Pune: Sometimes, even a mundane incident can spark off an idea that may set one on the road to entrepreneurship and wealth. This is what exactly happened with Baramati-based Manoj Nale, whose journey went from being a researcher at a pharma centre to becoming an entrepreneur after being inspired by a kulfi seller.
Not being able to earn enough for his living as a researcher, Nale, a post-graduate in chemistry started a kulfi business in 2016.
“I worked as a researcher for two years. However, I wasn’t earning enough to sustain myself,” said Nale, who belongs to Dorlewadi which is about seven km from Baramati.
“I would often have kulfi from the kulfiwala near my research centre. He once told me that the ice-cream suppliers have directed the vendors to sell at least 200 kulfis a day. I got my idea to start a kulfi business from there,” said Nale, who had a turnover of Rs 1.5 crore last year. The target for this year is Rs 3 crore.
Nale created direct jobs for 66 people in his village and supplies kulfis to around 50 outlets. His indirect job creation is over 300.
For the past 27 years, Bhartiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST) along with Confederation of Indian
Industry (CII) has been mentoring thousands of such young entrepreneurs in the villages and they are called Grampreneurs.
The organisation was active in around eight districts of Maharashtra including Pune, Aurangabad, Wardha, Jalna, Ahmednagar, Amravati, Yavatmal and Satara. Apart from Maharashtra, it is also working in New Delhi, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Odisha.
The organisation so far has touched the lives of over 6 lakh youths and created over 7,000 entrepreneurs. Maharashtra has over 1,800 such entrepreneurs.
“Our primary job is to mentor the young minds in rural areas as they have business ideas in sectors like textiles, ice-cream, handicraft materials, service, manufacturing or constructions. Our objective is to foster entrepreneurship among the under-privileged youth who lack resources but have adequate knowledge,” said Founding and Managing Trustee of BYST, Lakshmi Venkatesan.
Venkatesan highlighted that mentoring was needed. “We need more mentors who can guide these entrepreneurs. Especially in villages, we find that youngsters have the idea but can’t find a channel to establish their business,” she added.
Former managing director and chief executive officer of Indian Bank and IDBI Bank Kishor Kharat who is currently working as a mentor with the organisation, said, “Often youngsters are stuck at the initial stage like sanction of loans from the bank. They have innovative ideas which end up not being eligible for loans. Here, we guide these youths to present their business ideas to banks so that they can get loans.”
Kharat said that rural youngsters don’t know how to utilise their money. Here the organisation intervenes and plays the role of guiding them.
“Once any new entrepreneur approaches us, we do a background check. We check whether they can be regular in paying their loan instalments etc.,” said Mahadev Gaikwad, a mentor associated with the organisation since 2008. He has been a mentor to Nale since 2016.