What motivated E. Sarath Babu, an IIM-A graduate, to refuse plum job offers and become an entrepreneur, was that over 75 per cent of India's population was living on less than US $2 a day and over 80 per cent of the nation's wealth was with just two percentage of the population.
“This way,” he told a gathering of college students and businessmen here on Friday, “I am providing employment to others and helping them uplift their families.”
Narrating his story, he said that he started off his venture in the food industry four years ago with a capital of Rs.2,000 and his first order was worth only Rs.700. Humility was the most important quality, he said, adding that this order gave him an experience and he built on it.
Now, he is the CEO of Food King catering services inaugurated by none other than the chief mentor of Infosys N.R. Narayanamurthy. From that start, he moved on to supply companies and educational institutions and eventually turned it into a company with an annual turnover of Rs. 9 crore. He is going to start his own restaurant shortly with plans for ten more.
“It is important to start with low overheads and that's why I did not go for a restaurant initially despite deciding in my final-year at IIM that I would take to food industry. The confidence to start my own venture came from managing students during a college project.”
Branding was very important and youngsters should try to offset the violent negative image of Madurai with a positive image. It was easier these days due to the availability of social networking websites. He also called for starting entrepreneurship cells in all colleges.
Recollecting his school days when he studied under kerosene lamps, Mr. Sarath Babu, also a student of the prestigious BITS Pilani, said that inheritance was not the only way for entrepreneurship.
“Common sense and knowledge are important while education is a necessity. It is also vital to start off slowly and from a low point and then make it gradually to the high ground.”
He was addressing a ‘CEO Connect Session' organised by the Madurai Zone of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). R. Rajamohan, convenor, MSME Panel, CII Madurai Zone, Arun Arunachlam, Learning Session, Young Indians Madurai Chapter, spoke.