangalore‚ which will provide its companies office space‚ communication links‚
recreational facilities and even a commercial centre.

He says‚"When coffee trading was liberalized in the 1993‚I doubled the money I had
invested in the plantations within a year."

Birth of ABCTCL

ABCTCL was born in 1993‚ a company focused on coffee exports.

Next came the task of selling coffee directly to the consumer through neighbourhood
Fresh and Ground (F&G) stores. The success of these stores was indicative of the
potential of coffee retail.

In 1996‚the first CCD store opened on Bangalore’s crowded Brigade Road‚ where a
coffee and an hour of Internet surfing cost Rs 100. In doing this‚ Siddhartha and his
team went against the better judgement of his MBA friends.
"Then‚ I thought selling coffee in bulk as a commodity without branding had no
future‚" continues Siddhartha. So he started special retail outlets for his branded coffee
powder all over Karnataka. He now has 18 outlets in Tamil Nadu‚20 in Andhra
Pradesh‚6–7 in Kerala and about 90 all over Karnataka.

Siddhartha certainly seems to be blessed with that special intuition that enables him
pick out business areas that are poised for takeoff‚ and get into them before everyone
else. This will probably make him one of the major players in the money game in the
country soon enough.

   Success                    Have the willpower to persist and simply
   mantra                     refuse to give up.

   Object of                  Infosys and its team success which
   admiration                 achieved its target of $1 billion sales.

   Biggest                    Spiralling real estate prices which have
   obstacle                    made it difficult to get retail locations.

The Economic Times – Brand Equity survey 2008
India‟s most trusted brands – ranked No. 2 in the „Food Services„+ segment
CCD ranked as No. 31 in the top 50 service brands
"Best Coffee Bar" award from Times Food Guide 2007 – New Delhi
"Best Coffee Shop" award Times Food Guide 2007 – Mumbai
Awaaz Consumer Awards 2006 – Best Coffee Shop Brand


                          The success story of Suhas Gopinath

The story of this 22-year-old Bangalore boy who launched his own firm at the young age
of 14 years.

Gopinath(born November 4, 1986) is the CEO and co-founder of Globals Inc.-an up- coming
IT company that produces Web sites and software, employs 400 people around the world and
become a national icon. The Limca Book of Records - the Indian version of the Guniess
Book of Records - lists him as the world's Youngest Chief Executive.

Suhas Gopinath started a software company at the age 14 and since become one of the most
remarkable success stories of the Indian IT boom. Now he's 22 and runs a world-class
business with 400 employees.

In 2005, an investing firm from Houston, Texas offered him $100 milliom for majority
stake in Globals. He refused, “after several months of discussions, admittedly". The
reason for his negative response:"Why should I sell my baby?"

The transformation
During the mid-1990s, the first Internet cafes began opening up in Bangalore, with one
going into operation next door to Gopinath's house. My brother Shreyas took me there.
I was fascinated. The Internet changed my life, he says. He spent every spare minute

He learned himself how to build Web sites. He spent every rupee he had in the internet
cafe, says his mother. Gopinath admits, I had been a good student up until then. After I
discovered the internet, I was an average student. Before finding cyberspace, he had
dreams of becoming a veterinarian.
His first project
In 1998, when he was 13, Gopinath launched his first website:
I wanted to provide Indians all over the world with a forum to post public events, tips
for eating out and everything else they're interested in, he recalls. The Web site became
popular - including with hackers in Pakistan. They attacked cool Hindustan and
replaced the Web site's logo with "Cool Pakistan". That was a terrible experience,
Suhas says today. He abandoned the project.

By then, talent scouts in Silicon Valley had already heard of Suhas Gopinath and the
company "Network Solutions" invited the young Indian to its head quarters in San
Jose, California. It was the first time he had ever boarded a plane and the first time he
had been

Outside India's borders. They offered me a job. They also would have paid for my
education in the United States, he says. His answer, though, was no, why should I do for
another company what I could do for my own?

About his company

Gopinath wasn't going to wait four years. He along with three friends, registered his company
in San Jose. Online, of course, he says. He wanted to name the company "Global Solutions",
But that name was already taken. He opted for Globals.

Today, he still regrets that he wasn't able to start his company in Bangalore. India's most
important politicians know the young man. He was even granted a private conversation with
President Abdul Kalam. I told him that the age limit for starting a company has to be
removed, Gopinath says. Kalam promised him support, but so far nothing has changed.

The law wasn't the only obstacle, though. Potential customers cancelled their orders when
they learned their business partner was barely 14. Many people didn't take him seriously he
remembers. As soon as he began sprouting facial hair, he grew moustache, though he has, on
the advice of friends, since shaved it off.

Ultimately, Gopinath managed to overcome every obstacle. World gradually spread about his
company's abilities and Gopinath hired more and more people and opened up more offices.
He became the boss, employer and chief executive - all in mid puberty.

