Saluting the extraordinary drive of ordinary people

Saluting the extraordinary drive of ordinary people

Tuesday July 07, 2015,

4 min Read

This article is sponsored by Ford Figo Aspire – What Drives You? 

What makes one person persevere when another gives up? Is the person, who tries again and again in the face of failure, in denial or an inspiration for others? What is the right combination of optimism and realism? When it comes to entrepreneurs, determination is not the only trait he or she needs. An idea, something new or innovative, is also needed on this path of self-actualisation. These need not be something avant-garde, but just a way of thinking or doing things differently, of standing out from the crowd.

It is the extraordinary drive of ordinary people, along with this capability of thinking laterally, that sets them apart. They make a mark in whatever they do with sheer conviction, and against all odds.

The finalists of the Ford Figo Aspire ‘What Drives You?’ contest are certainly of this league. Meet the 8 finalists of ‘What Drives You?’

Sharad Dalve from Baramati: Sharad is an Asst. Professor and teaches Entomology at College of Agriculture in Baramati. He lost his brother a few years back due to accidental ingestion of pesticides. His vision since then has been to ensure that Indians have access to safe, organic vegetables and so he is training farmers to grow pesticide-free vegetables in the interests of the health of his larger community.


Aakanksha Saxena from Jaipur: Aakanksha is an RJ and Vo artist and realised the extent of academic pressure on children right from a very young age when her daughter started school. She understood the need to engage kids in informative as well as creative activities and so she started her own educational initiative group ‘Aakaar’, which organises fun workshops for children.


Durai Balasubramanian from Thanjavur: Durai did his Masters in Manufacturing at the UK and returned to his village Thambikottai in Thanjavur district to join his father’s shrimp culture business. He has employed his knowledge from his higher education to help others in the business by improving the infrastructure in shrimp culture. He has invested in a cold storage unit, which has helped cut down losses by tackling the perishable nature of the product. Hence, the productivity in shrimp culture from his village has gone up drastically.


Sneha Kamath from Mumbai: Sneha was tired of hearing jokes about women drivers and was inspired to become a woman driving instructor. She runs her own driving institute for women in Mumbai. She has trained over 400 women till date. Her passion is to see every aspiring woman drive flawlessly like their male counterparts. She feels that she helps women not just in learning driving but also in becoming strong, independent persons with more control over their lives.


Punith Kumar from Bangalore: Punith is an entrepreneur who has founded a sports startup. He was motivated by the never-say-die attitude of para-athletes and their willingness to fall and rise a hundred times in the pursuit of glory. His dream is to make sure at least 10 Indian athletes are offered coaching to pursue their dream of participating in Paralympics 2020.


Medhavi Gandhi from New Delhi: Medhavi runs a non-profit organisation that is working to revive Indian cultural heritage and involving youth from rural and urban spaces. The richness in the cultures of the country made her want to help save the dying handicrafts. Her organisation is six years old now and makes a big difference in the lives of artisans.


Anirudh Sharma from Bengaluru: Anirudh is a serial innovator and returned to India after a few years at a comfortable job in the US. He has won MIT TR35 Innovator of the year award. One of Anirudh’s remarkable achievements is the LeChal project, which manufactures interactive haptic shoes for the visually impaired. They offer high mobility to the visually impaired without the help of expensive visual aid devices. He has also worked on a printer that harvests ink from the soot that is a byproduct of air pollution.


Akshay Phanse from Dombivli: Akshay found his silver lining in the face of adversity. He lost his job last year, but instead of getting disheartened he turned to his passion – music and started off on a new career path. He started music classes called ‘Morning Blues’ a year back. Currently, 22 students are getting trained by him and more are joining. This year, he started another class ‘SwarSadhana’ where musical instruments like guitar and drums are taught.


You can vote for your favourite finalist and earn the chance of winning an iPad Mini™! The finalist who receives the maximum number of votes will win the ‘What Drives You’? Contest and win a brand new Ford Figo Aspire.

Montage of TechSparks Mumbai Sponsors