SUCCESS STORIES OF OLPE LEARNERS

 

(1) “I feel I am a New Person. Thanks to OLPE”: Mrs. Amar Mahajan :

 I don’t know what, but there was something that always made me yearn for my own business”, says Mrs.  Amar Mahajan.  Mrs. Mahajan always had the motivation to become an entrepreneur but the problem was that she needed some guidance to explore the hidden magnitude of business, particularly so because she was a teacher for past 12 years.

Mrs. Mahajan calls herself lucky to have come across OLPE advertisement in the newspaper. She was then working as a teacher with responsibility of her family as well. But she was sure that she would be able to manage both her enterprise and family. After visiting EDI and inquiring about OLPE, she joined the course. “Immediately”, when I started reading the study material, claims Mrs. Mahajan, “I realized I was learning a lot. I knew I would now be able to set up my own venture because I had, gradually started learning various aspects of managing a business successfully, formalities and procedures involved, procurement of loan, etc. In short, the motivation which I had was not just substantially increased but also coupled with confidence now”. Mrs. Mahajan says that OLPE not just met her expectations but also made her focus on her goal, single mindedly. The next major issue for her was project identification, where she found the contact sessions and discussions with her counsellor, extremely informative and beneficial. She then concentrated on all important factors involved in identifying a project (as in unit 3 of the study material.). She did a lot of survey in various fields like packaging, printing and trading etc. but it was only after going through the Achievement Motivation Training (AMT) that she could identify her project and finally decided to set up a Health Club. She had the determination to make her project a success. Mrs. Mahajan joined several health clubs, studied the equipment and the requirements of customers for four continuous months. Since she already had knowledge and experience in Yoga and Aerobics, she embarked on her project with yet more confidence. Today, she is also trying to learn as much as possible so as to be able to prescribe a proper diet to her members. Location of her Health Club was also very important for her and she carefully analyzed the options before her, consulted her counselor and then arrived at the decision of taking up a place with sufficient space, on rental basis.

Once the location was finalized in a posh locality of Ahmedabad, she approached a branch of the State Bank of India (SBI) at Navrangpura, Ahmedabad for a loan up to Rs.75, 000 which was initially refused due to certain reasons. At this point, she especially thanked OLPE and her counsellor for guidance and the learning she had received; as it was only because of these that she knew the procedures to be followed and the approach to be adopted in this crisis. Mrs. Mahajan then approached SBI Zonal Office and was able to convince the Appraisal Officer here because of the OLPE training that she was equipped with. Mrs. Mahajan was sanctioned a loan of Rs.75, 000 against the guarantee of a fixed deposit of Rs.25, 000. The loan was disbursed within a month. Her own initial investment was Rs.60, 000. Reaffirming her optimism and conviction, Mrs. Mahajan proudly states that she has 39 members today, i.e. just after 40 days of setting up. On being asked, the turnover expected after first year of operations, Mrs. Mahajan stated that she was expecting it to reach Rs.1 lakh.

Underlining that expansion is the manifestation of success she said that she would very soon go in for expansion. She wants to have sauna and steam bath besides a beauty clinic in near future, at her own premises.

On being asked about the learning acquired from OLPE, Mrs. Mahajan categorically pointed out that the learning acquired from OLPE was the cornerstone of her success. She said the Achievement Motivation Training imparted during the contact sessions helped her recognize herself and work upon her weaknesses. According to her, units devoted to soft skills, small business management, etc. were notably helpful and that today she implements the learning acquired from OLPE every day in her business. Touching upon the critical aspects of OLPE, Mrs. Mahajan summed it all up by saying that OLPE did not just set the goal for her but also ensured that she achieved it.

(2)  “OLPE DID IT ALL”  : Mr. Arshad Khan

 There was happiness in the air; the entire atmosphere was pervaded with promises and certainty of embarking on a life full of success and glory. Amongst all these young people, who were enjoying on this last day of their P.G. Diploma in Business Management, there was, perhaps, not one who held his/her future as precarious except Arshad Khan  who was sitting in a corner in a very pensive mood. Arshad felt a sense of inadequacy when all his classmates described the future as promising.

