Sunday, June 14, 2009


Who said one needs education to become a successful entrepreneur in this country? No less a person than Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav, former Railway Minister, GOI is a standing testimony to the reality that higher education is not a must for any entrepreneur to understand and successfully run an enterprise. If thousands of entrepreneurs, even without having formal education, have made a mark for themselves in business, it must be due to their instinct for doing right things for making money in a fiercely competitive market environment in the country. Some believe that business sense is an inherited trait and the atmosphere in which the children grow enable them to refine what their parents do vis-a-vis business. Marwaris of Rajasthan provide a classical example of entrepreneurship and without exception this community contributes many enterprising business men, most of them covering themselves with glory in their chosen fields. Of course their propensity to work hard almost 24 hours a day and acute sense of understanding what market wants make them a formidable entrepreneurial community. Of course there are many other similar examples in a vast country like India where opportunities are plenty and all it takes to tap this potential is enterprising spirit and will to work hard.

Vendors on the streets in many parts of the country are common sight these days and their population is increasing because of soaring real estate cost that makes it impossible for small entrepreneurs and business people to venture into any worthwhile enterprise in the organized sector. In many urban areas like towns and metropolitan regions, street vendors do good business dealing with food and beverages and many consumer goods which are in demand. The woolen apparel business on the road sides of Mysore city run by Tibetan settlers and many others peddling wares like handicraft materials, dress materials, furniture, crockeries etc are all part of the landscape in many towns. Food vendors normally take to the street by evenings and their population is considerable in any town, offering chaat foods and other quick serving foods. They all operate from certain locations 'usurped' by them and regular customers are familiar with them and their where abouts. The omnipotent sugar cane juice vendor typically operates during day time, especially during summer season and tender coconut vending is increasingly being noticed from several locations. The push cart model is popular with tender coconut which gives them mobility to operate in a 1-2 km radius.

New star in this category is the fresh juice vendor who has become conspicuous by his presence all over the town offering fresh and pure juice, prepared in front of the customer from fruits like mosambi, orange and pineapple during the season at a reasonable price of Rs 10 per glass. Juice vendor fulfills a task that nutritionists preach regarding the imperatives of consuming fresh fruits along with vegetables for a healthy life. The market products, most of them being fruit drinks containing only10-20% original juice are sugar rich, considered to be not much healthy compared to the fresh juice peddled by the omnipotent juice vendor across the street. Imagine how a migrant person coming from far away places like UP, Bihar etc can run an enterprise in an environment totally alien to him with hostile locals and police always causing pin pricks!

The paraphernalia that make up his enterprise include a 4 wheeler push cart, a manually operated juice extractor, a bucket for collecting waste, a mug to collect the juice, a bottle of sugar, salt and pepper mix, stored water in a container and glasses or disposable plastic cups. The push cart is taken on a daily rent of Rs 15 while all other items are owned by the entrepreneur himself. There are 15-30 such persons coming from far off places in UP (mostly), rent out some staying facility, set out each morning to organize their operations from different vantage points on some of the important roads, do business worth about Rs 500-1000 a day out of which net profit could be about Rs 150-300 and return in the evenings. Generally they do not do business in the nights. During rainy season they temporarily close their business, lock up their tools in their rooms, leave for their native place and return later after the rains to resume their business. A remarkable phenomenon indeed, looked from any angle!

May the tribes like these juice vendors flourish well, providing a valuable service to the local community by popularizing the habit of consuming fresh juice in stead of the sweetened flavored drinks offered by the organized markets. It is good for the entrepreneur, good for the consumer and good for the country at large!


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