Saturday 30 May 2015

Beacons of change

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest that you reap but the seeds that you sow”-  Robert Louis Stevenson

As we moved around traversing the length of the our beautiful nation we met, interacted,mentored and learnt from the many inspiring individuals we met along the way. The journey so far instilled in us the belief of a greater tomorrow in the able hands of the young generation who are vehemently following their dreams with a courage unsurmountable. India has a huge expanse of fertile minds, minds who wish to do something and from which a tiny sapling of innovation can grow in a huge tree that can provide its shade and replenish the future. In this humdrum of daily life at times these fertile minds loses its gifts as it does not get the sunlight of encouragement and the sprinkling of sweet words of advice that can guide its path. Thus, one of our endeavour in this journey has been to harness these fertile minds and as we feel that this should be a regular pursuit we have sown fertile seeds in the form of mentors in every city who will be guiding and nurturing these minds.

Our local mentors
“No one knows what changes. big or small lie ahead, one thing is certain the journey is not yet over” and truly the journey is going on in all the cities we have been as our local mentors are  vehemently pursuing the journey of Mentor on Road in their cities and carrying out the task forward. Meet Mr. Vinayak Lokur, our dynamic mentor in the city of Belgaum. Mr. Vinayak has plans to visit Belgaum to understand further on infrastructure issue and the skill gap. The power of visual communication that is what Mr. Vinayak is pursuing as he proudly adorns the pristine white T shirt of Mentor on Road during the casual days in his office. Thus, when people enquire about Mentor on Road on seeing his t-shirt he goes on to explain the entire issues which Mentor on Road has touched upon in its journey.

Mr. Vinayak Lokur, Local Mentor at Belgaum
Similarly our mentor in Surat Mr. Ameet Shah has set up a task to visit Mandvi village on 15th June. Here he plans to visit ITI Mandvi, where he will be interacting with the student community and will help them understand about what are the skills that industries look for in the students. Through this he aims to bridge the skill gap between the students and the industry at large. In the same light in order to promote small scale industries and cottage industries he will be interacting with the locals at Mandvi and will be promoting handicrafts business as well. Food processing and the food industry has been our major crux of discussion in our journey of Mentor on Road across all cities which just goes on to show its importance in the national economy. Thus in his mentoring journey of Mandvi he plans to visits the farms and talk with the main doers the farmers so as to understand their pain points. Further to ensure government participation in industrial development which is our other major goal he plans to invite Mr. Prabhu Vasava, Member of Parliament as the chief guest in the interactive sessions.

Mr. Ameet Shah, Local Mentor of Surat
Hence, our hearts gleam with pride on seeing the mentors work day and night earnestly and we feel that the day is not far that the beautiful saplings of innovation, hard work and potential will arise from the soil of India.

Friday 29 May 2015

The fourth estate - Press and Media

"The existence of a free, independent and powerful media is the cornerstone of a democracy, especially of a highly mixed society like India. The pivotal role of the media is its ability to mobilize the thinking process of millions. Technically a democracy stands on the pillars of judiciary, executive and legislature. But with the rise of the press and its power to reach every nook and corner of the state it can also be considered as the fourth pillar of a democracy" - Prabhat Ranjan and Sindhuja Kashyap

As we traverse around the nook and corner of the country, in our journey of Mentor on Road the press and media community have been our constant companion throughout. They have supported our endeavour from the very beginning and have provided us support across all cities. So, we would like to  express our heartfelt gratitude  towards all of them and wish for similar support in the other cities as well in the days to come.

Coverage of Mentor on Road by ZEE 24 TAAS

Thursday 28 May 2015

Because pictures speak louder than words!!!!!

"Life is a journey with problems to solve, lessons to learn but most of all experience to enjoy"

The Journey of Mentor on Road so far.........

     Ready, get, set, go..........So here we begin.......

The scintillating journey of Surat- the diamond capital of the world and the textile capital of India. 

Economic development, love for nature and growth ........ three words for Vapi

Tryst at the holy city of Nasik

  Youth of the nation @ Thane

  An enlightening session @ Oxford of the East- Pune

Journey@ the sugar bowl of India- Belgaum

Serious work and a brush with revelry @ Panaji

 Pitstop@ the port city of India- Mangalore 

And we reach God's own country- Kerala
Mentoring stint @ Calicut- The city of Spices

 Rendezvous with innovation @ Kochi- The Queen of the Arabian Sea

  A journey of the city of temples @ Madurai

A stint in the entrepreneurial city of Coimbatore 

                Thus, as our tired body craves for rest our minds reverberates with the lines
"Lives of great men all remind us 
        We can make our lives sublime, 
    And, departing, leave behind us 
        Footprints on the sands of time ;

    Footprints, that perhaps another, 
        Sailing o'er life's solemn main, 
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, 
        Seeing, shall take heart again. 
                                         - A Psalm of Life (Henry Longfellow)
Hence, this fills our heart with a new vigour and we continue our journey forward.....