Most of his employees are just young: The average age is 21 with the oldest being a ripe old
26 and the youngest 12. Gopinath is unable to give the latter a full time job - that would
amount to child labour. But we gave him a computer with internet connection, Gopinath
says; Now he works for us sometimes on Web design.

200 Customers the World Over
Gopinath's company is into web-based and software solutions, mobile and e-commerce
solutions - besides making web sites for corporates, advertisers and educational institutions.

Meanwhile Global has amassed 200 customers across the globe and now has offices in 11
countries with some 65 percentage of company turn over coming from Europe. The young
Indians have become particularly good at identifying unfilled market niches. They developed
a software product for schools, for example, allowing a teachers to easily enter grades and
attendance and enabling parents to check that their children are showing up to class - a kind
of electronics class register. The Indian government was thrilled with the idea and recently
contracted Globals to set up the program in 1,000 schools.

Now That he is 21, Gopinath is thinking of transferring the company headquarters to India -
even though some 125 people now work for Globals in San Jose against only 25 in
Bangalore. What would be happen to the employees in the United States? We'II see,
Gopinath says. "The new developments are coming mainly from Bangalore".

Going to university on the side

Gopinath's father, M.R Gopinath, once a scientist at the Defense Ministry, now acknowledges
that his son made the right choices during the last seven years. They are proud parents, but
they still haven't let him go. "To us, it's important that he gets a degree, the father says.
"Education is the most important thing in India".


      Success story of Saloni Malhotra Founder & CEO of DesiCrew [Rural BPO]

Saloni Malhotra

Industry        BPO/KPO

Founded in        2005

Education         Bachelors

Head quarters     Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

It‟s a global village, as was being told for more than a decade so far. The birth of the internet
has resulted in death of the distance. But, still businesses in the IT field are happening mostly
in metros and not in villages where 70% of the Indian population lives. Even though villages
have educated youth, dearth of a non-agricultural career opportunity have been forcing them
to relocate to the congested metro for a career. Back at the metro, their winning bread is cut
almost less than a half due to whopping living costs.

All of us know of this fact, some of the people think of doing something to change and very a
few might have really tried. Saloni Malhotra has been one of that few to make the change.

DesiCrew Solutions is an Indian Business process outsourcing (BPO) company. It was started
in 2005 by Saloni Malhotra as a test project sponsored by Ashok Jhunjhunwala's TeNet group
from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. It was registered as a Limited Company in
2007. Its business model involves setting up delivery centres in rural areas and small towns of
India and servicing the urban areas

Saloni had given up a job in Delhi and migrated to Chennai in 2005. With little local
knowledge and even lesser business experience, it was a tough ride convincing corporates
about a „rural‟ back office meeting strict SLAs. Interacting with the people in the villages,
understanding the culture and their mindset towards a job and making them share her same
vision, took a lot of effort, but was overcome with a strong passion to make an impact.
Saloni‟s family was very accommodative to her aspirations, which was a major strength


The idea was to set up rural BPOs in Tier II towns and village, so that we can employ the
unemployed youth, bring in the infrastructure, provide the necessary training and get projects
and work for them from clients outside the state, across India. It differs from the urban BPOs
by way of reduced costs (as much as 40% lesser), lesser attrition and free corporate social

What was a tested as a project for 2 years was registered as DesiCrew Solutions Pvt Ltd in
Feb 2007.

Our biggest challenge was creating infrastructure in a rural setting that was as good as our
client‟s office in a Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore and changing the perception in the minds of
people in urban India that work could be done out of the hinterland and with the same quality.

Our other big challenge was to establish with our rural teams the concept of a BPO and that if
work could travel to them. It could travel anywhere else in the world if they did not meet the
quality and delivery parameters. People from the field were excited about the opportunity.
Though skilled and hardworking, many were impatient.

Training started with computer operations, basic office management, HR practices, data entry
and Internet usage. There were a lot of trial and error learning‟s, which has helped us shape
our system. People who have survived the initial hardships are at key positions in DesiCrew

Our biggest challenge was creating infrastructure in a rural setting that was as good as our
client‟s office in a Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore and changing the perception in the minds of
people in urban India that work could be done out of the hinterland and with the same quality.

Our other big challenge was to establish with our rural teams the concept of a BPO and that if
work could travel to them. It could travel anywhere else in the world if they did not meet the
quality and delivery parameters. People from the field were excited about the opportunity.
Though skilled and hardworking, many were impatient.

Training started with computer operations, basic office management, HR practices, data entry
and Internet usage. There were a lot of trial and error learning‟s, which has helped us shape
our system. People who have survived the initial hardships are at key positions in DesiCrew

The Impact

DesiCrew creates non-agricultural job opportunities in the villages for educated youth. We
provide opportunities for educated youngsters to be in their village instead of migrating to
cities. Working at DesiCrew‟s Delivery Centers, our rural employees save 90% of their
salaries as opposed to 10% in the city.

