Top stories this week: 3 entrepreneurs who beat the odds and made it big
These are the stories of a famous veg hot dog seller, a nanofibres company owner, and a namkeen brand head who overcame difficult personal situations to emerge successful.
It is said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. This is especially true for entrepreneurs who don't come from a privileged background.
They struggle to get a good education, acquire the right skills, and have to rely on what they learn on the job.
Here are some successful entrepreneurs SMBStory wrote about this week who never gave up, even when the odds were stacked against them:
For Indore entrepreneur Vijay Singh Rathore, who slogged it out over a hot stove for the past 50 years, being called on the stage to receive a cool award in Hong Kong was actually a bigger roast.
Vijay Singh received the award for the most ordered dish on UberEats in all of the Asia-Pacific region. His dish -- a vegetarian hot dog -- beats the likes of McDonald's, KFC, and other global brands to win the award.
But for Vijay, it was never the intention of making big bucks that prompted him to start Johnny Hot Dog in the first place. Even as a mere eight-year-old boy, he helped around the canteen of the Government Engineering College (SGSITS) in Indore to make some money by serving tea and snacks to the students.
"Maine bahut seva ki hai, sahaab. Kareeb, kareeb ek lakh students ko maine khilaya hai (I have served more than a lakh students)," he says.
Today, Vijay Singh's Johnny Hot Dog clocks annual revenue of Rs 3 crore, a significant jump from just Rs. 500 in annual revenues in 1978, when he first started. "Is saal, usse bhi upar jayega (this year, we are bound to make more)," he says confidently.
Raised in a small mud house in Pimpri, a village in Maharashtra, Sandip Patil and his siblings went to bed hungry as his illiterate parents worked as contract labourers.
The village he lived in lacked basic healthcare and education facilities, and Sandip struggled to get a good education. But if someone looks at how successful he is now, it is easy to assume he had a privileged childhood.
Sandip is the Founder of E-Spin Nanotech, a Kanpur-based company that makes nanofibres for cancer diagnosis, optical sensors, air filtration, and other uses. At the moment, E-Spin’s clients include major research labs in India and the company is planning to get into nanofibre-based air filtration, with products like face masks and cabin air filters.
Currently, E-Spin makes over Rs 2 crore a year and is on track for Rs 10 crore this year, Sandip says. This is the kind of money Sandip couldn't even begin to comprehend as a boy, who grew up watching his parents struggle to put food on the table.
Pratap Singh Rathore always thought he would make a career in finance. But tragedy struck twice and Pratap lost his father and brother in a span of two years.
"My father and brother were running the family snacks business. So, after they passed away, I quit my job and joined the family business," Pratap says.
The business, started in 1969 by his father Swaroop, was only making Rs 12 lakh a year when he passed away.
As Pratap embraced the mantle, he made it his mission to scale the business. Immediately after taking charge in 2012, Pratap got the business registered with the name Indore Namkeen Bhandar (INB) Food Products Private Ltd.
"When I took over, I focussed on renovating and modernising the factory and converting the shop into a showroom. Further, branding the company's products helped us acquire new customers, solidify trust, and gain recognition among the existing ones," he says.
Under his leadership, INB went through some branding and manufacturing changes, and in 2017, touched Rs 1.7 crore, 14 times more than the Rs 12 lakh the business earned in 2012.
(Edited by Suman Singh)