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Know our Partners II

" Coming together is beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success" - Henry Ford

As we often traverse on a long road we often require the companionship and the support of individuals. Such individuals nurture us, support us when we fall and act as our guides along the way. For this project Mentor on Road we were very lucky to get the support of organisations who gave us undying strength in all domains ranging from education, radio, infrastructure, media, energy and GPS. So we would like to thank all these organisations for their support and wishes in our this journey.
Established with the mission to inculcate the philosophy of “Where practice meets theory” Indus University has been taking concrete steps to breed the spirit of innovation among its student community. As we know today we need entrepreneurs to truly take our nation to the global scale and help to develop the economy. Thus, in this regard Indus University has set up Indus Center for Innovation and Skill Development. This center ensures that we develop skills and innovation that is of international caliber and the center caters across all industry domains. We often hear that graduates from our country are not skill ready to work in the industry but Indus has ensured that through these measures this gap is diminishing day by day. Indus University is working day and night not just to make their students employable but also as generators of employment in future.Understanding that Indus University can help us immensely in this journey as we too have a aim to bridge this gap between industry and academia we thank them for being our education partner in our this endeavour.
Established in the year 2006 by DB Corp Ltd, 94.3 My FM has build a name for itself in the field of radio space. My FM struck the heart of India as it made its beginning from the tier III and tier II cities in India. With the motto Jiyo Dil Seh, My FM has truly instilled this spirit in its vast numbers of listeners around the country. Realising the fact that how they can bring a change in society as they are such a popular medium My FM regularly takes many social initiatives like Roobaroo Roshni where on the eve of diwali they had a celebration with less privileged members in our society thus bringing a smile on their faces. Also on children day they conducted  a painting competition with the theme “Rang Swaach Bharat Ke” which really brought out the artistic talents of the children but also made the children more acquainted with the Swaach Bharat concept. In the icy cold of winters, we all crave for that warm cup of tea but there are many a homeless who never get this and often die of cold. Recognising this My FM organised Ek Pyala Khushi where one could donate a cup of tea which could bring some warmth and happiness for some individual. Thus, MY FM has been vehemently playing the role of a good samaritan and has been doing its bit to bring a positive change in the society. Thus, it is with much pride that we wish to thank our radio partner 94.3 My FM.
“Always innovate for a better tomorrow” established with this vision in 1983, Electrotherm India(EIL) has truly been successful in doing that. If there is one lesson one can learn from it, is the power of hard work and perseverance which the two brothers Mukesh Bhandari and Shailesh Bhandari who established Electrotherm  had. Electrotherm  is a glaring example of how entrepreneurship can play an important part in helping the economy of the nation. From having a humble beginning as a metal melting company, today Electrotherm has diversified in various different categories. R&D and innovation which is the main wheels to drive a nation seems to be present in the soul of Electrotherm due to which it has made a name for itself globally. It has also been successful in building world class technologies indigenously. Thus, the story of Electrotherm is one from which we all  can learn a lot. So, it gives us immense pleasure to have Electrotherm  as our infrastructure partner in this journey.
DNA is an english broadcast daily owned by Diligent Media Corporation, which is an ESSEL group. With the belief that different strokes for different folks, DNA offers a huge plate of offerings which matches to sensibilities across age, gender and region. The growing readership that DNA is garnering is a testimony to its popularity and success. DNA also maintains a e-paper edition and is one of the first daily of India to have a responsive and active website. Thus, it gives us great pleasure to associate ourself with such a dynamic group as DNA as our media partner in the journey.
Today if there is one glaring issue that has captured the attention of everyone globally it is the depleting energy resources all around. There is an increasing fear that this energy crisis which we all are experiencing to a minute extent as of now will be escalated to a unprecedented level in the coming days. Thus, to ensure that this situation does not occur ET MODO Renewables Ltd, was established with the mission “To be a global leader in renewable energy by providing simple and effective solutions”. ET MODO Renewable was established by the merging of ETain Energy Holdings Ltd. India & ImMODO Solar S.A. Spain. It offers comprehensive turnkey engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services along with long-term operation and maintenance (O&M) solutions for Photovoltaic solar power plants of MW and KW Scale in India and abroad. Today it has a presence across India and true to its vision it has been able to capture the world's attention as it has done more than 95 MW’s solar installation globally and has a presence globally in Spain, France, Italy, North America and Latin America. Hence, it is a proud privilege for us to have ET MODO Renewable  as our energy partner in this journey.

