As we know, India is a home to more than 48 million SMEs, which is the second largest in the world, next to china with 50 million. SMEs play a major role in the economic development of our country as it’s the largest employment generator in India. Despite its huge potential, it contributes to only 22% of our GDP, so fueling the growth of SME’s & nurturing them is very important challenge in our country. (For better insights about the SMEs in India, click here)
One such startup which is working in this sector impacting SME’s is The Second Gear. We got in touch with G.K. Pramod, popularly known as GK, Co-founder of The Second Gear, which mentors Entrepreneurs at different levels through their products like The Second Gear MBA for Non MBA’s & 12*12 Second Gear sutras. Started in March 2010, so far their team has successfully mentored 650 entrepreneurs across different sectors, from both rural & urban parts of the country. They have students (as GK refers to mentees) from all walks of life, like Entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs & other individuals who are passionate about doing something, but without a clear road map for their ideas. Each of them will go through a selection process for the mentoring, where they will undergo ATTITUDE & COMMITMENT test. As GK believes that Attitude & Commitment tests are very important before the mentoring process. It’s a serious business & they do not encourage anyone who is not serious about what they are doing.
Having worked closely with rural micro businesses for about a decade before starting The Second Gear, GK says that the concept of mentoring is new in rural parts of India, the challenge is to educate them about the concept of mentoring. Traditionally, they depend on elders in their family for advice & there needs to be a shift in their mindset of these entrepreneurs to be open & discuss about their challenges. Firstly they need to understand what is mentoring, the objectives of mentoring & he stresses on to use The Second Gear not as a clutch, but to use it as a ladder, to scale their business to the next level.
They also have interesting service called “Call your Mentor” service, where a student can avail mentorship over phone calls.
The process of The Second Gear is to enable entrepreneurs identify themselves, their individual specialities & use their strengths to pursue their passion. GK recalls one incidence, where he came across a lady from Chitradurga district, an aspiring entrepreneur who wanted to do something. Through their counselling session, she identified that she was passionate about providing nutritious food to people, which led her to start a nutritional product, Multi grain ragi powder, which is one of its kind in the market, under the brand name HBG Ragi powder. With the help of The Second Gear community for branding, packaging & to setup distribution centers in Tumkur, now they’re selling about 6 tonnes of Multi grain ragi powder per month. GK says “success stories like these keeps us motivated everyday”.
GK proudly remarks that the community of The Second Gear has become more powerful than The Second Gear itself, where the students (entrepreneurs) from different sectors & skillsets help eachother.
When asked about their approach in their mentoring, GK says “The objective of mentoring is to help them move form one level to another, help them to create vision, create practical business plan, not theoretical one & each one of them is a case, each story is different, but what is required is the management concepts & our objective is to bring those management concepts of MBA to a common man level which can be applicable to everybody, irrespective of educational qualification & what they are doing”.
He also humbly says that compared to the number of SMEs in India, they are only at a tip of the ice berg & they aim to touch 5000 entrepreneurs to make a difference in next 5 years. They are currently looking at establishing four information centers in Bangalore & by the end of next financial year they want to expand to districts of Bidar, Tumkur & Chitradurga.
If you are an entrepreneur or an aspiring entrepreneur & want to take your venture to the next level, you can reach GK here.