Arshad’s unwillingness to work under somebody and for that matter even in a multinational cast him into a state of confusion. There was only one thing that he was certain about at this point in time…… and this was that he wanted to become an entrepreneur. He was just not ready to compromise on this because all his life he had wanted to become a businessman. But today he found himself on crossroads…… not knowing how to begin, where to begin and even what to begin with.

That, particular Sunday morning was like any other morning for Arshad, and he had absolutely no inking as he opened the newspaper that morning, that he was now on his path to becoming an entrepreneur. What he came across in the newspaper that day was the OLPE advertisement. As he went through the advertisement, he discovered that through well-conceived and directed training and counselling, the course aimed at developing entrepreneurs. Although preoccupied with mixed feelings, Arshad decided not to give it a second thought and went on to get more Information on OLPE by personally visiting EDI. Thoroughly satisfied, he joined the course. This, says Arshad, proved to be the turning point in his life. And as he further adds, proper training and counseling on all important aspects of business, i.e. right from project identification and procurement of finance to successful running of an enterprise, gave him several reasons to put in his best.

After taking into consideration all the factors involved in identifying a project, (as given in Unit-3 of the study material) Arshad soon identified his project which was of setting up a manufacturing unit for Aluminium Venetian Blinds. This acted as a triggering factor for Arshad to bring out his strengths and give his best. Thus, once the product was identified, Arshad got completely involved in the process of setting up, by conducting extensive market survey, identifying the sources of raw material, the machinery and equipment and of course, skilled labour. Fully geared to achieve success, Arshad was taking up, one after the other, all important aspects that go into making entrepreneurs of men. Finance was obviously the next major issue. With the help of his counsellor and OLPE study material which gives information on institutions that provide financial assistance, Arshad gathered all the details about obtaining finance from state financial institutions and banks, etc. But since his initial project cost was only Rs.10, 000/-, he utilised his own financial resources and set up his small manufacturing unit in Oct’95, in his residential premises. Things had started moving but there was still a lot left to be achieved.

As Arshad puts it, OLPE had given him a clear understanding on the intricacies of the situation in which he was presently caught. Little wonder, Arshad knew where to look and he concentrated on marketing by implementing the strategies learnt during his training.

When asked specifically about the learning acquired from OLPE, Arshad had a lot to say. He said that he was a novice as far as knowledge about the procedures and formalities required to set up an industrial unit was concerned and OLPE taught him all about this. But more importantly, the Achievement Motivation Training imparted during the contact session, helped him realise his strengths and weaknesses and boosted his self-confidence. Besides, units devoted to developing soft skills like communication skills, negotiation skills etc. essential for an entrepreneur, further helped him in grooming himself.

Arshad claims with pride that his turnover had reached Rs.9 lakhs within a few months of setting up. Today he has a strong dealer network and his turnover has reached Rs. 18 lakhs. On being asked if he had any message for the aspiring entrepreneurs, he said. “OLPE is an investment and not expenditure, if one wants to be a successful entrepreneur, he/she should not take the course as an expenditure”.

(3)  SPRINGBOARD TO SUCCESS : Mr. HasmukhMody

 `An inner urge, faith in one’s own self, and faith in God has made me an entrepreneur’, says HasmukhMody, a banker turned entrepreneur.

Mody, a post graduate in Science, with a master’s diploma in Business Administration, is 44 years old and was employed as a senior officer in a reputed scheduled bank till 1997. A longstanding desire to be on his own and a newspaper advertisement on OLPE, made him enroll in the programme in October 1996.

Mody took a gutsy decision, resigned from his job and started his own business in October 1997, three months after completion of the course. His enterprise is marketing of two products, prefabricated cement door and window frames & sirens. The prefab products, he says, were selected because they are environment friendly, termite-proof and scratch proof, while sirens, as everyone’s concern for security are increasing. Besides this, he also works as a marketing consultant.

He decided not to apply for loan for the needed finance, partly because his need for capital is flexible – Rs. 1 to 2 lakh, and partly because he could meet it from the provident fund and gratuity received from his bank job. When asked why he joined OLPE when he had a 20 year old, good, Secure job, Mody replied that since as far back as 1977, when he took up the job with the bank, he had a desire to go in for business. His parents, however, advised him to take up the job, and he gave in to their wishes. But in 1994, wanting to learn more about management and marketing, he registered for a M.B.A. course & the old urge surfaced. The advertisement for OLPE & enrolment in OLPE, according to him, provided further motivation and a springboard to jump into business.