We have had incidents where some of our employees earn more than their parents who are
farmers. There was an 18 yr girl whose parents decided to postpone her wedding, as she was
a key earning member of the family. As women earn, their self esteem grows. A learning for
us was that we could see issues like time management, ownership, eye for process details,
suggestions for improvement rubbing on their personal lives. We have received feedback
from our employee‟s parents about positive difference we have made to their children.

At DeisCrew, we offer opportunities for a progressive career. Employees who prove their
mettle are elevated to higher positions and increased scope of responsibility. Thus, one can
start from an entry level operator and move upto a higher level of operations. Currently, our
middle level management consists of several individuals from the field.

Words of Advice

No job is difficult for qualified people, irrespective of whether they are from a city or a
village. We have been pleasantly surprised by how much our people in the villages are
capable of “. They have put their hands up and delivered well on several high-end tasks. Our
business model is evolving to meet the client requirements and we have learnt to be embrace
change without comprising on our fundamental values.


                   Kiran Mazumdar -Indian women business leader!!!
BIOCON, India is a skylight to the inspiring story of a woman who built an invaluable
organization and created enormous value and wealth from naught. The company's dramatic
evolution from the tiny bubble that it once was, to the limitless ocean of genes and enzymes
that it has become today, is known to many.

The Entrepreneur

Kiran was born and brought up in Bangalore in the state of Karnataka, India. She hailed from
a middle-class family, which encouraged her to pursue higher education. Following the
footsteps of her father, who was chief brewmaster6 in United Breweries7, she went to
Ballarat College in Melbourne, Australia, to specialize in Malting and Brewing Technology
to become India's first woman brewmaster. Kiran came back to India in 1975 expecting to get
lucrative                                     job                                     offers.

However, she did not receive any. Though she possessed the required technical
qualifications, her chosen profession was completely male-dominated one8. After staying for
two years as a consultant in India, Kiran went abroad and found a job in the UK.

There she met Leslie Auchincloss (Auchincloss), the owner of Biocon Biochemicals Limited,
an Ireland-based company. Auchincloss was planning to start a business in India.
The Irish company wanted to establish its operations in India to produce simple bio-products
from indigenous raw materials.

The Start of Biocon

When a peeved Kiran found that her gender did not permit her to make a dent in the brewing
industry in spite of her high qualifications, she established BIOCON at the age of twenty-five
in 1978, promising herself that she would become a poster girl for Indian women
entrepreneurs, one day. She wove a team of likeminded people who had the vision to excel
and take the company to global environs. When she built BIOCON, she had no money,
business qualification, experience, political clout or contacts with industrial and business

The company was set up in a rented garage on a shoestring budget of Rs.10, 000. With
BIOCON, she succeeded in dispelling the prevailing myth that biotechnology was a poor
cousin of Information Technology. Today, she has transformed her enterprise into a global
patents-driven kingdom where a multitude of novel, proprietary products and advanced
systems of technologies are being granted PCT and US patents. For Kiran, the initial public
offer (IPO) marks a high point in a 26-year journey, which transformed BIOCON from a
small enzyme-maker into a drug firm, even challenging global insulin makers like Eli Lily
and Novo Nordisk. We attempted to count the number of awards, which Kiran
Mazumdar Shaw had won for her advancements and innovations. Alas, we failed to
keep pace. Kiran secured the highest civilian honor of Padmashri, as early as 1989.
Apart from awards conferred by The Economic Times and Financial Express, she won
several mentions from Forbes.
In 2004, ET conferred the Businesswoman of the Year Awards on her and declared
BIOCON as "The Emerging Enterprise." In the Johny Walker Business Case Studies
survey conducted by Corporate Dossier (The Times of India) in December 2004, Kiran
emerged as one of the top ten most powerful CEOs in India.

About family

Kiran prides on her supportive, close-knit family, consisting of her parents and two elder
brothers. The daughter of a master-brewer at a leading beer-making company United
Breweries, Kiran proudly says that her father can almost be referred to as the inventor of the
Kingfisher beer. A man who was unconventional in his thinking and encouraging in his
measures, Kiran's father was the driving force behind every movement of hers.

Dad always told me I should pursue a career, Kiran reveals in a deferential tone. She gazes
wistfully through her office window at the robust almond tree, under which her father's ashes
lie today. If Dad were alive, he could have seen me the way I am today, she whispers
serenely. As though remembering, her eyes abruptly brighten as she proclaims, from that tree,
Dad watches me, every moment of my life.

A silent catalyst for BIOCON's stupendous success, Kiran's mother was a constant source of
strength and guidance. Mrs. Mazumdar proved to be a good anchor for her daughter
especially after the tragic demise of her husband.

It normally so happens that children draw inspiration from their mothers but in Kiran's case,
it was entirely the opposite. With the undying support and encouragement she derived from
her daughter, Mrs. Mazumdar invested in two businesses "the Mazumdar Farm and Jeeves, a
dry cleaning and laundry service agency", both of which have blossomed into successful
enterprises today.