It is a new city, you are driving your car  and suddenly you apply your brakes fast. There are two ways forward. You look around there is not a soul to be seen. You sit in your car confused thinking what to do. Well this must have been the scenario some years back but not anymore. Today if we were stuck in the same situation, out would come our smart phones and the GPS would be our eternal guide. Pioneering this technology of Global Positioning System (GPS) is ESEC Consultants. ESEC Consultants offers comprehensive solutions pertaining to security, communication and automation. They have build their technological expertise in GPS technology and also provide services like video surveillance in the form of CCTV. Going a step forward they have brought innovation in their solutions like if you are using their service you can get comprehensive data of you whole journey like the distance travelled, if there was any break down etc which can be of immense help. Thus, it gives us great pleasure to thank our GPS partner ESEC Consultants who are guiding our routes in this journey.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Meet our digital partner - Alibaba

Alibaba group founded in 1999 by Jack Ma is a name that is reckoned globally in the e-commerce space.While it has carved a niche for itself in the global arena, it has been successful in fulfilling the dreams of many SME’s and has helped them to grow their business further.It has been a springboard to success for millions of small and medium enterprises to go global as now they can reach out to international buyers without any hassle. Take for example Delhi based Lowell Designer Craft, which trades in handicrafts. Its owners always had an innate desire to reach out globally. Thus, in this regard they participated in many exhibitions and trade shows but this was a costly ordeal for a company of their size. It was then that Alibaba came to their rescue and today it has buyers from as far as Brazil, USA and Middle East. Due to the presence of Alibaba such success stories like that of Lowell Designer Crafts are abound. Taking a step forward Alibaba along and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to help promote Indian SME’s and get better trade relations between Indian and Chinese SME’s. Together they would be providing training for SME’s across various industry clusters.Further they would provide a platform for online promotion of SME’s that would give them access to international markets. Alibaba also plans to run its  e-certificates programmes in India through CII which can enable the SME’s to know the markets better and get better acquainted with new concepts in various fields like marketing, finance and human resources. “This can help Indian SMEs build brand image at B2B and B2C levels, leading to increased trust, confidence and business engagement.” said Mr. Madhav Sharma, CII Shanghai’s chief representative on this signing of MOU with Alibaba.

Further to provide impetus to the burgeoning SME’s in India Alibaba regularly organises business circles at various different cities across India. Its chief aim through these circles is to acquaint the SME’s regarding various trends in the global trade environment and how they could leverage the power of online e-commerce to further their businesses. For example in December 2014, they organised the Alibaba Business Circle in Surat where they targeted SME’s in the diamond and textile cluster. Recognizing the fact that Indian SME’s have a huge potential Alibaba has opened gold supplier membership for Indian SME’s as well. Gold Supplier International Edition is the highest membership that it has which can provide Indian SME’s a greater access to international buyers worldwide. Companies qualifying for this membership will get first priority listing with the gold mark which would build trust among buyers regarding that company. As we know that today the power of connectivity more importantly internet has brought about a revolution around the globe and the same story follows in India as well. Thus to give a boast to those budding entrepreneurs who have ventured in the online market, Alibaba sponsored a new category of e-commerce, in the Emerging India Awards 2009. Thus, it gives us immense pleasure to have as our digital partner in this journey, who has been vehemently working for the betterment of the SME’s from its inception.

Monday 25 May 2015

The journey of Coimbatore

The lush green grasses moved about swiftly as the fresh cold winds softly touched it by. The large windmills moved about round and forth with its momentum increasing along with the passing of the cold breeze. The air emanated a freshness which made our spirits anew. Thus with a renewed vigour we entered the city of Coimbatore. The two days at Coimbatore was indeed power packed in concurrence with the entrepreneurial zest of Coimbatore.

The first stint at Coimbatore began  at Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore. This interactive session saw the active participation of all and it was heartening to see many a young people among the participants. While our major deliberations were in the area of international market access and innovative approaches to Make in India many an interesting questions were asked and answered.As Coimbatore is emerging as a major manufacturing hub to give further impetus to this and to ensure that it outreaches to a greater audience Mentor on Road suggested that these companies should open offices overseas. These offices can then operate mainly for marketing purposes which will provide it a global access. The opportunities present today in the online sphere and the ways one can harness and leverage it for one's advantage were also discussed.

