A 'Fauji' all the way
Rajinder had lived a life replete with challenges that beckoned him to confront
tribulations headlong. He was in the army and had learnt to take pride in the thorns
that pricked him everyday in serving India. He couldn't imagine a life without
feats that made his nerves freeze. He enjoyed his days packed with activities. He
was used to such circumstances but even before he realized, his retirement knocked
the door. Retirement set in boredom, he started rema ining irritated and appeared
frenzied all the time. He wanted to do something but could not settle on something
concrete. After his retirement he wasn't the same hale and hearty Rajinderthat
people had known. But God knew he deserved better.
Ask Rajinder and he raises his head as if recall ing the fortunate moment when he
had spotted an advertisement in a local daily on Entrepreneurship Development Programme.
Rajinder remembers not having really got excited about undergoing a programme and
setting up a business. He says, "I was confused butsince I wasn't into
anything, I decided to give ita shot."
Little did Raj inder know that he was going to get a purpose in life. He underwent
training by EDI tra ined trainers at the Regional Centre for Entrepreneurship Training
in Jammu and Kashm ir. Rajinder says that everyday as he gained knowledge, his resolve
soared. He had inhibitions about setting up a business and always thought he was
not a cut out for it but by the end of the programme, says Rajinder, "I knew
I could also be a successful businessman. I never knew that doing business could
Hisfondness for pickles made him consider the business of manufacturing and marketing
pickles. Being an ex-army man the name that fascinated him for his enterprise was
Fauji and within no time Rajinder became an entrepreneur, owningthe unit, 'Fauji
Pick les.' Rajinder says that applying for loan did bringin that little sense
of insecurity for a moment in the garb of questions like - 'What if I fail,
' ' Am I on the right track'. But then, immediately his shakes his head
to add that those fears were momentary. He credits EDI trainers for constantly monitoring
his progress and helping him at the critical junctures of identifying the business
opportunity and procuring loan of< 2 lacs from Jammu and Kashmir Gramin Bank.
Once the loan was approved, he started his enterprise. He had been taught all about
setting up and managing an enterprise and he was, therefore, sure about his business
moves. His first month profit was< 5000. Although the figure wasn't very
striking, Rajinder was convinced to move ahead. He focused on marketing his pickles
and packing them better. He tried to take criticism in his stride and improved the
product tremendously. Today after four years of starting his business, his investment
in the project is to the tune of< 6 lac and his profit is close to< 45,000.
But what Rajinder values over every other thingis, as he puts it, 'contentment'.
He says, "I am doing well; I am happy and am enlightened enough to make realistic
growth plans in a state which is fighting its own set of problems." Rajinder
did face problems in marketing his product. Although he had proper planning to guide
him, the state's confused state of affairs did become a major limitation. But
being a f ighter all through, Rajinder decided to put up a brave fight and remained
in constant touch with EDI tra iners to deal with his problems. He has now decided
to market his products in a big way outside Jammu and Kashm ir, and as an immediate
strategy, has his eyes set on state level exhibitions.
He is determined to grow further. As he says, "There is always an opportunity
waiting for us; all we must do is keep our eyes wide open."
Where there is a will, there is a way
Lakshmi hails from a business family of Ferozepur in Punjab. Obviously he grew up
seeing business as a fruitful career and, therefore, never had any doubt about the
potential of business as one's profession. Rather, he had always harboured the
dream of becoming a notable businessman. His father was into manufacturing ayurvedic
medicines and wanted his son to join him but it is here that Lakshmi thought differently
and dreamt of 'something of his own.' But what? - This question always bothered
him. He did not have education in any specialized area and, therefore, finalizinga
business opportunity was becoming his greatest worry.
During this time itself, through a friend, he came to know about an Entrepreneurship
Development Programme on Food Processing to be conducted at Abohar. Being an out
and out optimist, Lakshm i decided to give it a try. He joined the programme. Lakshmi
calls it the 'best decision of his life.' Just two days later, he recalls
sharing with a friend, "This opportunity is God send and I think my life will
take shape from here." He regularly and with all focus attended the classes
and tried to be in regular touch with his trainers. Within no time he was discussing
marketing techniques, legal systems, management and financial aspects in business
with his trainers. Practical training is what Lakshmi terms as exceedingly valuable
for him. He learnt the skills of manufacturing world class squash, amla candy and
juice, different kinds of pickles etc. This instantly agreed with his bent of mind
and he decided to get into this business. He set up his unit in July 2006 under
the name of M/s. Sweet and Spicy Food. From his own savings, Lakshmi pitched in
around t 3 lac towards basic machinery, ingredients and renting of a shed. The growth
was phenomenal and within three years, his investment rose to 20 lac. Throughout
this period, Lakshm i was in constant touch with EDI trainers to whom he thoroughly
owes his success. He coped with all starting crises from managing loan to making
a dent in the market by strategising on the lines that he had learnt in the training.
