Entrepreneurship

These father-child bosses mean serious business! Father’s Day Special

From making medicines to curb hangover to building a 100 crore company, here are some awesome father-child duo in business! Father’s Day special.

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At 23, this solo design entrepreneur from Chandigarh has built a bootstrapped, profitable business

“I am proud of myself for everything I’ve managed to do. Feels great when people appreciate my work, call me ‘fashion entrepreneur’, ‘designer’. Inara is more a part of me now. My vision. My passion.”

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Serial entrepreneur tells us what it takes to build businesses and about his venture to keep you safe

Here’s Vikas Bagaria, a serial entrepreneur who realized about diluted outlook on safety in India and his journey of building business enterprises!

2 months ago No Comments Views

Story of a Kristin, a woman on a mission to solve Indian women’s sanitary needs, eco-friendly way

This post is a part of Neer, a collaborative project by DCB Bank and Chaaipani to bring out stories of individuals and initiatives that are working hard and smart to save water.

Menstruation in India, is hands down, still a taboo. While that’s a shocking reason as to why someone should limit themselves to contribute to the society, reports suggests that around 23% of girls drop out from school after they start menstruating. 70% of women in India say their family can’t afford to buy them sanitary napkins, making 88% of the women resort to shocking alternatives like unhygienic cloth, ashes and husk sand.

With an extraordinary vision to solve this pressing healthcare problem and at the same time save the environment, Saathi was introduced by Kristin Kagetsu, Amrita Saigal, Grace Kane and Zach Rose. We met Kristin at Maker Fest and were surprised with the depth of the otherwise usual rant about hygiene lethargy in our country.

Kristin was born and brought up in New York City.

“My parents studied STEM in college and went on to have careers in healthcare. They inspired me to be interested in problem solving and learning to be resourceful.”

A curious kid, Kristin aspired to go to NASA and build Mars rovers.

“And then, I got involved in DLab at MIT where I learned about co-creation and appropriate technology. I visited India in 2012 and was working with Avani, an NGO in Uttarakhand on a project to create natural dye crayons. I went back to US and joined a big software/hardware company but something was missing.  Something about India convinced me to come back and serve it better. I wanted to create an impact in people’s lives, I wanted to solve a real, pressing problem.”

Kristin met her co-founders – Amrita, Grace & Zach and was fascinated by the idea of Saathi.

“Product development and sustainability interested me. The idea of Saathi was born during Amrita and Zach’s senior design class at MIT. They were brainstorming on the idea of creating low-cost sanitary napkins for women in rural India. It was challenging and hence, it fascinated me.”

However, during the course of development, the concept was tweaked a bit, all for the better.

“We realised that low-cost sanitary pads doesn’t mean that we have addressed the entire lifecycle of the product, solving one problem was leading to other. So we came up with the idea of creating eco-friendly sanitary pads at affordable rates.”

With 88% of women  in India who do not have access to sanitary pads, India still produces 9000 tons of sanitary waste every month. The pads in the industry use plastic and ‘super absorbents’ which end up doing more harm to the environment.

Only 12% of women in India have access to sanitary pads. And that’s a small very small number. Even then every month, 9000 tonnes of sanitary waste is produced.Saathi Pads, Sanitary, Indian women, Women Health, Women hygiene, Sanitary Napkins, Eco-friendly sanitary napkin sanitary pad available right now, across all categories use the same basic ‘Super absorbent’ materials and chemicals in these pads make them the environment’s worst nightmare.

 

The team came up with several ideas while deciding what they wanted to make and one clicked.

“We realised that banana fibres are good absorbents and usually treated as waste by farmers. With our model, we also create an additional source of income for these farmers. We are also looking at engaging women in rural and urban sets with our idea”

Saathi sources banana fibres from a banana plantation belt near Ahmedabad.

“Saathi was everything that I was passionate about woven together in one – engineering, sustainable product development, empowering women, and expanding it as a social enterprise.”

Talking of her first yay moment with Saathi, Kristin says,

“It was amazing to see the first prototype that looked like commercial pads! We are now looking to launch the product on the market very soon (we are taking pre-orders now!) and set up a manufacturing plant.”

 

4 months ago No Comments Views

Meet Sonia, a stay-at-home working mom clocking company revenues in millions!

“Sometimes when I am on a call with my clients and my daughter calls out for me, of course, they hear her voice and ask me, ‘Are you working from home or have you brought your daughter to work?’ It leaves them wondering because they never realized a stay-at-home-mom was running the organization.”

4 months ago 1 Comment Views

Story of a 21-year-old and how he braved depression and made it a stepping stone for others

What you see on the surface is a restless, confused child but dig a little deeper and you will find a young man hungry for knowledge and zealous to bring about a change. That is Ayush Jaiswal for you.

