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DROPOUT CHAMPS

Academic qualification may not be necessary to be a


successful entrepreneur!!
The state of “I wanted to make the
WHAT is the Gujrat is home to India’s process faster and more
common thread that most business-savvy profitable for those
unites Henry Ford, Bill communities. And families”. Finally, in
Gates and Richard Mansukhbhai Patel 1992, Patel launched his
Branson with our very demonstrates why. The first machine under the
own entrepreneurs son of a farmer in a Chetak Industries brand,
Dhirubhai Ambani and village called Trent in made of wood and
Gautam Adani? Apart Ahmedabad district, financed by advances
from founding and Patel experienced from a local cotton
healing hugely several financial ginning co-operative. He
successful, multimillion problems growing up. got orders for almost 60
dollar corporations, each Supporting the family machines, but after
of these individuals is was top priority. In selling 13 of them, a
also a dropout. For 1969, Patel was forced technical flaw in the
varying reasons, none of to quit his studies after machines forced him to
the names in this Std 9, following which go back to the drawing
distinguished marquee he trained to be an board. “I lost Rs 20 lakh
possessed advanced electrician. For many after recalling those
degrees in formal years, he did small-time machines. Luckily, I still
education. However, residential wiring work had my job at Asarva
throughout their lives, before joining the textile Mills, where I’d been
each of them industry in 1977. “Even promoted to deputy
demonstrated that great as a child, I was electrical engineer by
purpose and the will to interested in electrical then,” Patel says. “I
innovate and learn can appliances,” Patel says, redesigned an improved
be equally important. adding, “So I paid close stripping machine in
Blind and deaf attention to the 1998 and that was a
American educator machinery used in the success.” Interestingly,
Helen Keller is credited textile industry I worked he also pulled out his
with saying that “college in.” His objective was to two sons from college to
isn’t the place to go for build a machine that assist him in researching
ideas”. Many in India would strip cotton from and refining his pet
would agree. For India, its shell-something that invention. Funding and
with its rich had never been support came from
entrepreneurial attempted anywhere in Srishti, an NGO and
communities and the world before. “After GIAN-Grassroots
business culture has the cotton picking Innovations
always been a land of season, entire villages Augmentation Network.
opportunity for those across Gujrat would IIM-Ahmedabad also
who seek to make a engage in manual pitched in and helped
mark. And they haven’t stripping of cotton from him get his unique
let circumstances or lost the bolls to make a little invention patented both
chances deter them. extra money,” he recalls, in India and the US.
Chetak Industries is now Rahul Khanna, (a year shy of getting his
a company with a director, Clearstone degree) to start
turnover of over Rs 4 Venture Advisors says, SimplySold. “It was in
crore and sells upto a “When funding university that I started
dozen such machines- companies, what we noticing things people
priced at Rs 4 lakh each observe is the business were doing with their
a year to ginning mills. orientation of the lives.” The turning
The lack of an promoters,” he point, however, came in
educational pedigree elaborates. “Though a class during a course he
never bothered Patel or good, solid education took. “We spent two
his sons. Experts say gives you a certain semesters building a
that a formal education sophistication and hypothetical company
is often little more than access to industry with only $100, 000,”
a ‘filter’ for an networks, many recalls Chirimar. “As
entrepreneur, since big domestic entrepreneurs soon as my third year
ideas can come from have succeeded on the ended, I spent the
everywhere. “Today basis of their summer in India and
many startups are being understanding and Thailand. I thought
launched by those handling of local about that course a lot,
backed by the tag of a regulations, the local wrote my first business
fancy institute,” says market and their plan and went about
Kallol Borah, co- competition.” raising money. We got
founder of the HeadStart It’s not just old- lucky and raised more
Network foundation, school entrepreneurs than $100,000 in a very
coincidentally himself a who leave academia short period of time
London School of behind in pursuit of a through angel investors.
Economics (LSE) dream venture. That’s when I decided to
graduate. Borah adds, Abhimanyu Chirimar, not go back to school for
“Quite often, it is the 26, founded a little bit. “SimplySold
alumni networks and MarketHero, an online was a modest success,
global exposure at these social community based but as it was more of an
institutes that matters, on the stock market, in experimental venture,
not the degree itself.” March 2008. Prior to Chirimar and his parents
He cites the examples of that, he started and ran closed it down in 2006.
a Bangalore-based firm an online B2B and B2C Chirimar then joined his
started by some top B- sales company, family export business
school graduates that set SimplySold. Chirimar for a couple of years. It
out to make the world’s was an above-average was during this time,
cheapest PCs and failed student who did his that he came up with the
miserably “Technical higher secondary idea of starting
expertise must also go schooling from Chennai MarketHero. The
hand in hand with in 2001. He was company is angel
business acumen, which attempting a double funded, but Chirimar
no amount of studying majors in feels that it has never
will get you That is why Economics/Computer suffered for want of a
many startups fail to Science at the academic whizkid at the
scale up-they end up University of Western helm “Like it or not, an
focusing on technical Ontario, Canada, when educational pedigree
challenges,” he adds. he dropped out in 2004 helps,” says Chirimar,
“Professional investors uncle on a conventional software. The company
do care about getting an lathe machine (used to then launched advanced
ideal mix of education reshape metal, wood, lathe CNC machines in
and experience etc.). While working on the market and renamed
However, if you are the machine, he studied itself as Jyoti CNC. In
bootstrapping, it doesn’t its design and 2008, the company
matter so much,” he components closely. In acquired Huron
adds. 1988, with his newly Graffenstaden, a French
Rajeev Karwal, acquired knowledge, CNC machine
founder of Milagrow, a Jadeja launched Jyoti manufacturer. With
company that provides Enterprises and started clients like M&M,
business solutions to making lathe Kirloskar, Delphi-TVS
startups and smaller components like and key vendors of the
firms, says, “I believe gearboxes and Tata Nano apart from
that regardless of your headstocks for lathe vendors to other OEMs,
academic record, the manufacturers. “Luckily Jyoti CNC is testimony
most important thing is my parents always to the man who learnt
to acquire the right kind supported me more on the job than he
of resources, be it skills, throughout. I also had an possibly could have in a
a good team, or physical active interest in lathe classroom.
assets. That kind of machine design even Indeed, the big
growth orientation is prior to starting Jyoti, so difference is the ability
more important.” I learnt quickly,” he to learn. Chirimar
If it hadn’t been explains. He also confesses, “I have to
for cricket, convinced a local bank keep up with people
Parakramsinh Jadeja to give him a loan of Rs who are ridiculously
may have ended up 33,000 for operational smart and extremely
working in a routine job expenses. Soon, Jyoti talented. Whether I have
in his native Rajkot. In was supplying to a double degree and a
1986, Jadeja, who was approximately half the master’s or not, I need to
studying in Std 12, manufacturers in the keep educating and re-
asked his father for Rs city. “We were educating myself daily.
25,000 to participate in manufacturing about If I don’t invest those 2
an under-19 cricket 500 gearboxes a month hours a day reading, I
tournament. His father, a at that point,” Jadeja feel like I am being left
municipal employee, recalls. From 1993 behind.
was able to barely raise onwards, Jyoti got into
half that amount. The complete lathe
incident changed Jadeja manufacturing.” Despite
forever. He decided to lacking a formal
start his own business education, Jadeja
and earn some money. realized back in 1992
“At the time, there were that computer-assisted
about 160 lathe machine lathe machines were the
manufacturers in Rajkot, future. He not only
so I decided to do bought a Rs 1.46 lakh
something in that area,” computer, but also
says Jadeja. In 1988, taught himself the
began working for his ‘AutoCAD’ design