Historically, in most States in India, particularly in small cities and towns, the idea that smart kids could start a business did not find favour. If you were smart, if you were any good, you got yourself a great job. That is what got you social approval. As a result, over time, these places accumulated enterprise-deficit. Simply put, enterprise-deficit leads to lack of small and medium companies that could have created large number of jobs. Contrary to popular belief, neither large companies, nor Government create sizable number of local jobs. Everywhere in the World, it is the small and medium companies that do. And small and medium companies are usually homegrown. Thus, in places where there is enterprise deficit, we need a cloudburst of start-up companies that then would go through the inevitable struggle, the unfortunate fall of many and the eventual success of a few that would lead to a rich economic eco-system. This means, more youth must bring the idea of a start-up enterprise into their consideration set. Yet, for a vast majority of them, there is a lack of role-models, credible, relatable stories of people who can be an inspiration.
In Odisha, in the recent times, I am happy to see many young people who are getting off the job queue. They are bucking the trend. They are bootstrapping to create start-ups in many different fields. These individuals will help us to inspire many others in the days to come. To bring them to the fore, I have decided to meet and interview at least 6 such women and men to capture their stories. The first one was released on April 1 and the next one will be released on May 1.
To be presented as “Start-up Story”, each episode is a conversation between I and a young entrepreneur. The video version goes to You Tube channel of the producer, Odisha Live. The conversation is broadcast by leading FM Channel, Radio Choklate and the transcript is edited and published in Sambad, Odisha’s largest circulated newspaper.
The first edition captured the story of small-town boy Amarendra Sahu, who co-founded NestAway. You can watch him here. The next one, to be presented on May 1, is going to showcase Amiya Samantaray, co-founder of Phoenix Robotics. Amiya came from a small village of Odisha, studied in Odia medium schools, joined NIT Rourkela and from there, along with a few friends from NIT, has gone on to build an interesting IOT company out of Bhubaneswar. The bootstrapped outfit employs more than 60 employees, built flood monitoring system for Kolkata Municipal Corporation, put its sensor-based solutions in companies like Tata Steel, Jindal Steel & Power, ACC, and SAIL.
The video conversations are in a mix of Odia and English. That format works for my primary target group: youth in the colleges of Odisha. But for people from outside, if you know only English, you can still easily make out what is going on. I hope the stories of people like Amarendra, and Amiya would light many lamps in the days to come!