6 months ago 1 Comment Views

The men behind PeeBuddy are now taking on other ‘girly’ problems one by one

If I had a rupee for every time I have suffered bladder pains because of not being able to use a public toilet, I would have been able to afford my own minivan with a loo in it.

6 months ago 1 Comment Views

In the middle of shiny funding news, this entrepreneur addresses the elephant in the room – depression

“My mother would come to my room to give me food and water, almost every day for several months. I wouldn’t even get up to wash my hands..

6 months ago 2 Comments Views

Anees Kutty – The man who taught mathematics to thousands of defence officers of India!


 

Years ago, in the lesser known outskirts of Pune, a young boy who excelled in football, hockey and several other games topped his 10th Grade Board exams.  The following year he tutored his younger brother who subsequently topped his Tenth Grade exams. The following year his younger brother’s friends were taught by him and all of them topped their school. When the boy’s youngest sibling was tutored by him, yet again history repeated itself!

This young boy who was born in Kerala and later brought up in Pune, Maharashtra, used to help his parents run their bakery in Vishrantwadi after school hours.  Going around on his cycle selling bread, butter, jam and Keralite bakery items, with a smile on his face, the boy who exhibited exceptional brilliance in academics is now fondly known among his students, friends and well wishers, as Anees Bhaiya.

Back in 1988, the young Anees who was immensely popular in his school and neighbourhood for his wizardry in mathematics, set up a full-fledged coaching centre named Anees Classes to help mould young students for admission to India’s National Defence Academy (NDA) in Pune.

“I didn’t have much money to buy refreshers and guides,” a smiling Anees recalls his school days.
“After school hours, my friends would come to me seeking help in solving problems. They would also share their refreshers and guides with me.  That’s how my first teaching experience began and I realised that I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

He recalls his years from class 1 to 10 to be a bumpy journey with a lot of fond memories.  Often he had been made to stand outside his classroom as he couldn’t pay the fees on time.  It was at such times that the kindness and affection showed by his teachers got him through.

Miss Govandu, Mr. Thacker, Miss Patwardhan are the few teachers who helped him.  “I was always the teachers’ pet,” he reminisces.  “I switched schools for my class 11 and 12, and that required a long distance travel from home to school. It was at that time that I took up teaching further and started charging Rs. 50 for my evening classes.  My father initially told me that I was doing a foolish thing as I would earn more if I just continued selling the bakery items but my mother supported me and I continued teaching and embarked on home tuitions as well.”

“After my class 12, I was in a dilemma as to what to do further. I wanted to go for medicine but didn’t have the means to pursue it.  I didn’t want to become an engineer and due to family’s frugal financial condition, I ended up pursuing a course leading to a Diploma in Electronics and Communication Engineering which I never enjoyed.  My passion was for teaching and by now I had around 40-50 students in a batch. I taught a multitude of subjects including Marathi and various syllabi simultaneously.”

Anees, who himself experienced the pain of not receiving career advice from anyone in his time, freely offers career counselling to all his students.  While speaking to him one can’t help but notice the warmth and friendly nature he shares with everyone, be it his staff, students or a visitor. He is nothing less than an Academic Superman.

He tells us his story amidst some counselling for some kids.

“Later on, I bought the premises that had been the family’s rented abode and dedicated a separate area for my classes.  If on one side of the class I was solving sums for students in one syllabus, two minutes later I would be solving sums to another batch doing a different syllabus.”

One by one his own students became teachers at Anees Classes. The one criterion he stipulated was that all the teachers were to be trained in his classes.  This ensured that all the teachers were well acquainted with the style and methodologies followed there.

Today, Anees Classes is spread over 11 locations in Pune and have students coming from all over India.  With hostel facilities and food provided for the students, Anees Sir ensures that the students get the best of everything.  For this, he has expanded the courses offered starting from stress management classes, coaching classes from class 1 to 12, foreign language classes, soft skills and personality development to various workshops, summer camps, and so on.

But how did he start preparing students for the NDA?

“Back in 1993, three students from Sainik School, Satara (a system of schools to prepare students for entry into the National Defence Academy and Indian Naval Academy) had come to me. All the three got into the NDA.  The following year, seven came and later on 10 and then 16.  Later I got to know these were Sainik school students.  It was then that I started providing them with food and accommodation at my own place”.

Over the years, Anees Classes have prepared over 1000 successful students for the NDA and over 400 are officers in the Army, Navy and Air Force.

He also has his own unconventional techniques for teaching mathematics and has even given them unique names.  Jugal Bandi, Chandal Chowkadi, Amar Akbar Antony, Mara Mari are a few of them.