The Mazumdar Farm produces a large range of vegetables, which are typically difficult to
cultivate. Carving a niche for herself in the ambit of organic vegetables, Mrs. Mazumdar
raised a business, which entails supplying her produce to five-star hotels and expatriate
communities in Bangalore. Kiran recalls that it all began when the representatives of a
catering institute, The Christ College approached Mrs. Mazumdar one day and asked her to
teach them to grow asparagus.

Jeeves specializes in rendering dry-cleaning and laundry services for airlines like Lufthansa
and Jet Airways, giant companies like Infosys and BIOCON and all the hotels in the city. At
BIOCON, all of us give our laundry to her, Kiran confesses.

With this venture, Mrs. Mazumdar obtained so phenomenal a success that she is now
purchasing an industrial shed. She's doing a really great job, Kiran reflects proudly. I believe
I have inherited my business-acumen genes from her.
Igniting the Spark

As a child, Kiran's aptitude for color and insatiable thirst for adventure heightened her
yearning to explore the intricacies of life and people. During most of her spare time, she
would experiment with colors and paint with even, nimble strokes.

At school, Kiran was very studious, categorically committing herself to every endeavor she
took on. She loved teachers who voiced radical views, taught different concepts and
generated new ideas.

Kiran always had good English teachers. She evokes in her memory the love she received
from Anne Warrior, one of her English teachers at school. She sowed in me, the seeds of
unconventionality, Kiran recounts with heartfelt reverence. She would dole out interesting
projects to her students, eliciting creativity and imagination from each of us. She encouraged
us to think innovatively.

The mysteries and colors of the sciences had always mesmerized Kiran. Genetics and
molecular biology began to captivate her during her undergraduate career at college. I drew a
lot of inspiration from my science professors who made an excellent faculty there, she beams.

Kiran's larger-than-life carriage won her the loyalty of numerous friends in college. When
Kiran didn't get a seat in medicine, which she had earlier aspired and tried for, she shoved her
disappointment aside and unperturbedly equipped herself with a BSc degree in Zoology in
which she stood first in the university. She then traveled to Australia to pursue her post-
graduate studies in Brewing and Fermentation Sciences from Monash University.

She was the only female student in her batch and the youngest in her class. At twenty-one, I
was also the most inexperienced as I had barely received exposure to the industrial and
corporate environments, she admits ruefully. In contrast, all my colleagues in Australia were
not only either in their late twenties or early thirties but had acquired solid work experience

The all-round girl's college, which Kiran had graduated from, gave her few opportunities to
interact with men. In Australia, she gradually learned to equate with men. Her steadfastness
won her the admiration of her male colleagues most of whom established sturdy friendships
with her and sat with her to work out several papers, helping her quicken her progress on the
learning curve. Unsurprisingly, Kiran topped the class.

A Test of Time

The 80-acre BIOCON premises, which stands majestically amidst the most elite of electronic
hotspot centers on Hosur Road today, constituted a remote, jungle area, twenty-one years
ago, when the company had no telephone.

Kiran manufactured simple enzymes, which she extracted from sources as diverse as raw
papaya and tropical fish. The firm initially supplied simple enzymes to an Irish company,
BIOCON. In due course, the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilevers bought over BIOCON
India's Irish partner. As a partner of Unilevers Empire, Kiran observed that global giant's
outsourced research extensively, which BIOCON could leverage. Thus began her journey.

Kiran traveled extensively from the apex of Kashmir to the base of Kanyakumari to build her
business. During those times, trains and buses were her best allies; she couldn't afford the
lavish comforts of flying. The train was my most preferred mode of transport even when I
took trips to Delhi, Kiran grins.

She had an age and gender credibility to source too. In Kiran's times, you had to be over forty
to head a company in India and be taken seriously.

Kiran had no credible investment bankers to back her; they perceived her as a gullible young
child. Her gender did not help her either.

It was extremely difficult to find people who were willing to work for me too, Kiran
recollects. She finally succeeded in impressing her investors with her intellect and I will
succeed attitude.

Acquiring her first bank loan was only the tip of the frosty iceberg. Raising money to build
her factory and adopt new R&D technologies was a Herculean task, especially in light of the
fact that R&D was an up-and-coming county for the industries and was hence virtually
unheard of.

Furthermore, R&D outcomes were so uncertain that applying normal investment criteria was
rather difficult. Undaunted by the lukewarm response, which her ideas evoked, Kiran
launched Syngene, a contract research company in 1994. She gathered sufficiently large
volumes of venture capital with the intention of honing India's outsourcing skills and
enhancing her potential for contract research. BIOCON's initial public offering (IPO) was
oversubscribed a record 33 times in presence of the oil-refining giant ONGC.

As the Indian biotech sector grew exponentially, the industry was flooded with a surge of
new biotech entrants, which began to embrace Kiran,s self-coined concept of research
process outsourcing.

Kiran believed in generating employment to the poor and unskilled labor force. When she
began BIOCON, she hired fifty unskilled workers, vowing to herself that she would permit
no differentiation between the labor force and the management. It didn't work. Education “or
the lack of it “became a big divide.

