Sunday, May 13, 2012

Indigenous Ingenuity and Enterprise

Sometime ago when I was in Coimbatore to teach Retail Management, I stepped out of the campus at the end of the day to see a curious sight.

A young man was selling some kind of a paste to the lower income houses on the street from a tricycle. I walked closer and realised that he was vending the ubiquitous dosa/ idly batter. One end of this value added product is what many people would have seen in supermarkets in the form of this batter being sold in plastic pouches. Being vended in loose from barrels was something new.

This youngster whose name is Mr. Thirunavakarasu is a hotel management graduate and has hit upon this simple and effective idea to fulfil an existing customer need. He makes the batter and sells it at the rate of Rs. 10 per mug (Yes, he sells it by the mug, a plastic mug). His customers typically buy 1 or 2 mugs of batter which he says is just right for the night time family meal.
I was thrilled to have met this enterprising youngster and want to share this story with all of you to drive home 2 points –
  1. As mentioned in my earlier posts, I am fascinated by Retail’s mobile delivery model and unfortunately not many in India have realised it’s enormous potential. India has the highest density of retail penetration and given the current urban landscape, mobile delivery is a simple and very effective route to increase any Retailer’s market penetration. It is definitely not easy and as is the case with India, one needs to think hard and in detail to be able to come up with a viable model. The fact remains that this is a huge, huge opportunity waiting to be tapped. Already there exists proof of the potential in terms of ice cream vendors, hawkers, etc. When will someone put some method to this madness and leverage this opportunity?
  2. The second perspective is related to my new book “Out Of Syllabus”. The core message of the book is to pursue one’s interest and passion and not get fixated on designations, salaries, etc. This young person is a shining example of how one can take education to a practical and logical implementation towards enabling a career instead of thinking that a degree is an automatic ticket to a well paying job. I do hope that this story and the inputs from “Out Of Syllabus” helps bring about a paradigm shift with regard to education and career in the minds of young adults.