E Week Yatra Stories
It's All About Making a Difference
Jyoti Nivas College Auditorium, Bangalore
Feb 13, 6.30 pm
H K Mittal shared two fascinating entrepreneurship stories in his keynote address, and I thought both of them deserved a standing ovation!
The first story was of BS Mann, an entrepreneur who is one of the biggest employers of the hearing and speech impaired in the world. It all started when he thought of solving the problem of car thefts in a Delhi colony using RFID technology. With 20,000 cars in the colony, he estimated that if he charges Rs 500 per car, he would be able to generate monthly revenues of Rs 1 crore.
But, what looked good on paper wasn’t as promising in real life. Thanks to politics within the resident associations in the colony, he could implement RFID and automate only four of the eight colony gates, rendering the solution ineffective. Unregistered car users would either use the manual gates, or worse, would abuse the gatekeepers to allow them entry. Any other entrepreneur would have called it off as a failure, but not Mann. In a unique process-innovation strategy, he hired deaf and dumb gatekeepers instead. Unauthorized visitors became frustrated and turned away, and the number of registered car owners went up to 12,000! Mann has employed over 50 hearing and speech impaired people since then!
The second story was about Subramani, a biotech researcher and entrepreneur who runs a successful startup that creates artificial flowers, which feel and smell like real flowers. His flowers even leave a wet feel on your fingertips! These flowers are made on the banks of the Ganges, in a remote village in Bihar. Over 3000 fisherwomen use their nimble fingers to weave the flowers, and thanks to Subramani’s startup, the fisherwomen earn over Rs 300 a day.
“Entrepreneurship is one of the most powerful ways to bring change in the world we live in, like these two entrepreneurs have so ably proved,” said Mittal.