One major problem that could have deterred any other person was that of giving a
standing to his products among other known brands in the market. He wanted to develop
a certain credibility of his products in the eyes of the consumers. Lakshmi implemented
the measures carefully and achieved his dream. No wonder, within very litt le time,
his profits scaled up from t 5000 inthe first month to around t 30,000 a month.
Today Lakshm i is a happy man, doing business his way and confident enough of getting
it right. Acknowledging EDI for what he is today, Lakshmi says, "Had EDI not
come in the picture, I would have perhaps joined my family business and satthere
without making any meaningful contribution as my soul was never into it. Today what
I am doing is backed by knowledge that I have gained, it's my passion and I
will go veryfarfrom here, I am sure."
"There are always reasons to celebrate, we just have to look around"
Sarang Ranade from Yavatmal, Maharashtra always wanted an identity for himself;
he wanted people to know him for his qualities, determination and resolve. He remembers
admiring entrepreneurs as a child and imagining himself as a known entrepreneur.
Sarang was into reading a lot of biographies of entrepreneurs and was quite familiar
with the charms of becoming one. Yet, despite all his inclination, he couldn't
escape the clutches of parental pressure to look for a job thataccordingtothem guaranteed
a secured life.
Sarangjoined Stantec Consulting Inc. and had almost given up his yearning to become
an entrepreneur, when one morning, over a cup of tea, flipping over the pages of
the newspaper, he spotted an advert isement of Entrepreneurship Development Programme
on Food Processing. Something tickled him and rekindled his almost lost ambition.
Food processing......it inte rested him immediately and reminded him of the umpteen
compliments that he always received from family and friends whenever he tried a
hand at his culinary skills. Sarang felt confident and decided to explore more.
He immediately called the number mentioned in the advertisement and tried to know
about the programme. The details interested his. He consulted his family also. They
initially showed their apprehensions but Sarang convinced them to think about all
the positive aspects associated with his decision.
Sarang says that from that day on he felt a bounce in his steps. Next day he applied
for the training and was very soon diligently attending classes. He credits the
training for his growth and motivation to move ahead despite hindrances and bouts
of depression. Sarang makes a special mention about how he benefited in the areas
of Business Opportunity Identification, Business Management and Market Survey, Legal
Aspects, Project Report Preparation and the New Techn ologies of Production. From
August 2008, Sarang 's life took a turn towards all things rosy and bright.
He launched M/s. Ranade Brothers Dairy Products and Snacks that manufactured all
types of Bengali and Maharashtrian Sweets, Namkeen, and Milk Products like, Shreekhand,
Paneer and Khowa. Sarang managed 8 lac from own sources and 10lac as bank loan towards
investment in plant and machinery. His family owned a 15 acre agricultural land
in Yavatmal, which he decided to use as space for the unit. He did face problems
of skilled labour and finance to procure modern advanced machinery. "Undergoing
the cumbersome procedures of obtaining food licenses was also quite a task,"
says Sarang. But he did not lose his motivation for even one moment; he kept reminding
himself how all great entrepreneurs had undergone their share of problems. Sarang
also did not have good packaging technology and lacked knowledge of the market.
Under direction of his trainers, he undertook a market survey and focused on improving
his packaging.His hard work and perseverance paid. Today his unit employs 15 skilled
and unskilled workers and his brand 'Ranade Bandhu' has started carvinga
niche for itself in the market.
A profit of 15,000 in the first month of production did not deter him. He knew he
was working under limitations and had strategies in place to combat these. He had
learnt about calculated risks that every entrepreneur had to take at some point
or the other and, therefore, thought about diversifying the business. He moved up
step by step. And very soon reached 43,000 profit per month, and this upward journey
has cont inued since. Today Sarang has plans in place to expand, by procuring latest
machinery and technology to set up a dehydrated and instant food products unit,
ice-cream manufacturingunit and also launch a restaurant. Sarang planned every move
strategically under the guidance of his trainers and within a short period he has
come a longway.
There is no looking back for Sarang. He says, "I couldn't have done it
alone. Actually I would have never known that I had this confidence and ability
to do something so big had it not been for this entrepreneurship development programme.
If I am something today, I give the credit of it to my training and the trainers.
There are always reasons to celebrate; we just have to look around".