A problem arose in 1986-87 when the laborers decided to form a union. All though
momentarily startled by their announcement, Kiran calmly attempted to reason with them.
How can you address the management on a one-to-one level if you organize a union? she
queried. The frustrated workers saw no logic in Kiran's argument.

What are your problems? Please discuss them with me, Kiran requested.

We are perfectly fine. We have no problems, the workers assured. We are happy with the
work ambience. Nevertheless, we would like to belong to a union.

Kiran couldn't understand their motive. Why should you belong to a union, then? she mused,

The workers didn't take her question in the right spirit. The wide gaps in the communication
bred a lot of ill will and animosity. Workers would squat on the floors, brandish pickets and
effigies and call her all kinds of names.

Kiran began to find their attitude an encumbrance to the company. She took a bold decision.
Jettisoning the workers, she shut down the company's operation. After many weeks, an
automated BIOCON was established.

With this move, she incurred the wrath of the workers. Back then, she lived alone. In the
middle of the night and wee hours of the morning, would she receive phone calls from the
union leader, who said that she would be done for, if she didn't give in soon. The union even
threatened to fling acid on her.

As a man, you cannot make such threats, Kiran retorted. If you want to fight me, fight me on
a different level. Refusing to buckle down from the sheer exhaustion of it all, she gathered
her wits to sustain herself.

On another occasion, one of Kiran's R&D colleagues reminded her that he wanted to
purchase a computer for the company. As Kiran had to meet several other financial
requirements, she couldn't afford a computer that cost Rs.30,000. She told him as much.

If you desperately need a computer, find the money for it she added, unequivocally. And find
the money, he did. He took a loan from his grandfather. The company acquired the computer
and repaid the loan.

Kiran and her colleagues had the slenderest pay packets in comparison with the industry
standards. My first salary hovered around Rs.50. The salary of the President of the R&D
department was not more than Rs.1200 when he joined the company. We took the same
salary ever since, she reports. Another ingenious young man joined BIOCON India as the
marketing manager for a monthly pay of Rs.2500. When the Head of Operations came along
in 1990, he obtained Rs.4500. The deplorable plight they faced then is a far cry from the
whopping turnover of around Rs.5000 million, which BIOCON has achieved today.
Kiran's expression is one of tranquility as she looks back at the company she built patiently.
We were able to build the company only because the team accepted the low-salary scenario
back then and held on patiently, she acknowledges with satisfaction.

Into the Fray

With a view to launch anti-cancer drugs, BIOCON plans to build Asia's largest anti-body
facility in concert with CIMAB, a renowned Cuban research institute, which has received
recognition for its meticulous research in antibodies and immuno-therapies, particularly in the
field of oncology. The first product, which is an anti-EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor
Receptor), targets antibody h-R3 and is due to undergo clinical trials in Bangalore.

We expect to launch the product into the Indian market by the end of 2005, Kiran informs
with an upbeat smile. This will be followed by two more antibodies, anti-CD3, (an immuno-
suppressant for transplants) and anti-CD6, (which would work against rheumatoid arthritis
and T-Cell lynphoma). In the offing are also three cancer vaccines: EGF, TGF-alpha and

BIOCON has discovered a plethora of medium-term opportunities in the area of insulin
production. The company has also launched the world's first recombinant human insulin (r-
DNA) Insugen, with the objective of capturing a share of 20% over a span of the next two
years in the fast growing Rs.2.2 billion (USD 48.74 million) human insulin market. Besides
manufacturing enzymes and drugs to fight diabetes, cancer and cholesterol, BIOCON has
separate units, which offer contract research and clinical trial services for global clients in a
bid to cash in on relatively inexpensive scientists. BIOCON aims to grow at the rate of 30%
per year " a percentage, which carries the potential to make it a billion dollar company by the
end of the decade".

BIOCON intends to make a foray into the US market and is waiting for the US Food and
Drug Administration (USFDA) to spell out its regulatory policy on the generic version of
insulin. Kiran has already submitted a drug master file to the USFDA, becoming the first
Indian insulin producers to do so. The US and European markets are our long-term targets in
view of regulatory barriers, Kiran discloses.

BIOCON, India has also become a major global player in statin technology. Statins however,
provide us only a short-term opportunity, Kiran informs clearly. We believe we can discover
long-term opportunities in antibodies and proprietary molecules.

Statins, Insulins, antibodies and immuno-suppressants are now major areas of focus for

An Ocean of Wealth
Sporting a fancy scarf, a trendy haircut and a friendly smile, Kiran hardly looks like a
scientist who heads a 1,200-strong team of technical experts and a company, with more than
130 patents to its credit.

If she is the richest woman in the country today, she always attached a strong value for
money. Every product or service, which BIOCON was charged for, was handpicked.

Even today, we negotiate the price when I purchase machinery and equipment for BIOCON,
Kiran professes. She never spent money on extravagant purposes. Wherever she went, she
bought the cheapest train tickets and made sure she stayed in the cheapest of hotels. It is no
wonder that she hasn't been able to attune herself to "The Richest Woman of India" title.

