Yesterday I was at Srinivasa Institute of Engineering and Tech, Chennai for the inaugural of their Innovation Cell. In my keynote, I told them a few stories they can relate to, stories of other student innovators from innovation cells I was involved in.
After the ceremony, we (about four of us who spoke) got a chance to meet the Chairman Mr. Kanagaraj. He told us a story of his early entrepreneurship attempts. I am going to retell the story in my own words, slightly differently.
In 1950, I used to receive half an anna per week as allowance ( in today’s terms, it is about 3 paisa). I used to accumulate it for a couple of weeks, buy a packet of ‘kadale mittai’ (a cake made out of ground nuts and jaggery) and sell pieces to my friends. His profit? About 10-15%.
He said he was from a village and did not know much. But he went on to get his MA, M.Phil, started a school with just 37 students and now runs about 23 institutions.
I have heard of similar stories. All you have to do is to read the book Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. It has countless stories of his early attempts of entrepreneurship.
So what makes entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs? How do they pick up this trait early in life?
I concluded that going around giving talks is a great way to meet some very interesting people and hear some great (real life) and inspiring stories.
In early 50’s we had a British system. A rupee was divided into 4 quarter-annas and each quarter-anna was divided into 4 annas. Around 1955, India switched to decimal (100 paise per rupee). So an anna was roughly equivalent to 6 paisa.