A true philanthropist in every sense of the word, Anees Sir believes in helping every student. He isn’t a materialistic person and gives students the option of a refund in case they don’t like his classes.  In the year 1997, he started a family Trust called the Evergreen Foundation along with his father, mother and wife as trustees.  Initially this Trust began funding financially weaker students.  Besides Evergreen Foundation, Anees Kutty has also co-founded MStartups.biz and the Indian Muslim Entrepreneurs Forum.  He wants to create a global platform for young professionals and help nurture businessmen of tomorrow.  The Evergreen Foundation conducts several events and workshops to promote professionals to pursue their dreams and careers.

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Asked about what makes him the happiest, he says,

“The most satisfying part is that all my students are doing better than I do. I have realised that somewhere down the lane my students have picked up the values I hold.  They believe in honesty and are genuine.  Most of them call and wish me on my birthday and send me Rakhis on Raksha Bandhan. I am always remembered as their Anees Bhaiya.”

So what is the secret behind this good heart?

“I live by three mottos – Accept, Adjust and Appreciate.”

Well, one thing is for sure. Call him Anees Kutty, Anees Sir or Anees Bhaiya, this man with a heart of gold is a true example of

“Teachers don’t teach for the income, teachers teach for the outcome!”

Do you think you have a story that could inspire several out there? Email us on contact@chaaipani.com, or join us on Facebook and Twitter (@chaaipani). To get inspiring stories on WhatsApp, just drop your number here.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our strictly no-spam e-mail newsletter to brighten up your inbox!

7 months ago 1 Comment Views

A confused shopaholic from Indore to building a her own startup in Delhi, Meghna’s story is inspiring!

That Meghna was talking to me for the very first time was not evident in the entire conversation. She was chatty to say the least but she was also very open and humble. Maybe these are the qualities that have won her star mentors like Sanjiv Bikhcandani and an A-team for her 3-year old startup Styledotme.

A self-confessed hustler and go-getter, Meghna has that dormant rebel inside her that becomes ferociously active when someone puts her down or tells her that she won’t be able to do a certain something.

“When someone says no, you can’t do it – I have to do it. This was pretty much how Styledotme was also started. The idea was there in my mind for about two years but I wasn’t doing anything about it. The day one of my friends told me that I am too lazy and I won’t ever be able to do it, I started working on it.”

Armed with a degree in visual communication, Meghna was going about her life in Delhi as a graphic designer and at the risk of sounding stereotypical, she does admit to being a typical shopaholic girl.

“I think I didn’t have any style sense, but I love shopping and trying out new outfits. However, deciding on what is looking good on me, or choosing one outfit after trying many was a huge task when I went for shopping alone. I used to be in trial room for hours, sending selfies to my friends and then calling them up to ask what I should buy. In fact, deciding what to wear everyday was confusion in itself.”

She was working in InfoEdge at the time when these trial-room struggles became a bit too much. InfoEdge is also where she met Sanjiv Bikhchandani, one of the most known names of the entrepreneur sector, who went on to become her mentor.

“When I was convinced that this is what I want to do, I quit my job and went back to Indore to focus full-time on Styledotme.”

Going back home was a financial decision more than anything else, as Meghna wanted to save on her living expenses while she worked on her startup. But it wasn’t an easy journey. From friends and relatives who called her foolish for quitting a good job in  Delhi to peers who questioned her for being a woman entrepreneur, Meghna had to face a lot of skepticism at every step.

“It is never easy initially but I am glad I overcame that phase with the help of my family and great mentors.”

From being a woman entrepreneur to a single founder to not knowing the first thing about building apps or technology, in the textbook of startup success stories, her credentials came right under “What not to do” and yet here she is proving everyone wrong.

Reminiscing one particular childhood incident, Meghna shares that perseverance is something that comes naturally to her.

“I had applied to Baroda Art School, along with one of my classmates from school. It so happened that both of us got an interview call and just before our presentation, she insisted that I show her mine. Next day, when I met her at the venue for our interview I see that she has copied all of my ideas. There wasn’t enough time for me to redo my presentation and due to the alphabetical order, she was supposed to present before me. When the panel saw my presentation after hers, they thought that I copied from her and obviously I couldn’t convince them. As a result I didn’t get admission there. Long story short, when I went back with a heavy heart and met my school principal she said to me that she believed in me. She said in front of 5-6 people that she was sure I would go to a much better college and something better is in store for me. Those words have never left me and always inspire me to keep doing my work sincerely. Unfortunately, principal ma’am is not with us anymore but her words resonate with me even today.”

Meghna is a treat to talk to and the warmth of her persona came across from the moment our short conversation began. She is inspirational in her ways and her passion travels through her gestures and words.

“I am truly lucky to have met the right people who believe in me and my vision. I think if your approach is right and you meet the right people, things do fall in place.”

Do you think you have a story that could inspire several out there? Email us on contact@chaaipani.com, or join us on Facebook and Twitter (@chaaipani). To get inspiring stories on WhatsApp, just drop your number here.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our strictly no-spam e-mail newsletter to brighten up your inbox!

8 months ago No Comments Views
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