The word rich gives a connotation that money has not been obtained in the kind of way I
would like it to be perceived. Richness can be inborn, inherited or usurped. The tag name rich
should throw light on the scuffles we have fought against, to climb to this position. The
BIOCON story is all about wealth creation. Anyone who is committed enough to the cause of
creating wealth can achieve it.

The words ennui and status quo do not exist in Kiran's dictionary. She believes she can
influence change at different levels, particularly by encouraging women to think differently
about themselves. She has been active in motivating women to speak up for themselves and
retaliate when they are treated subserviently or accused for not doing things right. Kiran set
up BIOCON Foundation, as an exclusive CSR-body, which would focus on bringing about a
social change in the areas of health care and education.

Being powerful doesn't mean throwing your weight around and ordering people, she rightly
says. To achieve power, one should possess the ability to elicit social change.

The Vision Beyond

BIOCON aims at standing as one of the top ten corporate biotech conglomerates, worldwide.
Kiran fervently hopes to see a BIOCON molecule in the world market in the next five years,
placing India in the coveted league of rare and vibrant biotech forerunners. India is one of the
biggest canters for biotechnology in the areas of health care and pharmaceuticals, she asserts.

Her vision was ratified when the Karnataka government founded a biotechnology Vision
group, with Kiran as its Chairman. Kiran advises the government on the policy initiatives that
it should introduce in the field of biotechnology.

Kiran has also been selected as the honorary Consul of Ireland for pharma-biotech ventures
between India and Ireland. The $350 billion pharmaceutical industry revolves around merely
400 drug targets, which are known to wreck human health.

The functional genomics should explode the universe to an ambit of 10,000 targets or more.
In short, trillions of dollars of business have been set to explode globally " a potential, which
had Bill Gates (Microsoft) subscribing to it too". Kiran has identified such an opportunity and
skillfully developed it to place India in the global map of biotechnology.

A position as one of the top ten G-7 or G-10 countries in the world is what India should aim
for, Kiran states with passion.

The Receptive Employer

Trust in every employee and the full freedom that each member of the staff has at his disposal
to work to his fullest potential, are some of the best features of BIOCON.

The question of gender never arises with Kiran. Such is her personality, the employee's state
in happy unison. Kiran candidly expresses her standpoint on workplace gender concerns:

Being a thoughtful manager has nothing to do with being a man or woman. You have to be
very fair and just. People shouldn't perceive you as a bigoted, self-opinionated soul who
favours certain kinds and classes of people.

What's more, you have to be approachable and communicate clearly to your folks. Perhaps,
the only difference I discern between a man and a woman is the historical belief that men
belong to the more powerful sex. Women are substantially more aware of the sensitivities of
people than a man is.

If one of my employees requested me to listen to a personal problem, I might at the least be
able to understand an iota of the turmoil they are going through. But men don't have the time
for that. In all likelihood, employees (and female employees in particular) would not openly
discuss their problems with a male CEO simply because they would not be quite so
comfortable doing so. A woman whose husband physically abuses her at home would feel
more at ease when she talks about her horrid instances to the woman in me.

IPO: Monetarily the company made news when it came up with an IPO in 2004 and to its
delight the issue was oversubscribed thirty times over. For Mazumdar Shaw it was a
vindication of years of hard work and patience. She was regarded as India's richest woman
with an estimated worth of Rs. 2,100 crore (Rs 2 1,000 million). With a huge campus on
Hosur Road in Bangalore, Mazumdar Shaw's labor of love has come a long way from the
humble beginnings in her garage.


She was termed India's Biotech Queen by The Economist and Fortune, and India's mother of
invention by New York Times.

Some of the major awards won by her are: - Wharton Infosys Business Transformation
Award (2006) Padma Bhushan (2005)
Honorary Doctorate from Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) (2005)

Lifetime Achievement Award from Indian Chamber of Commerce (2005)

Honorary Doctorate of Science, from Ballarat University (2004) The Economic Times
Business Woman of the Year Award (2004)

Whirlpool GR8 Women award for Science and Technology (2004)

Australian Alumni High Achiever Award from the IDP Australian Alumni Association

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Healthcare & Life Sciences Category

Woman of the Year from the International Women's Association, Chennai (1998-1999)

Padma Shri (1989) Outstanding Young Person Award by Jaycees (1987)

Rotary award for the Best Model Employer (1983)

Outstanding Contribution Award (AWAKE) (1983)

Gold for Best Woman Entrepreneur, Institute of Marketing Management (1982)

Conclusion: A true entrepreneur is one, who embarks on an unusual journey and creates a
team of people who believe in that journey. The self-made entrepreneur is a fearless risk-
taker, who possesses the courage, perseverance and will power to succeed.


