Chhedi Prasad Gupta, Paan se Samman
When Chhedi Prasad Gupta migrated four hundred kilometers from Belpania village in Chhapra, Bihar to Ranchi, he had no ambition to get a chowk popularly known by his name in the new city. And that his small paan shop in ChhediGumtiChowk would expand into a grocery and vegetable shop.
Lack of opportunity in his village forced Chhedi to search for avenues for livelihood. Life in Ranchi was never easy too. He sold murmura (puffed rice) and boiled eggs on the streets of Ranchi as a hawker for about three years. “I knew being a street hawker would not lead me anywhere. Running a family with two sons and a daughter by selling murmura and eggs appeared depressing. I was earning so little that even a small illness in the family would wipe off my savings,” recalls Chhedi, who always dreamt of providing a better life to his family. After saving for a few years, Chhedi gathered the courage to start a paan shop in the then deserted place in Hinoo area of Ranchi. His shop was different from others in a way that it also sold dhaniapatta and aloo-pyaaz . Soon, Chhedi's social orientation won hearts of people in the vicinity. With the growth in population of the area, his business also grew. Both his sons, Mithilesh and Awadhesh, joined him in the business and his daughter got married. Talking about how he identified the business opportunity, he shares, “I don't know how I managed to expand and establish my small business. I just started with a lot of self-belief, hard work and blessings of God. Humkokuchkarnatha to hum bas kardiye.”
Survival to Success: Journey of Mari Anna
When young Mari Anna landed in Mumbai from Tirunelveli in search of a job, he had only one challenge in life; how to survive! While doing varied odd jobs including washing dishes and helping cooks in restaurants, never did he thought that one day, his Idly-Wada will find a way to the dining halls of many high-rises of the city.
He started with a morning adventure of selling idly and chatni on a borrowed bicycle between 3 am to 5 am. That was his first attempt of entrepreneurship, which changed his life forever. His business kept growing from a borrowed bicycle to a Thela. These days Mari runs his Idly-Dosacenter from a rented shop in Navi Mumbai. Besides the two cooks and three waiters in the shop, there are four delivery boys. He delivers party orders through his own Maruti Suzuki Eco. “I don’t know what entrepreneurship is. But all these things are not possible while being on a job. At max I would have been managing cash counter in a small restaurant”, replies Mari to the question whether he is happy being an entrepreneur.
Mohd. Tarif: Being a job provider rather than a job seeker
Thirty-four-year-old, Bareli-based Mohd. Tarif may have been very unfortunate after being affected by polio in his childhood which paralysed both his limbs on one side. But his dedication and positivity towards work and life have emerged as an inspiration for many aspiring entrepreneurs.
He developed an interest in tailoring seeing his uncle running a tailoring shop. After the initial training from his uncle, he became a master tailor when he was still a teenager. His initial days were tough as he struggled to make ends meet single-handed. “I wanted to improve the quality of my life but didn’t know how to go about it,” said Tarif. That’s when he came across ATPAR (Alliance to Promote Abilities and Rehabilitation) which provides entrepreneurship development training program to entrepreneurs with disabilities and mentors them in their business. It helped him find new ways of developing his business. “After the training, I got the courage and started thinking big. I bought 10 sewing machines to start a garment manufacturing unit,” said Tarif. Today, Tarif successfully runs his enterprise 'Dilshad Garments' in Jaitpur, New Delhi. Employing eight people, he produces garments for exporters and generates average monthly revenue of Rs. 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh. “I am happy to be an entrepreneur. I am a job provider, not a job seeker,” said Tarif. “One day I aspire to have my own garments export business. For aspiring entrepreneurs, I want to say that initially people are scared to start their own business. With hard work, determination and dedication, one’s life can change,” said Tarif.
MUNIRA BANO: Pink auto rickshaw renews hope
Surat-based MuniraBano is one of the few women rickshaw drivers in the country who is content with her life and is an inspiration to many. "I was among the first women to register myself for the Pink Auto Rickshaw Service in Surat when we were approached by Surat Municipal Corporation few years ago," said the forty-three-year-old who currently owns two auto rickshaws. Today Munira's daily earnings are in the range of Rs. 1,200 – Rs.1,500 and she is able to run her household well.
But earlier, she had to go through a lot of hardship with an average earning of just about Rs. 250 per day. "I used to stitch lace in sarees and run a tiffin service where I used to prepare the food and deliver it to households. The money which I used to earn was not at all sufficient to survive in a family where I have three children and my husband," said Munira. Surat Municipal Corporation helped her to learn driving, get a driving license and provided a uniform. Then she managed to get a bank loan and bought her own auto rickshaw about three years back. "In my initial days, people used to make fun of me because they are not used to seeing a woman driving an auto. I decided to not pay heed to them as my husband was always there to support me," said Munira remembering her days of struggle. She bought the second auto rickshaw a year ago, again through a loan. Her husband drives that rickshaw. Due to her determination and willpower, she became a role model. "I was invited for an event at the residence of our Prime Minister in New Delhi. I even have a picture where he is addressing the gathering and I'm sitting in the audience," said Munira who currently encourages women to come forward and start their journey as Pink Auto Rickshaw drivers. She believes women can do everything and driving auto rickshaws is just one of them
Joanita Figueiredo: From a nurse to a job provider to the blind
Pursuing your passion gives a different kind of satisfaction in life and fifty-six-year-old JoanitaFigueiredo who runs Metta Foot Reflexology Centre in Bandra, Mumbai is a perfect example.
Her centre is unique because Joanita has employed therapists who are visually impaired. “About ten years ago I came across these people at the National Association for the Blind in Mumbai. They conveyed to me that nobody was willing to employ them because they couldn’t see. That’s when my inner voice told me that I should do something for them,” said Joanita. She currently employs 15 people, three of whom are women. In the eighties, she was a nurse at Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai and during those days she developed a keen interest in curative medicines, preventive medicines, nature therapy and yoga. In 2008, she had learnt foot reflexology in Thailand. In the initial days, she used to charge just 100 bucks for an hourly foot massage and still people were reluctant to come to her as they believed the blind may not do justice to the service they are paying for. “Today we charge `400 on weekdays and `500 on weekends for an hourly massage session. We also take up special projects where we go and provide our service in offices, weddings and other events,” said Joanita. When asked about how she feels about emerging as a job creator, she said, “I feel wonderful. I might just be a drop in the ocean. But ultimately, I am also making a difference in the lives of people.”
Managing Partner, D.V. Deo Industries
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