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How These Entrepreneurs Are Changing The Hiring Convention As disability doesn't define and confine talent, it's time to move ahead of conventional hiring and create equal opportunities for the stigmatized section of the society.

By Anindita Ganguly Edited by Punita Sabharwal

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As disability doesn't define and confine talent, it's time to move ahead of conventional hiring and create equal opportunities for the stigmatized section of the society. Time and again entrepreneurs go ahead conventions, this time hiring! They are celebrating humanity though business making them unusual from the rest.

A PLATEFUL 'EXPERIENCE'

Mirchi and Mime outlets are run by around 80 mute staff among 180 members. The founders Prashant Issar and Anuj Shah feel that employing such people create an incredible experience, often leading to peaceful escape from reality. This led to a 45 per cent repeat customers, out of 300-400 regular ones. Issar's "special people' are focused, disciplined and cheerful making them perfect hosts, a trait essential for the hospitality industry. Initially, however, they found it difficult to convince the parents of the specially-abled, but Issar's conviction on their ability made it easy. "We prepared presentations revealing the true potential of such individuals in the hospitality segment and took those to their parents," remembers Issar. Today, owing to their redefined personality, they inspire others to work for the restaurant. "Now, our vacancy rates have come down and many differently-abled approach us for work." The duo even started a special skill development and communication session for the floor managers.

A FITNESS GALORE

Aarti Pandey's health start-up Folk Fitness provides platform for transgenders and visually impaired individuals. She shares, once while employing a trainer she came across an inquiry from a transgender. "He clarified his sexual issues and enquired about the opportunities. I immediately decided to employ him and it was one of my finest decisions," Pandey shares. Though she was skeptical of how her team would react, but they quite warmly welcomed him. The first few days of the training module involves informal communication, followed by team building and grooming sessions. That is how 80 per cent of such employees become independent. "We are more popular in the tier II and III cities," Pandey explains. Growing at a rate of 60 per cent yearly, they aim to be the only differently-abled driven fitness center in the country.

DELIVERING DREAMS THROUGH INSTINCTS

It all started after an incident triggered by an acid attack survivor, Akash Bhardwaj founded Khaas, a travel agency run by visually impaired and acid attack survivors. "We want to bridge the gap between normalcy and abnormalcy," shares Bhardwaj. The agency was started in 2017. Apart from the parental consent being a glitch, a lot of people including state ministers rejected his business proposal. This led him to sell off his properties and wife's jewellry to start off. "As the differently-abled lacks confidence, they are apprehensive of their safety," exclaims Bhardwaj. Hence, he reduced the working hours from nine hours to four hours. "Transportation is a big glitch because they take time to reach office and should also be home by dusk. For this, we started the work from home facility," shares Bhardwaj. Though their productive time is less, their dedication and willingness to learn is commendable, making them a perfect fit for Khaas.

(This article was first published in the July issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)

Anindita Ganguly

Former Trainee Writer, Entrepreneur India

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