From surveillance technology to tech for EV buses, the top SMB stories of the week
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. This is no cliché when it comes to the business ecosystem; it’s the reality.
The nationwide lockdown in the wake of COVID-19 cripples small and medium businesses, but the founders didn’t give up. They decided to focus on their business, strategise, and tap technology to get past the crisis.
SMBStory unveils a few inspiring stories of how businesses continued to work on building their brands.
From surveillance technology to developing tech for electric bus manufacturing, here are top SMB stories of the week.
For seven years, Major Manjit Rajain was actively engaged in Indian Army operations in Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir. After his service, he joined the police force and was posted as an Assistant Commissioner of Police in Jammu and Kashmir.
In 1995, he decided to utilise his extensive knowledge on security solutions and start a private business. This idea led to the birth of Peregrine Guarding in Gurugram, Haryana.
Manjit began providing business services such as manned guarding, canine squads, security survey, consultation, and security for special events. He even expanded into threat risk analysis and critical vulnerability analysis for businesses.
In 25 years, the ex-serviceman grew his business into a leading security provider in India. Manjit’s initiative set the ball rolling for the launch of a number of integrated security service businesses under the parent organisation, Tenon Group.
Homegrown conglomerate Tenon Group has under its umbrella: facility management business Tenon FM, remote surveillance service business Soteria, and Peregrine Guarding.
It has an annual turnover of over Rs 1,800 crore and employs over 80,000 people across India, Singapore, and the UK.
PMI Electro Mobility Solutions
Air pollution is a burgeoning environmental problem, and India has been witnessing deteriorating air quality due to many reasons, including an increasing number of polluting vehicle.
Public transport can be a way out, and electric buses can play a crucial role as they are sustainable and an environmentally-friendly option compared to the diesel buses used in India.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are cheaper, environment-friendly, and most importantly contribute to decreasing noise and air pollution.
While auto majors like Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, and JBM Auto Limited are already operating in this space, Delhi-based PMI Electro Mobility Solutions Pvt Ltd (PEMSPL) is another emerging company in this domain.
Founded in 2017 by Satish Jain, the company has bagged around 1,000 tenders for manufacturing and supplying electric buses to central and state governments. It is clocking an annual turnover of Rs 30 crore at present.
Other top SMB picks of the week
The logistics sector in India is male-dominated. However, like their counterparts in other professions, women in this industry are steadily seeing success and growth.
Sunita Joshi (50) started Logismith in Chandigarh in 2016 after she separated from her husband. In an interaction with SMBStory, she shares the difficulties she faced while setting up the business and how she overcame the challenges along the way.
Sunita says, “I started the business primarily to ensure my daughter’s wellbeing and secure her future. When my husband and I were together, we had started a logistics company that gave me some exposure. I found it best to use my knowledge and skills and enter the industry on my own.”
Logismith is a third-party logistics service provider that supports the last-mile operations for Amazon India and BlueDart, delivering 2,000-3,000 packages a day.
The economic reforms of 1991 opened the Indian economy to the global business for the first time. The year was also tumultuous as it saw the collapse of the Soviet Union, an event that caused great economic stress to the Russian business ecosystem.
Around the same time, in 1993, Hardesh Chawla was running a financial services business in Moscow. As economic unrest grew due to the Asian financial crisis in 1997-98, people started selling their assets in Russia. Hardesh saw that some real estate structures, though dilapidated, were being sold at low prices. He started buying those buildings and renting them out.
Hardesh’s wife, Monica, had a bent towards interior design and would add her inputs before renting out the buildings. When they started receiving positive feedback from their tenants about the design, they decided to translate this into a business opportunity.
Hardesh and Monica started Essentia Environments, a luxury interior design firm, in the year 1999.
The company is an end-to-end solutions provider for building luxury properties offering services such as architecture, interior designing, manufacturing furniture, decor, etc. The husband-wife duo returned to India in 2003 and set up their office in Gurugram.
The company claims to have completed over 1,000 projects in India, Russia, and the UAE in the past two decades, and counts DLF, Dasnac, Magnum, Porsche, and others as its clients. The company is looking to cross a turnover of Rs 100 crore this year.
After his marriage in 2016, corporate communication professional Sandeep Rao moved from Mumbai to Delhi. It was cheaper to live in the capital city.
Sandeep had worked across communication, advertising, and sustainability. He took up a high pressure job managing various client accounts at a public relations (PR) firm.
But even a seasoned professional like him did not find the new job easy. His decision to quit and take time to plan his next move would soon lead him down the unpredictable path of entrepreneurship.
Sandeep’s experience in the communication industry had taught him it was convenient to pitch flamboyant or unattainable targets to clients just to win a mandate.
But he felt a communication agency following such an approach is more of a cost centre for a client, rather than a revenue centre. He felt any communication strategy should lead to a planned and direct business impact in terms of clientele's revenue.
Looking to fill this gap in the industry, Sandeep decided to venture out alongside his younger brother Kunal Rao and wife Srishty Chawla as founding partners. Together, they started integrated marketing consultancy One Source in June 2018.
The firm adopted an outcome-based communication approach and began working under four verticals: branding and films, corporate communication, content marketing, and digital marketing.
The founder of the company that was started up from home says One Source has been growing at 100 percent year-on-year and is continuing to hire and grow its team.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai
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