The next destination for us was the Gujarati Samaj of Coimbatore. The air of the room had a certain air of enthusiasm and bubbling energy level as there were a lot of youngsters among the participants. There were many an inspiring stories here like we had young boy of 17 who at the age of 14 had started an online grocery store and today his venture had become very successful. With this story we inspired many other youngsters who were about to take the reins of their family business as to how they could take their businesses online and leverage the benefits that it offers. “Reside in any part of the country or world but make sure to know perfectly your mother language” was a message that Mentor on Road gave the youngsters present there.

Post this interactive session our next pitstop was a session with the members of Business Network India (BNI) Coimbatore and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Ladies Organisation ( FICCI FLO). “The empowered women is powerful beyond measure and beautiful beyond description” this was vibe that was felt in the room as we interacted with women entrepreneurs who all had a passion which was almost contagious. The session saw a active Q&A session where many a pertinent questions were raised and answered. The importance of going online to upscale ones business was again highlighted here.

As the sky turned a crimson red heralding the end of the day,Mentor on Road continued their journey as we next moved to meet the members of Entrepreneurs organisation  (EO). EO is an elite organization which invites entrepreneurs whose business turnover is more than 100 crores. Further when we learnt that it was after a long time that all 25 members of EO, Coimbatore were present together to attend a session we were very humbled by the kind gesture.  The spirit of the room was truly one of enthusiasm and passion which seemed to reverberate from the souls of these entrepreneurs. The spirit of innovation which is a must for India to carve a niche, was rampant in the conference room for example imagine a scenario you enter an educational institution and you don’t know which way the office is. You look around, but there is not a soul to be seen. As you sweat under the sun and open your mobile phone to check GPS, SNAP!!! your mobile battery is dead. Argh!!! a nasty situation ain’t it, but then there is a robot staring at you in the entrance. You come near it and ask him the way to the office and it replies back to you in its robotic voice the complete direction. Now how cool is that. Now why am i telling you this story, well we met such a entrepreneur who has been importing robots from France. These robots are used in hotels, educational institutions, hospitals etc. Now, seeing the lucrative business this offers he is now planning to start manufacturing some components which is required for manufacturing these robots. As the evening matured many such interesting tales and business opportunities were discussed and heard.

The Robots
Thus, with this our journey at Coimbatore came to an end. Coimbatore taught us many lessons, the spirit of innovation and vast business opportunities present today being some of them. Thus with this learnings and dissemination of knowledge Mentor on Road carried the journey forward.   

Friday 22 May 2015

Meet at Athens of the East - Madurai

As the sound of the temple bells resonated in the air from the midst of Madurai, the holy Meenakshi temple it woke us up from our siesta and reminded us of the eventful day ahead. Thus sipping the hot cup of filter coffee we made our way towards our first destination Sourashtra Chamber of Commerce. Madurai saw the migration of a large number of people from Gujarat particularly from Saurashtra region way back in 16th century. From that time onwards they have build a strong foothold for themselves in the business ecosystem of Madurai.  In the interactive session we learnt that the majority of them were involved in trading so we suggested to them that to further their business they should get into manufacturing of products that they trade. This suggestion seemed to get the consensus of all present. We further learnt that they are organising Sourashtra Industry and Trade Conference ( SITCON ) 2015 where they will be organising conferences and seminars and meeting with entrepreneurs, ministers etc. So we promised to give them support in this and get participation from other countries as well. On the same grounds we suggested them that they should conduct Vibrant Madurai next year and we would provide them unending support in this. Thus, the meet here was extremely fruitful and it charged us with energy to continue our journey forward

Our next stop was the meet organised by Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association (MADISTA) and Nativelead Foundation which is an incubation center for budding entrepreneurs.  The main topic for discussion was International Market Access and Innovative Approaches to Make in India. The meet had an air of innovation as many an innovative ideas were discussed. We all have heard about organic vegetables, pulses but have we heard about ORGANIC EGGS!! Nativelead had successfully incubated this company by the name Happy Hens which was started by Mr Ashok Kannan, the founder & Manjunath in a one acre land at Kottampatti Village near Madurai. They have kept hens whom they feed natural feed so the eggs are of a good quality. These eggs are today sold in tier I cities and they retail at a premium price. Hearing such success stories made us inspired and gave us hope for a glistening future which our country has in the near future in the hands of such budding entrepreneurs.
The last pit stop for us was Shree Madura Gujarati Samaj. Here as the interactive session proceeded we learnt that the majority of Gujaratis staying in Madurai were involved in trading. Thus, we suggested them that they should get involved in manufacturing as well. Further as we know today the majority of ecommerce sites use the technology and software of India thus we suggested them that we should leverage this potential that India offers and most of us should take our business online.
Thus, as the evening prayers reverberated in the air, with much hopes and a dream for a better tomorrow we proceeded to Coimbatore - Manchester of South India.

