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Top 10 Entrepreneurs of 2010

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Oviya Govindan:

Entrepreneurs are those people who take up an idea, not necessarily path breaking by nature, and make it a success by turning the idea into a vision. One that they passionately believe in and boldly take risks undaunted. Definitions are always incomplete. In a way entrepreneurs can be defined likewise too. They refuse to remain within rigid boundaries of stagnant careers and opportunity bucket of the time. They create their own opportunities and rise above. In India, recently there has been a sudden upsurge in the number of startups. Quite a few of them have become huge successes and market leaders. Here are a few:

  1. Flipkart, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal: Flip kart which stands for ‘flipping things onto your kart’ is the largest online bookstore in India with a listing of about 4 million users. And not without reason. The prices are unbelievable! Books are offered at wonderful discounts – where else would you get the whole Lord of the Rings series for just over 600 Rupees? And the shipping is free, not to mention. They manage all this by efficiently tying up with the postal services and local book dealers across the country. The site is a book lover’s paradise and the simple, user friendly nature of the website has made it an instant hit. Currently nominated for the prestigious Ernst and Young Award for the best entrepreneur, Flip kart is one success story. Inspired? Go kart!
  2. Ajay Nahar, Kuldeep Dabauriya, Amit Rawat and Nirmal Kannan, Another periodical. Its highly researched and analytical write ups span diverse topics such as society, science, entrepreneurship and so on. Sigh. ‘Still just another periodical’, you say? Think again. What sets it apart from other magazines is that its content is put up on the site and people rate and comment on it on the forum. The article that has best reviews, and is highly popular is selected to be printed. That’s why they call themselves the “The Planet’s first democratic magazine”. Connecting the web to print media since January 2010, they have 28,000 members already and a readership of about 5000 in corporate houses, business schools, and engineering colleges. Quitting 9-to-5 jobs never got more exciting.
  3. Satish Babu, Univercell: Univercell is a brand that’s in the face of the Indian customer thanks to targeted advertisements and marketing. Started by Satish Babu in the year 2000, aimed at providing customers a chance to make highly informed and comfortable choices in buying mobiles, this is no doubt a success story. With a customer base of 10 million, a dedicated workforce, it has grown as India’s biggest mobile retailer. Having acquired the ISO 9000-2001 certification, he has built a brand that prides itself on being customer-oriented than profit-oriented and on never having fired a single employee so far! Starting in a time when most mobiles were sold on grey markets, Satish Babu had the passion to create a market where there seemed none. And that has made all the difference!
  4. Murugavel Janakiraman, Bharat Matrimonial: A young programmer created a niche market of online matrimony services targeted at the young I.T Indian professionals who were abroad, but wanted to have a say in their marriages (even though arranged). Thirteen years since their inception, the site has come a long way to enter the Limca book of Records for highest number of documented marriages. Like any good startup they have also expanded services through innovation to include Ability matrimony for people with special needs, privileged matrimony and so on. Who ever thought matchmaking could be a 2 Crore customer market?
  5. Divyank Turakhia, Directi group: A young tech junkie, Divyank started freelance internet consulting for corporates at the age of 14! At the age of 16 he co-founded the Directi Group with a $300 investment with brother, and co-founder Bhavin – a successful entrepreneur himself. At 18 his net worth is about $1 million, thanks to his company’s stupendous rise in its “idea enterprise” of selling indigenous, creative backend software services including domain registering. Now focusing on Skenzo his domain monetization company full time, he has caught the attention of business giants at the global level. They fear that this “kid” is just warming up!!
  6. Devita Saraf, Vu Technologies: Young, dynamic and creative this youngster inherited her father’s Zenith Computers and became CEO at just 22. Known as a “gadget fixer” to her friends, this vivacious entrepreneur created Vu Technologies with a concept of luxury electronics. Technology has changed lives; her idea is that it deserves the status of a lifestyle product that can even be fun. Competing with the likes of Sony, Samsung and LG in selling electronic consumer durables, she offers a grand vision that appeals to the “have it-will flaunt it” generation.
  7. Vijay Shekar Sharma, One97: The youngest graduate from Delhi University, this young, dynamic man is credited with putting together the most entrepreneurial, incisive leadership team in the telecom industry. One97 has revolutionized telecom industry throughout the nation with its Mobil value added services. At a turnover of 7 crore in 2005, they continue to dominate the telecom scenario with constant innovation.
  8. Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Starting a company after quitting from a safe job at HMM, Info edge was a startup whose product was simply – information. Information is wealth has been taken to a whole new level by combining this fact with the perennial search for jobs and opportunities in a country like ours. began as a database for salary details of different job opportunities and has become the best online job portal with companies investing heavily in the startup. It has most importantly, become a reliable tool for job hunters to access information and create opportunities for themselves.
  9. Suhas Gopinath, Globals Inc: One of the world’s youngest CEO Suhas launched his startup, Globals Inc at the age of 14! With an aim of providing web based and software based solutions besides making websites for corporates, advertisers and educational institutions. All this he does at low pricing like Rs.200 to Rs.300 per website. Buoyed by a team of teenagers, the firm has scaled heights with firms approaching them for outsourcing their projects.
  10. Saumil Majumdar, Edusports: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, is an oft repeated proverb. But in India people seldom deign to pay attention to it. This startup aims to tackle this limitation and create a structured plan for physical education in schools. Sports can teach a million lessons and this company undertakes this mission. Thirty five schools, fifteen cities, 30,000 children, this is just the beginning but the company has been much talked about and has garnered attention already.

Stories like these reiterate the belief that we too can achieve great things. We understand, the journey was never easy, but success is not magical. We can achieve it too with grit, courage and passion.

Have more to add to the list? Do comment in the box below.

image: [Satish Babu of Univercell]

You must be to comment.

    Three words to describe this piece : JOB WELL DONE!
    The most exciting feature is inclusion of unknown names(atleast I wasn’t aware about them). My favorite–Suhas!

  2. RememME (RememME) Featured among Top 10 Entrepreneurs of 2010 :

  3. Anirudh

    Excellent piece,very inspiring….!

  4. Alex Monroe

    Great list of entrepreneurs! I love learning about new entrepreneurs everyday, so this is awesome!

  5. Guha Rajan

    I believe Sarath Kumar of Food king is missed out…

    1. YouthKiAwaaz

      @Guha: Hey Guha, Thanks, would be great if you could add some info about Mr. Kumar 😀 We would all love to read… Thanks a lot for the suggestion.

  6. Guha Rajan

    Hello Youth Ki Awaaz,

    Take a look – which I found in web

    In fact he contested 2009 Loksabha poll from South Chennai, unfortunately was not

  7. Santosh Shrivastava

    9 out of 10 entrepreneurs have took the IT way. Looks like you can’t be an entrepreneur if you are not an IT whizkid.

  8. Sudhir Nama

    Gr8 job…

  9. saurabh

    you didn’t mention your vision and mission

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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