                          Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar Gopinath

       Name          Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar Gopinath
       Education     Graduate of the National Defence Academy
       Occupation    Founder and CEO at Deccan Aviation and Air Deccan
       Founded       25 August 2003
       Industry      Aviation
       Headquarters Mumbai, India

Famous for
Pioneer of India's low-cost airline Air Decca. Ex-army officer turned farmer then
entrepreneur, in 1997, along with another colleague from the army, founded Deccan Aviation
- India's largest Private Helicopter Charter Company. In 2003 he became the pioneer in
launching India's first low-cost carrier Air Deccan - the common man's airline.

It was the largest airline in terms of its reach/network, the number of passengers flown and
it's fleet size. The only company, which overtook Indian Airlines and gained the 2nd largest
market share.

A former army officer and an award winning Seri culturist, Capt G.R Gopinath, made his
foray in the aviation sector way back in 1995; at a time when domestic aviation was
monopolized by a handful of Full Service Airlines (FSA) and strict government regulations
were the norm. He identified the potential which the helicopter charter business had in India.

Combining his entrepreneurial skills and vision with the technical skills of his ex-army
friends, he launched „Deccan Aviation a dedicated, customer focused heli-charter Company.
Today, Deccan Aviation, headquartered in Bangalore has 11 helicopters and 2 small aircraft
and operates out of nine major cities and locations, spanning the entire length and breadth of
India. The company is India‟s largest and most reputed private air charter company including
Sri Lanka.

Early life & Education

Captain G. R. Gopinath, Founder and CEO at Deccan Aviation and Air Deccan is a graduate
of the National Defence Academy and has served the Indian Army. He is considered the
father of low cost air travel in India. He created a whole new market when he launched
India`s first low cost airline, Air Deccan.

Capt G R Gopinath or Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar Gopinath or `Gopi` as he is affectionately
called was born in a Hassan Iyengar family of the remote village of Gorur, Karnataka.
Starting his studies in a village school, he completed his further schooling at Sainik (military)
School, Bijapur. Thereafter he joined the distinguished National Defence Academy and later
graduated from the Indian Military Academy as a commissioned officer in the Indian Army.
He then went on to serve the Army for eight years.

Sometime in 1995, the Govt. of India started the reforms process by encouraging
entrepreneurship. This inspired the entrepreneur in him to identify the tremendous potential
Helicopter Charter had in India. Along with an old Army friend he decided to start a private
sector commercial helicopter service in 1996. Starting with just one helicopter, today Deccan
Aviation boasts of 10 (Ten) Helicopters and two charter jets operating from eight major
locations criss-crossing the entire length of the country. This company is India‟s most reputed
private Air Charter Company with a presence now in Srilanka also.

Never Give Up!

For six years Captain Gopinath slept under a thatched roof and tried to make living by
growing bananas, cereals, coconuts, and vegetables in the government provided land when
his ancestral land was eaten up by a dam. It was in 1985 that he switched to silkworm rearing.
And he had to wait for four more years to see some success. Yes, that's ten long years of toil,
and it didn't end with farming.

When he launched Deccan Aviation, it took Captain Gopinath four years to get one helicopter
on lease. At every step he faced new bundle of challenges whether they emanated from
government controls, competition, or something else. His first Air Deccan flight caught fire
and everyone wrote his company off. But he says that he's been an optimist who always
refused to give up. He faced all challenges head on, to give India Air Deccan that boasts
about fastest aircraft turnaround time, cost efficiency, wide connectivity, and ticketing access.

Pursue Your Passion

Captain Gopinath stresses that one should pursue his passion and never let fear of failing
come in the way. The problems will come and failures are unavoidable but having single
minded focus, determination, and ability to assimilate failures is the only way forward, he
believes. From army, farming and deals, to aviation, Gopinath has had one dream that is to
make a difference and in spite of all odds he continues to pursue that.


Story of a traditional clay craftsman Mansukhbhai Prajapati who invented a
refrigerator of clay

Mansukhbhai Raghavjibhai Prajapati famous for Potter Mansukhbhai Prajapati, a traditional
clay craftsman, has developed an entire range of earthen products for daily use in the kitchen.
These products include water filters, refrigerators, hot plates, cooker and other such items of
daily use.

Mansukhbhai Prajapati's unique invention might prove to be a big boon for lower and
middle-income groups. He has invented a refrigerator of clay, which promises to cool not
only water, but also conserve vegetables and fruits for days. The USP of the fridge is that it‟s
affordable and does not require electricity.

The upper portion of the clay fridge has a storage capacity of 20 litres of water while the
bottom cabinet has separate spaces for storing fruits, vegetables and fruits. Priced at Rs.3000,
the clay fridge under the brand name `Mitti Cool' is already generating a favourable public

Family and Background

The place, Morbi, is a taluka in Rajkot district, located in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. It
accounts for more than 70 per cent of the total ceramic production in India and is home to
more than 350 ceramic products manufacturing units. The products manufactured here are
not only for domestic consumption but are also exported.

