India is a country full of entrepreneurs and people are setting up startups now and then. Although not every startup business can survive for more than one financial period. Of these million businesses popping every day, only a few can get through their introductory stage and make some growth. However, on the close study of these businesses, we understand that a large number of these successful businesses are run by IIT & IIM Graduates.
In India, IIT & IIM graduates are considered as the most elite class of human beings. One reason behind this mentality is that it is very tough to make your way to these institutes because of the tough-end entrance examinations. Another reason is the institutes are equipped with the best in class facilities and faculties which make them the most renowned institutes in India. Hence, a person who manages to bag a seat in IIT & IIM is considered gems.
Well, this is not hypocrisy as those IIT/IIM students never fail to prove their worth to the country. This is proven by a large number of employment opportunities and job offers that are lined up after the graduation and post-graduation from one of these institutes. Although many of the pass-outs have a different agenda in their mind. They start their own business and their businesses are not ordinary. Most of the businesses started by these unique minds have the most innovative ideas.
One such story comes from a gold-medalist from IIM-Ahmadabad.
The IIM Gold Medalist who changed the fate of Farmer and Vegetable Vendors
Kaushalendra, a guy born in the Nalanda District of Bihar and a resident of Patna is one such mind, who has set yet another example to prove the worth of IIM students. Kaushalendra was always enthusiastic about studying in an IIT. However, circumstances were not favourable and he could not make it there. As a result, he had to get his B-Tech degree from Indian Council of Agriculture Research, Junagadh, Gujarat. After completing his graduation in 2003, Kaushalendra started an Rs. 6000 per month job. His job was related to irrigation measures.
However, his zeal to study in an Indian Institute was not going to fade so easily. Hence, after working for a while he dropped out of his job and started preparing for bagging a seat in IIM. His efforts yielded him a seat in IIM-Ahmadabad. He pursued an MBA from IIM and he was good enough to bag a gold medal in the final year.
After completing his MBA from IIM, he came back to Patna in 2007. He had graduated in the agriculture field and now he had the business mindset of an IIM graduate. Hence, he decided to use his skills to help the farmers. To enact upon his vision, he along with his brother founded Kaushalya Foundation.
Kaushalya Foundation & Samriddhi Scheme
Through Kaushalya Foundation, he has introduced the Farm Fresh Produce (FFP) Retail and Supply Chain model. Here farmers and street vegetable vendors are directly partnered. Although he did not have enough funds to run his business he never lost hope. However, things took away a positive turn when he launched the Samriddhi Scheme.
Under the Samriddhi scheme, farmers & street vendors were registered. The organization’s employee would collect the vegetables from the farmers and supply it to the registered vendors. These vendors were bestowed with AC green carts. These innovative icy cold carts are made of fibres and have a capacity of holding 200 kilograms of vegetable, Keeping them fresh for almost 5 to 6 days. The vendors have to sell vegetables from designated sell points. Also, the farmers are given suggestions and advice for their farming techniques to enhance their yield.
With his unique business plan, Kaushalendra has been able to benefit several farmers and vegetable vendors. Farmers have been able to reap 20 to 25% more and vendors have reaped 60 to 70% more profits with Kaushalya Foundation. Every vendor bags an earning of Rs. 8000 per month with only 8 hours of working as compared to 14 hours earlier.
Until now around 20,000 farmers and thousands of vegetable vendors have registered with Kaushalya Foundation. The organization is run by 700 employees.
In the beginning, only a small Samriddhi stall was put up in front of a school. The stall made only an income of Rs. 22. However, Kaushal’s efforts have made the foundation’s turnover of around Rs. 5 crores. Several agricultural institutes, banks, and other financial sector entities have extended their hands to join this innovative venture.
Motive Behind The Business
He had always grown seeing the drudgery of small farmers of Bihar. After moving to Gujrat for his graduation, the one thing that triggered Kaushalendra was that if an arid state like Gujrat can be agriculturally prosperous, then why not Bihar which is rich in resources.
The founder Kaushlendra said, “The farmers know how to do farming but did not know the technique to enhance production and didn’t have a market.”
Thus, with the establishment of ‘Samriddhi’, he helped vegetable growers and sellers in organizing and professionalizing their work. Kaushalendra also described that 90 per cent of farmers does not have access to Government schemes or banks credits. Further, most of the farmers do not even own the land. They cultivate in patches of land taken on rent, lease. Some farmers even harvest on a shared profit basis. The Kaushalya Foundation took the responsibility to organise such vegetable growers into small groups.
Talking about vendors, he said that they lead a hard life as most of them have migrated from nearby villages in Patna. 60 per cent of these vendors is women. They have to bear harassment from police and municipal bodies. They have to manage a lot from procurement, transportation, cleaning/washing, sorting and arranging the vegetables to handling customers and bearing the wastage due to lack of storage facilities. Hence, these vendors were also brought under the umbrella of Samriddhi.
Vision and Aim
Kaushalendra has to input his business with a perfect marketing mind. His courage and love for the society have endowed Bihar with an amazing business plan which has benefitted the two major factors of our daily food chain. He has uplifted the potential people who would have fallen for unemployment otherwise. He is now aimed to develop a market where vegetable farmers have the power to change the nature of markets like FDI in retail and they are capable of bargaining for their products.
This move of Kaushalendra has given goals to the government and other people to utilize their knowledge and efforts for uplifting the people. It is proof that making money and doing social welfare can be the same thing.