Advising budding entrepreneurs to take risks, even if that means making mistakes, C.K. Kumaravel, CEO and Co-founder of Naturals Salons & Spa, says Indian entrepreneurs should focus on solving the problems of poor Indians.
Speaking on Day 1 at the 9th edition of TechSparks, CK Kumaravel, CEO and Co-founder of Naturals Salons & Spa, chose to quote Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in his own way. “India does not require job seekers, India requires job providers - entrepreneurs.”
Born and raised in the small town of Cuddalore near Puducherry, Kumaravel, along with his wife K. Veena, runs the chain of beauty salons that started in Chennai, and now has 550 outlets across the country. He strongly believes that “entrepreneurship is the ability to think differently”.
Kumaravel learnt this early in life. His father would buy pharma products in bulk, and sell them in small quantities to medical shops, apart from working on various businesses. Once, while travelling to Singapore, he carried a bottle of shampoo that broke in transit. He saw this as a problem, and converted it into an opportunity - going on to launch Velvet, India's first sachet shampoo.
Velvet shampoo made it to the eighth position in India Today's top 50 revolutions that changed India after independence.
Thinking differently definitely helped.
At TechSparks, Kumaravel focused on the theme “Entrepreneurs are the new-age freedom fighters”, stating that for 350 years, the British and Mughals looted us; for the next 70 years, locals have been looting us.
The new India, he said, is now divided into four categories:
- The power India - Bureaucrats, ministers, middle-men, and the people associated with them.
- The poor India - More than 50 percent of the 132 crore Indians fall in this category; they are deprived of basic human rights, including education and healthcare.
- The racing middle class - With the opening up of the economy, the advent of the internet, and growth of technology, a new class that lives the higher middle-class life has emerged.
- The entrepreneurial India - This segment has the unique ability to use minimum resources and reach maximum heights.
"The task of entrepreneurial India is to reach power India's position and solve the problems of poor Indians - education and jobs," he said. According to Kumaravel, the government cannot create jobs. It is the task of entrepreneurs to create jobs.
“If entrepreneurial India turns into power India, and generates jobs for the poor India, India will become great again,” Kumaravel said.
Stating that one generation sacrificed their lives so that the present generation can live freely, Kumaravel asked entrepreneurs to go the extra mile and sacrifice a little more to ensure a better, safer, and progressive life for poor India.
He advised budding entrepreneurs to take risks, even if that meant making mistakes. “It is not the action of bad people that destroys society; it is the inaction of good people,” Kumaravel said, adding that entrepreneurs should bring the community together and that "champions live in the transition".
While chasing money is great, Kumaravel said, “making money is not enough. Money can do little things to you, many things through you”. He suggested entrepreneurs create an industry - to provide jobs to more people, start new health-care centres, or create educational institutions.
He said Indian entrepreneurs should keep in mind that looking beyond themselves is important when making money, and that they should thrive to make India a better country.
“Do not chase money, let money chase you,” Kumaravel said.
YourStory's annual extravaganza TechSparks brings together the best and the brightest from the startup ecosystem, corporate world, policy makers, and of course, the investor community. Over the years, it has grown to become India's most loved tech and startup platform for knowledge sharing and networking. The ninth edition of TechSparks also marks YourStory's 10th anniversary. A big thank you for all your support over the years and keep reading and watching YourStory.