From the Vedas to business: How a monk from Vrindavan now educates SMBs
Traditional businesses are losing out on potential customers and markets because of a lack of technological know-how, which is needed to remain competitive in this digital era. In fact, many SMB and MSME entrepreneurs need to upskill themselves to be able to ride this digital wave.
Seeing the lack of access to entrepreneurial education needed to scale up existing businesses or even start a new one, Vivek Bindra founded Bada Business in 2019.
“In India, there are around 40 crore entrepreneurs that need business education,” he says.
A monk-turned-entrepreneur, Vivek spent four years in Vrindavan after completing his MBA. In a conversation with SMBStory, he explains that the Indian business ecosystem suffers from a “lack of entrepreneurial education” and that even top B-schools do not teach entrepreneurial management.
He says, “Through my MBA, I got exposed to western management education. When I turned a monk for four years, I read all the Vedas to get knowledge of our ancient system. I merged both East and West — that helped me hone my skills — to become a business coach.”
Based in Delhi, Bada Business is a tech-enabled training company that provides affordable and accessible business training programmes to Indian MSME business owners, entrepreneurs, and wannapreneurs in local languages. The company rakes in an annual turnover of Rs 60 crore.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
SMBStory (SMBS): How does Bada Business help small businesses and MSME entrepreneurs?
Vivek Bindra (VB): The key to the rising economic curve of any country is a good entrepreneurial ecosystem. Entrepreneurs create new businesses, add value, and generate jobs. They bring about multiplier effects on the economy. And, this is what Bada Business wants to achieve through its services.
The objective is to empower individual entrepreneurs and small businesses to scale up by providing them with tools and a problem-solving support ecosystem. The organisation has created an alternative business management education model, particularly for the large number of people who are unable to access or afford formal MBA programmes.
Our business education courses and modules enhance the entrepreneurial skills of young professionals and small business owners and help them establish or grow their businesses.
SMBS: How does Bada Business differentiate itself from other management courses?
VB: Bada Business offers entrepreneurial courses through industry leaders. We do not believe in providing theoretical knowledge; to enable entrepreneurs and aspiring businessmen with real business insights, we give them case studies approved by industry leaders.
Many Indian B-school courses do not focus on case studies, unlike Harvard and Stanford University. It is disappointing to see that we teach business management to students to get them the right job. There is almost nothing for existing and aspiring entrepreneurs.
As professors, we have Mahesh Gupta, Founder of Kent RO; Arokiaswamy Velumani from Thyrocare; Ashwini Bhatia, Managing Director of SBI; Sudhir Agarwal from Dainik Bhaskar; and other prominent entrepreneurs.
We aim to cater to 50 pain points of small and medium businesses and we have broadly defined them as — fund raising, targeting customers, retaining potential clients, retaining workforce, physical to digital medium execution, ways to build real-time value customers, and more. The courses are provided in vernacular languages to enable people of all regions to consume content. These are available for Rs 750 per month for a two-year course.
Though Bada Business is just a year old, we have 75 branch offices across every airport city in India and achieved 75,000 enrolments within a year. We have achieved a YoY growth of 200 percent in revenue.
In times of COVID-19, when the world stood still with digital as the only way to move forward, between April and June, Bada Business successfully set three Guinness World Records for largest online business learning sessions and became the first Asian company to achieve this feat.
With the pandemic accelerating the growth of edtech, Bada Business is growing 30 percent month on month since March. We have also successfully created 2,500 Independent Business Consultants (IBCs) in less than a year.
SMBS: What challenges you face due to COVID-19?
VB: During the pandemic, we quickly reconfigured our agenda and launched the India Revival Mission — a series of business lessons, webinars, and online lectures — to help MSMEs overcome the crisis caused by COVID-19. Our online business lessons reached out to almost five crore people through various ways.
With fast digitisation and growth of online learning, the edtech sector at large, and our business in particular, is zooming past all expectations. However, the challenge lies in enabling the large potential customer base to successfully access our programmes. Lack of fast speed internet in small towns and rural areas is a challenge we would want to overcome. Similarly, the paucity of awareness among people about online learning opportunities is another challenge.
SMBS: What are your future prospects?
VB: Even before the coronavirus pandemic, digital learning was on an upsurge. However, COVID-19 has accelerated the growth of online learning businesses. Until January 2020, we were expecting our business to peak by 2025 but that peak is already here as online learning is the new normal.
We are expecting to reach Rs 200 crore in revenue this financial year. Besides the financial aspects of business growth, our agenda is to bring about a major change and ignite an entrepreneurial revolution at the grassroots level in India.