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Entrepreneurial intuition sparked off by ‘food king'

Staff Reporter
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IIM graduate E.Sarath Babu recounts story of making it big

attentive: Students listen to E. Sarath Babu, (not in picture), Founder and CEO, Food King, at the Shivani Engineering College in Tiruchi on Wednesday. – Photo: R. Ashok
attentive: Students listen to E. Sarath Babu, (not in picture), Founder and CEO, Food King, at the Shivani Engineering College in Tiruchi on Wednesday. – Photo: R. Ashok

What is entrepreneurship? Who are successful entrepreneurs? Why entrepreneurship? How can success be defined?

Students of Shivani group of institutions could assimilate answers to these questions and many more with ease, after a lengthy interaction with E. Sarath Babu, Founder and CEO, Food King, who, from the stressful situation of skipping breakfast almost every day and wearing worn-out uniforms due to acute poverty while at school has transformed into a successful entrepreneur with an annual turnover of Rs. 7 crore.

His initial investment was just Rs. 2,000.

Narrating the travails he had to overcome before completing his schooling, and higher education in institutions of national acclaim – graduation in BITS Pilani, and post-graduation in IIM-Ahmedabad – Mr. Sarath Babu took pride in answering the questions in the presence of his role model mother Deepa Ramani, who fought poverty by selling idlies in the morning, worked under the mid-day meal scheme and taught in the adult education programme in the evenings to bring him up along with his two elder sisters and two younger brothers at a slum in Chennai.

“My aspiration for recognition was fulfilled once I identified my academic excellence at school while in second standard. There was no looking back since then,” he said, urging students from rural background and economic backwardness to build entrepreneurial instincts on their natural strengths of will power and readiness to surmount problems.

By expanding the culture of entrepreneurship, an impact could be created in the lives of multitudes of families, Mr. SarathBabu emphasised, explaining why entrepreneurship must take precedence over the monotony of settled life that salaried jobs provide.

Educational institutions were where the transition must take place through acquisition of knowledge.

With a sense of self-esteem, set benchmarks constantly to keep excelling in entrepreneurial ventures, he said after inaugurating the Entrepreneurship Development Cell and S. Senthilkumar Incubation Centre.

Mr. SarathBabu said that operations of Food King would be expanded phenomenally to make the company reach the numero uno position in a matter of two to three decades.

Presiding over, the Chairman of Shivani group of institutions, P. Selvaraj said that a business venture warrants courage and hard work for success, and advocated employment generation by students rather than setting thoughts on placements in salaried jobs. E. Ramasaamy and M. Velavan, Directors of the institutions; S. Vigneswaran, Secretary; Ganesan Shanthi, Principal, Shivani Engineering College; R. Rajendran, Registrar; and J. Sivasubramanian, Co-ordinator, Entrepreneurship Development Cell, spoke.

Attributes success to his mother who worked in three jobs to educate him

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