An old Chinese proverb says “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still”. Meet this twenty-four year old Social Entrepreneurship student who has a similar life philosophy. Sugreeva Tangade, 24, from Raybag Taluk, Belgaum district is a budding entrepreneur manufacturing CFL bulbs. He has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical engineering and at present is pursuing his Master of Social Entrepreneurship from Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Hubli.
Born in a business family, Tangade says, “I was always interested to setup my own business. That is one of the reasons why I chose a post graduate course in Social Entrepreneurship.” Tangade’s family is involved in the production of jaggery with an annual turnover crossing few crore of rupees. He also says, “My family never really forced me to get into family business. They have given me freedom in chasing my dreams”.
During his undergrad studies, Tangade was an active member of youth movement called LEAD and was involved in community projects. He says, “One of my projects was to introduce bus facility between Chikodi and Sankeshwara. I had an opportunity to talk to the Tahasildar and other prominent government officials in making this happen. It opened me up to the needs of developmental sector.”
“Upon completing my B.E., I wanted to have a degree in business management. When I came across, Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship’s Master of Social Entrepreneurship (MSE), I was delighted! Unlike a theory oriented regular MBA program, MSE offered me a chance to try entrepreneurship first hand. With its wide network of partner organizations and incubation center, MSE program gave me all the necessary resources and skills to be an entrepreneur”, says Tangade.
Tangade took training in manufacturing CFL bulbs and is already produced over 200 bulbs. His primary target is local households and shops in the rural areas. He says, “My market research gave me insights that there is over 60% gap in supply and demand of CFL bulbs. Most companies target only urban and semi-urban areas. Owing to the high prices, rural households look for cheap alternatives. That is where I saw an opportunity! A branded CFL bulb of 10W would cost anywhere between Rs. 130 – Rs. 150, where as I sell the same at Rs. 80. Not to boast, but I have already sold over 95% of the bulbs that I have manufactured!
When asked whether a master’s program in Entrepreneurship helped, he says, “Yes, definitely! Learning Economics, Marketing from an entrepreneurial perspective has its perks! Grant proposal and business plan writing and Logical frame analysis are the other two subjects which helped me a lot! Even though my family can easily invest in my business, I did not take a single rupee from them. I raised money from other investors! My hostel warden, Mr. Laxmikanth Naregal provided me with the seed funding of Rs. 48,000. Had I not learnt this in my course, I might never have set this venture up independently! “
Speaking about his future plans, he says, “My CFL production line targets rural customers and by the year end or early next year, I want to get into LED bulb manufacturing. Once it gets started, I want to increase my market reach by targeting urban market as well. My mentor from Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Mr. Naveen Jha, has taught me multitasking and not to have fear of failure or feel stuck, move on! Even if I am able to do half the work that he does, I will achieve a lot!”
When asked is there a guiding philosophy in his life, Tangade says, Siddeshwara Swamiji once told, “Badhe log hamesha Badhe badhe hi sochte hain”. He adds, “This is what drives me ahead, thinking big… ideas, thoughts and action”. Sugreeva Tangade, at present is in his fourth semester of Master of Social Entrepreneurship program from Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Hubli.
The course is affiliated to Karnatak University and admissions are now open for the third batch. For more details visit www.detmse.com