Thursday 21 May 2015

Coimbatore- Manchester of South India

The Western Ghats mountain range stands like a crown on its head, as the Noyyal rivers flows past it swiftly, the cool wind passes through the Palghat gap and brings an air of coolness all around. The birds chirp  out loud as the loud noise of the sloth bear emerges from the deep green forest. The air here exudes with a freshness that touches one's soul. Such is the city of Coimbatore in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Coimbatore is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu after Chennai and is also known as Kovai. Coimbatore boasts of a pleasant climate majorly because of the thick green forest cover in it. The forest of Coimbatore are abound in sandalwood, bamboo and rosewood and also have a huge fauna present in many of its wildlife reserves.Like the sweet sound of the birds, music is lies in the soul of Coimbatore as a music festival is held every year. If one wants to enjoy the the silent sound of spirituality then Coimbatore forms the perfect place as there are  number of religious shrines present in the city. As one walks down its streets one can hear the rustling sound of oil on the pans, as a ladle of rice paste spreads on the pan, and the smell of warm hot dosa wafts in the air.Coimbatore today is fast emerging as an education hub in south India as it is home to many research institutes, universities and engineering colleges which makes it a perfect city for us to develop academic institution and industry relation.

If there is one word that Coimbatore is synonymous to that is entrepreneurship. Coimbatore has the presence of more than 25000 small and medium size enterprises present here. A majority of these companies operate in the field of engineering and manufacturing. Automotive component manufacturing is today a major part of the economy of Coimbatore as the major automobile companies source a majority of components from here. Manchester of the South India this is the title by which Coimbatore is famous all around as the textile industry is very important and has been contributing to its economy from 1920. Other than that today Coimbatore is ranked 17th in the global outsourcing cities as it is the second largest software producer in Tamil Nadu after Chennai. Today Coimbatore is on the forefront of becoming one of the most developed cities in India, as it was ranked 4th in cities for conducive climate for investment by CII and was ranked as the best emerging city in India in the 2014 annual Indian city survey by India Today.
Thus, to be a part of this growth story of one of the fastest emerging city Coimbatore, we come to this city to learn,mentor and provide encouragement to the entrepreneurial city of Coimbatore.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Madurai- The City of Temples

Basking in the banks of the river Vaigai with the labyrinthine structure of Meenakshi temple towering high stands the city of temples Madurai in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is often said that the real soul of Tamil Nadu lies here as Madurai has always been an agglomeration of many Tamil scholars and also it is the main center for tamil art, culture,dance and literature. Thoonga Nagaram or the city that never sleeps is the name by which Madurai is popular as Madurai has a very active night life. As the holy elephant decked up in glory comes out with a procession of people vehemently worshipping god the whole city seems to come alive.Madurai forms a perfect example of the diversity that our nation offers as when one takes a stroll down its streets one can hear a mix of languages like Tamil, Saurashtrian and Madurai Tamil. Today Madurai forms a glaring example of a place where there is an amalgamation of history and culture with modernity. A typical morning in Madurai involves people all suited up in their formal attire paying their homages in the many temples abound here and then proceed to the many IT parks situated here. Madurai is the perfect place where spirituality meets technology, where one can get a tryst with history and the modern times in the same plate.

Blessed by the fertile land near river Vaigai, Madurai has generally been an agrarian economy with rice paddy and cotton being the major crops. One can get an idea of the enterprising nature of the people of Madurai as many farmers here are supplementing their income by involving in various other ancillary occupations like dairy farming, poultry farming, pottery, mat weaving and carpentry. The jasmine plantation is also very popular and is today contributing to the economy of Madurai. The rubber industry is another important cluster in Madurai and many companies producing a host of rubber products like tyres, mats, automobile rubber components are present here like TVS Srichakra, Sundaram Industries, Fenner India, Hi-Tech Arai Ltd and Lanxess India. The TVS Group which is one of the biggest motorcycle manufacturer is also based here. The presence of these stalwarts of organisation has further build a base for many small companies producing ancillary products to come up which has boasted the economy of Madurai greatly. Today Madurai is fast evolving as a second tier Information Technology hub and many IT Special Economic Zones are being set up here. The other facet of Madurai that is making its business ecosystem very fertile is the growing number of Small Scale Industries.  

Thus, with an aim to enthuse, mentor and learn we next come to the city that never sleeps Madurai!!!!