Inspiring Stories Of 4 Small Town Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
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Time and again, it has been observed that people move from small towns to big cities to fulfill their dreams, with nothing more than their talent in hand. These places often promise them of providing essential elements that convert their dream into reality, and ultimately lead a better life.
But do not think for a minute that these dreams are as small as their respective towns are said to be. Realizing that they need better resources and a sustainable environment to make sure that they can share their dreams with the world, these entrepreneurs believe in one simple theory- everything is possible; if you have the will to accomplish it!
Here’s a list of some of these small town entrepreneurs who made it big it in their home town and now doing the same across India.
1. The Himachali FinTech Disruptor
Hailing from a small town Nahan in Himachal Pradesh, Manavjeet Singh has proved that no boundaries can stop you if you aspire to dream big and turn it into reality. Currently operational in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad with over 27,000 applications generated so far, Rubique, the FinTech disruptor has processed loans worth over 310 crore and more than 8,000 credit card setups since inception. It is now looking forward to win over more financial institutions in the country, keeping the key element of ‘convenience' as its core.
With a dream to own a “Contessa”, Manavjeet Singh landed in Mumbai from a town where the total human population is just 28,899. The passion to make it big has made him work with some of the best brands like CITI, HDFC Bank, Reliance Capital and Yes Bank.
‘Think big, dream big’ is the mantra that I believe in. Ever since my journey started from Himachal Pradesh, I always wanted to make it big. And after working for almost 25 years in the corporate field, I realized that to disrupt the market practices and implement new ideas, you need a blank canvas on which you could draw a picture suited to the needs of the consumer. And that’s how my entrepreneurial journey started,” said Manavjeet Singh, CEO and Founder of Rubique.
2. Brewing Startup in Siliguri
If you are born in Siliguri, a town in the Darjeeling district, then it’s very likely that you are doing something related to tea. Kaushal Dugar, a serial entrepreneur came back to his hometown to tap this opportunity, and today he is turning the small young green leaf into a delicious drink.
“I came back to Siliguri and decided to work for my older brother who runs a tea export business. Working there showed me the other side to the business, from what I had seen with my father – I saw the infrastructure that was being used to take the tea from gardens to the consumer and was surprised at how dated it was. And in these challenges, I saw a great opportunity for a change, said Dugar.
Today the startup is backed by JAFCO Asia, Accel Partners, Keystone Group LP and Dragoneer Investment Group. Apart from this they have so far shipped over 35 million cups’ worth of tea to customers in over 94 different countries.
3. From UP To UPTU via AI
“The world is full of distractions, hence, set the right goal, plan the road-map, concentrate and work hard towards it. No one can stop you just because you are from small town. Just throw yourself in the direction of your dreams, work hard, work hard and work hard! Believe me, it works” said Atul Rai, founderStaqu, an AI (Artificial Intelligence) startup working in image understanding domain, bypassing the need of human inference to describe images.
Rai, who belongs to a small village in Azamgarh, U.P., has managed to associate with companies like Paytm, Yepme, Roposo, Tradeindia etc. within 6 months of launching Staqu. Apart from Fashion eCom, Staqu is also working with some of the top OEMs in India including Karbonn, which recently launched Fashion Eye, based on Staqu’s AI and other brands like Panasonic, Lava, and Micromax.
4. Expanding Bihar’s Reputation
Pranjal Prashar realized the ‘Make it or Break it’ power of social media, long before it became the buzzword. Since he loves to solve problems, he focused on tackling the ‘Break It power’ of social media. He sought not only to harness but also to profitably leverage this uncontrolled and unabashed power of social media. He did so by finding a solution for positive online reputation management of the players in the hospitality industry. And thus his idea of REPUP took shape.
Despite being from a working middle-class family in Bihar, Prashar’s dream did not hesitate to take a fly. Today he is looking to bring 500 hotels onboard RepUp.
“We introduced our first product “Piquor” in 2013, a brand advocacy platform for hospitality businesses. Based on our data and inputs from clients, we decided to build something which can give a holistic picture of online reputation and help the clients improve the customer experience. Businesses were already getting serious about online reviews and comments. Restaurants were running out of business because of blogs and social posts. The solution was needed and there was a white space so we decided to jump in” said Prashar.