Born in the Prajapati family, originally belonging to the village Nichimandal of Morbi,
Rajkot. Mansukhbhai has his parents, wife and two sons in his family. His father Raghavbhai
and wife Hiraben help him in his work of designing and making potteries. His younger son is
in school while the elder one is completing his diploma in ceramic technology.

Mansukhbhai had exposure to the clay tradition since childhood, as this was his family‟s
traditional profession. Being the only son and the eldest child, though he helped his father in
his work, he was more interested in cricket and other games.

He used to load clay from the ponds and fields on the donkey and ferry it to his place. Other
than this, his contribution was limited as he was not much interested in the pottery work.
After the breakdown of Machhu dam of Morbi in 1979, his family lost everything and they
had to migrate to Wankaner, where his father took the job of a mason to support the family. It
was here that his journey as a worker in a small rooftop tile manufacturing unit started, which
today has reached a point where he is recognized as a successful entrepreneur.

The Struggle

Though his family was struggling with finances, his parents motivated him to study up to
class ten. He then left studies to provide a helping hand in augmenting family‟s resources. He
started to work in a small factory. But, in the very first month, while working inside a
chimney, his left eye got injured because of which he had to quit work for over eight months.
Once his sight improved, in 1984, he started his tea lorry near the highway but somehow due
to the persistent comments of some of his acquaintance he closed it down within six months

Earlier, one of his uncles had visited him at the tea lorry inquiring about a person who would
be interested to work in a rooftop tile manufacturing unit. He had shown his interest then and
after closing the tea lorry joined the unit, Jagdamba Potteries, as a trainee at Rs.300 per
month in 1985. He worked hard for three years and learned all the related works of the unit.
During this time, he also helped his parents marry off his younger sisters.

Initial breaking point

In 1995, a business man from Rajkot, Chiragbhai Patel came to Wankaner looking for a
vendor who could provide him clay water-filters. Chiragbhai was an exporter who had to
deliver this order to Nairobi, Kenya. He got the lead about Mansukhbhai from Jagdamba
Potteries, where Mansukhbhai worked earlier. They recommended his name to him.
Mansukhbhai was shown the design of the filter. He was expected to deliver the water filter
in a month‟s time but he delivered within eight days. It was a terra cotta filter having a
ceramic candle for filtration. Looking at the quality of the output, Chiragbhai immediately
ordered 500 pieces at a price of Rs. 200 per piece, which was double the earlier decided price
of Rs. 100 per piece. The product was sold in the name of Aquatech through Chiragbhai‟s
marketing agency.
This incident changed his life. A business of Rs.1 lakh not only gave him financial freedom
but also the confidence, social respect and identity.

Mansukhbhai filed for Design registration and also the Trade Mark application in the name of
Mitticool in 2001. He is manufacturing and selling the water filter of different capacities viz.
8 litre (Rs. 300/-), 10 litre (Rs. 350/-) and 12 litre (Cost Rs. 400/-).

Mitticool – fridge

In the fateful earthquake of January 2001, Mansukhbhai suffered huge loss, as most of
his stock got broken. He distributed the stock that escaped the quake to the quake
affected people of Kutch. In February 2001, Sandesh Gujarati Daily had a photo feature
on the earthquake where at one place it showed a broken water filter of Mansukhbhai
with the caption ‘the broken fridge of poor’.

This caption ignited a thought in him to work on a rural fridge that did not need
electricity and could be used by masses. Though he started thinking about it after the
Gujarat earthquake of 2001, it was 2002 when he actually started his work. Almost the
same time, Mansukhbhai came into the contact of Gujarat Grassroots Innovation
Augmentation Network (GIAN), Ahmedabad. After a painstaking journey of three
years during which he tested all sorts of soils and fridge designs, he finally came out
with Mitticool fridge in 2005.A civil engineer saw the fridge and looking at its
applications gave him the order of 100 pieces and an advance of Rs. 2 lakh.

It is a small refrigerator made of clay for storing vegetables, fruits, milk and water. It
does not need any external source of energy for the cooling effect. The first version of
Mitticool had two water chambers, one at the top and the other at the bottom. Water
filtered from the top chamber (20 litre capacity) and got collected in the bottom
chamber, which also had a dispensing tap. Between the two water chambers was a space
for storing vegetables, fruits (up to 3 kg) and milk. The principle of cooling in the
mitticool is same as that of clay pots, or 'matkas'. Mansukhbhai sold this fridge for Rs
1500, but discontinued its production after developing a better version of the same.

In the second version, Mansukhbhai did away with the bottom water chamber thereby
increasing more space for storage. The tap was fixed on the top water chamber whose
capacity was reduced to 10 litres. The two bottom compartments together can store
about 5-7 kg of vegetables, fruits and milk. The natural cooling process inside the
refrigerator can keep vegetables and fruits fresh for around six to seven days, while
milk can be preserved for three days. Apart from saving on electricity bill, the new
device also preserves the original taste of fruits and vegetables.

He has not left there, has developed an entire range of earthen products for daily use in the
kitchen. These products include water filters, refrigerators, hot plates, cooker and other such
items of daily use.

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