Desi boy’s startup venture wins accolades in videsh
A teacher at the age of 10, a dropout at 18, an innovator by birth and an entrepreneur by profession – quite a handful isn’t it? But there are more than mere sobriquets in this story! Born in Chakaori Bigha village of Gaya, Ranjan Mistry’s story is about becoming the change he wants to see.
If you are looking for inspiration, this tale of a desi boy who emerged from struggle, with sheer willpower to gain recognition in videsh, is just the thing for you. In an exclusive chat with Baishali Mukherjee, Mistry shares his entrepreneurial journey.
My training in business ideology began at an early age as my father is a small-scale businessman dealing with furniture. From being expelled out of school due to non-payment of fees to topping the 12th board, I have long been dealing with the vagaries of life. To continue studies I started teaching when I was in class VI initiated by my first innovation. While helping my student in a project on environmental issues I thought of breaking conventions, doing things differently and designing something new. The concept of PlaNt4Bihar germinated as I designed the project on the chart paper.
This was followed by the campaign Plant4Bihar on the occasion of Diwali, where, with the help of some friends, we motivated people to plant trees. We partnered with local nurseries and the campaign saw huge selling of saplings. Finally, it was on October, 2016 that I decided to take this program as an initiative or a startup with the help of Vipul Sharan, a friend and the co-founder of my first startup ‘Plant Eco Circle’ which targets environmental and educational impact.
The ASER report shows that there is a dire need to improve the quality of education in Bihar and to address this gap I started ‘Plant Eco Circle’ which functions through three platforms- Vrich; Aadhyan & Teach2Learn Program.
Under VRICH, we aim to plant more trees across the city with the help of youth for Green Patna. We have initiated various projects like ‘The City of Thousand Banyan Tree;’ ‘The City of Thousand Peepal Tree;’ ‘The City of Thousand Neem Tree;’ and Plant4Bihar which are funded through crowd sourcing by accessing various Online Platforms.
Aadhayan, organises programs and boot camps in schools and colleges to directly involve the students with nature. We invite speakers to discuss the issues of environment and nature and provide internship for the participants to work in the field of environment. Activities like PlaNtenuer Event, Enviprenuer, EcoPrenuer encourage students to take part in and be aware of the environmental issues.
Teach2Learn Program provides quality education to the underprivileged students and under-resourced schools with the help of brightest and most promising youth of the nation. After starting Plant Eco Circle, we felt compelled to address the issue of educational inequity. The answer was a youth led movement providing every child with an excellent education. Teach2Learn is a one-year fellowship program for the brightest and most promising youth, from the nation's best universities and workplaces, to serve as part-time teachers to children from low-income communities in some of the most under-resourced schools of Bihar.
I have also initiated a start-up incubation centre, StartupCity, where more than 17 start-ups work and help each other to grow. We do not provide financial support but are facilitating a larger entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bihar, as entrepreneurship in Bihar has largely remained centric to Patna. We plan to introduce private enterprises in villages focusing on sectors like food security, crafts and other rural products. Through my project #EntrepreneurshipInMyVillage, I visit my village once in a month and introduce the idea of entrepreneurship to the students there.
My entrepreneurial ventures have gained recognition at multiple platforms including selection at Dexschool (Dexterity Global, USA) in the list of top 40 students across seven countries, with full scholarship for Entrepreneurship & Leadership programme. I also got selected for Young India Challenge by Human Circle in Delhi, where networking helped me significantly in building my startup. Though I had to part with my bicycle and lent some money from my friends to attend YIC, when I came back I was armed with a host of well-wishers who have been instrumental in making my journey as an entrepreneur, successful.
And if things go well and I can arrange the Rs 50K deposition sum, I will soon be in the US to be a part of LeanGap, Boston, with a scholarship of Rs 3.5 lakh for a six-week entrepreneurial course.
Does it take a special entrepreneurial DNA to put aside everything and start your own enterprise? Please put in your comments.