Number of people advised him not to leave his job; they reasoned, ‘you have a good job, three teenaged children, & you are 44 years old; this is not the time to start a business’. But he was adamant, a sentence of Bernard Shaw quoted by an EDI Faculty, ` One who wants to do, do it in spite of everything, one who does not, teaches’, impressed him and he decided to be a `doer’.

Mody says that he knew all about management, finance and marketing (specialization) from his MBA curriculum, but OLPE study material, especially the unit on `Entrepreneurial Motivation’ contributed a lot. It not only increased his motivation, but helped him assess his own strengths & weaknesses and identify his entrepreneurial competencies like initiative, opportunity seeking, information seeking etc.

Within a few months of setting up, Mody’s sales (of frames) have reached Rs.2.27 lakh. The business of sirens is not doing that well. He employs two salespersons on salary cum commission basis. Besides, he personally or through letters contacts architects and builders in and around Ahmedabad.

Did he have to face any difficulties and problems? Mody states that he has had no specific difficulties, he only had to change his own mindset.

His family has been very supportive to his venture. His wife feels that `God is always there to help’. To give an example, when he wanted to resign, he asked his 19 year old son whether he should; the boy’s reply was, `Why not? Do it immediately’. This shows the faith the family has in his decisions.

Mody’s future plans are to market sophisticated security systems, transformers and herbal products. And for capital to finance these ventures, he has already prepared a project report to submit to a bank for sanction of loan.

Mody says that he has to work hard, but he enjoys the work and derives satisfaction from it. But most of all `independence of mind is the greatest advantage’.HasmukhMody has a message for all potential entrepreneurs. “Training in entrepreneurship definitely helps – when you have knowledge and information you avoid making mistakes. Have determination, commitment and work hard towards reaching your goal and success will be yours”.

(4) “OLPE Indeed Underlines Success”: Mr. Aushin Bhatt

 Aushin always admired business achievers and wished to be one of them. But he was not clear as to what exactly he wanted to do, what was his forte etc. It was only when he got admission in Textile Engineering that he made up his mind to do something in the world of textiles.

Four years hence, Aushin truthfully admitted to himself that he needed a little more experience before starting his unit. He therefore, worked with Arvind Mills and Khambatta Engineering Company, a textile concern. Simultaneously, he started estimating the total investment required for setting up a yarn manufacturing unit.

On discovering that the total investment requirement was Rs. 3-4 Crore, Aushin was a little confused as he couldn’t and at the same time did not want to make such a large investment in the beginning itself. He calls this phase of his life very disturbed as by then he had completed around 3 ½ years with Arvind Mills &Khambhatta Engineering and he did not know which way to go.

Amidst this confused state of affairs, a ray of hope came in the form of a proposal from his friend to venture into electronic industry. After a lot of brainstorming and after getting convinced that this might eventually pave the way for a project in textiles, he decided to join his friend in a unit manufacturing Investors and Computer related items like, Uninterrupted Power Supply, Electronic Power Conditioners and Constant Voltage Transformers. With an initial investment of Rs.1 1/2 lakh by him and his partner, the unit was started.

Aushin says, `By then OLPE had given me enough knowledge on the formalities to be completed in order to apply for finance but since we could manage the initial amount required, from our own resources. We did not take any loans. `Recently”, he added, `I thought of launching a chemical project and have already applied to GSFC for a loan of Rs.35 lakh. He says that he learnt from the OLPE study material that it is not absolutely necessary to have technical knowledge in order to start a unit where technology is involved. One could either hire a technical person or take training to learn about the technical process.

For the simple reason that electricity is hardly a problem in Ahmedabad and invertors are not really needed here, Aushin had to look for market in the areas near Ahmedabad. Once again, says Aushin, the material market Assessment and Marketing Management in unit 4 and unit 9 especially came useful.

