The festive season at Be! Fund Mumbai kicked off with back to back Gateway 2 interviews with our bright, young entrepreneurs.
The interview panel was ready: Mr. Arun Kumar Waghchoure, a serial start-up entrepreneur who has co-founded ventures such as Tigri Innovation Pvt. Ltd, Rocket Sales Weekends, Weekly Review Service and is also a visiting faculty at B-schools in Mumbai. Mr. Shalabh Sahai, a co-founder of iVolunteer and is an expert in human resources for the rural and social development sector and Professor Anant Amdekar, a practicing company secretary, financial analyst and a faculty at B-schools as well.
The interviews were a super success. Each panelist was positive, supportive, enthusiastic and used their exceptional experience to help our entrepreneurs build better plans. In fact, once upon a time, Mr. Shalabh was student at IRMA, in Anand Gujarat and was involved with reviving two cooperatives in Uttar Pradesh. His presence on the panel left 21 year-old, Ujjwal to face the challenge of defending his business idea: to provide pure, unadulterated milk in Buldhana district. Ujjwal’s idea is to set up retail outlets to sell milk and use the animal waste to produce biogas and fertilizer.
Ujjwal’s exciting interview was followed by questions directed at Vilas, age 25 from Aurangabad. Vilas would like to make interlocking bricks by recycling the coal ash (waste from coal thermal plans and stone dust). Vilas proudly proclaimed that even though these bricks are unknown to most people, they can actually reduce the housing construction cost by about 30-50%.
We also had Prasanjeet, age 30, a blind physiotherapist from Yavatmal. He currently provides treatment by offering home visits to patients. He believes that a clinic in the village can allow him to increase his outreach, provide treatment at a low cost and in the process, be a role a model for other visually challenged people in the community. Tanaji, from Kolhapur also presented his idea – he wants to make compost from the agricultural waste in his village for organic fertilizers are nature-friendly and help to get better yield.
Last but not least, it was Tushar that bedazzled the panelists. 22 year-old Tushar, a resident of Buldhana has been fascinated with honey bees, ever since he saw a documentary about bees as a teenager on Discovery Channel. He has pursued his fascination by opting to earn a graduation degree in Agriculture. Tushar would like to lay out boxes for bee keeping in fields, which can help farmers to increase their yield, given that they act as pollinating agents. The honey produced can be sold for medicinal use. Perhaps, the best moment in the day was when Mr. Anant asked him, “Aap ek dabba laga kar shuru kyon nahin kar lete?” (“Why don’t you start by putting out one box?). Tushar promptly responded, “Ek dabba laga kar business shuru ho sakta tha, toh maine kab ka laga liya hota!” (“If my business could be started by merely putting out one box, I would have done it years ago!”)
You may think that six hours of incessant questioning and probing of business ideas would tire out the panelists; but the reality was the contrary. The panelists were confronted by varying business plans from varying sectors that kept their minds racing and our passionate entrepreneurs kept them quizzing for loopholes and possible pitfalls in their seemingly foolproof business plans.
We were inspired. Maharashtra – our entrepreneurs are amazing.
Follow us in 2013 as we find and invest in young women entrepreneurs in Maharashtra.