Today Aushin has a strong dealer network and his main markets are Surat, Vapi, Mehsana, Rajkot and Jamnagar. He happily states that from the learning stage he has today reached a stage where he can claim that he has established a strong hold over his business. The significant point that he considers here is that he succeeded in an area of industry that was unknown to him. He has 6 employees working in his factory and he is happy that he is able to function effectively in a team. He feels that his counsellor had helped him a great deal in this connection by touching upon some important aspects of making teams work well. Today, it’s not just Aushin who’s happy at his achievements but also his family who has throughout supported his decisions. He also added that one important thing that OLPE has taught him is to act on opportunities and this has made him reap success.

As Aushin puts it, OLPE was a great help to him, which coupled with his hard work, made things move towards success. Accordingly to him contact sessions and meetings with his counselor gave a tremendous boost to his confidence, besides extensive knowledge. He feels that what helped him in his business were inputs on soft skills, like; communications skills and negotiations skills which OLPE helped him develop and groomed him to become a perfect businessman.

Aushin adds “What bears testimony to this is my turnover in the first year of operations which was Rs.4.5 lakh and the confidence that it will reach Rs.10-12 lakh in the coming year”. Aushin has a determination to diversity in textiles as well in future. Aushin Bhatt indeed reflects a strong zeal to make it big in business and believes that every ambitious person should join OLPE as it has everything that is needed for success.

(5)  SUCCESS BUILT ON BLOCKS : Mr. KeyurSarda

 This is the story of KeyurSarda, B. Tech. (Construction), a young learner from the April 1995 batch of OLPE and his unit , M/s. Kesarjan Building Centre Pvt. Ltd. He manufactures fly ash bricks and hollow concrete blocks. Keyur has really made it to the world of successful entrepreneurs in the face of difficulties and hurdles.

Right from his childhood Keyur had a dream to be a businessman. Even while at school and college, he tried his hand at small businesses like setting up food stalls at festivals and other trading ventures.

He read an advertisement for OLPE when in the final year of his studies and decided to take the course. After completion of his studies, while waiting for the results, Keyur took up a job. As soon as the results were out, he quit his job and registered at the District Industries Centre (DIC) for his project `Fly Ash Bricks’ in September 1996.

Then started his quest for required finance – a bank loan. But here he met with disappointment. Not to be fazed, he applied to HUDCO for a grant of Rs.5 lakh. It was sanctioned, but the disbursement was in installments of Rs.1.5 lakh each and it took five years for the total disbursement. Fortunately, Keyur had a very supportive family and he set up his unit and started with family funds by the year end (1996).

Keyur started small, with only 10 employees. Again a problem. It took him a year to get the required quality for the bricks. But he had to sustain himself during the period and so, resourceful that he is, he started making hollow concrete blocks for survival. Today he manufactures both, the bricks as well as the blocks.

Business was doing well and so in 1999, with a good order in hand, Keyur decided to expand, which meant buying new machinery. Again he approached a bank for a loan of Rs.19 lakh; his loan application was not processed for a year. Finally, he received Rs. 5 lakh as working capital loan in 2001, after hypothecating all his fixed assets and had to purchase the machinery with his own funds.

Today his investment in the business stands at Rs.35 lakh and he employs 50 workers in his manufacturing unit. In the year 2000, he also started the business of construction of buildings and today employs 90 regular workers for that business. This, he says, is vertical integration. The construction work consists of rural housing and schools etc. in the earthquake affected areas of Kachchh and these are government orders procured through HUDCO, who incidentally, have a lot of trust in him. One reason, Keyur states, for going into construction is the money situation in the manufacturing business. The market is not as per expectation in manufacture of bricks/ blocks. The main difficulty is accounts receivables, as the credit period is very long.

When asked about the benefits of OLPE, 30 year old Keyur says, inputs on preparation of project report, accounting and various management aspects’ taught in the course were highly useful. Besides this, he opines that he learnt

Time Management, gained self-knowledge and above all patience. The entrepreneurial motivation training during the contact sessions has done wonders for him, he feels.

Any message for other learners who want to set up their own industry?

Yes, Keyur says, all those who want to set up their ventures, should undergo a well-structured training like OLPE. Such training would help them avoid errors generally committed by new entrepreneurs.