Rural India is a fascinating market to operate in, not only is the market challenging and rewarding but the countryside and the spirit of its people are refreshing. Recently we visited Kora, a silent village with a population of mere 200 people. Away from the bustling daily life, Kora is located in Tumkur District, northwest of Bangalore in Karnataka. As we turned into a narrow lane next to the highway, a kaccha road leads us into a single lane surrounded by green fields on both sides. Houses scattered across a large area, with sunflowers and coconut trees made for a lovely landscape.
The 1Bridge Associate (1BA) here is a talented man who is just 29 years old, and is one of the most successful entrepreneurs at 1 Bridge, Vinay.
Entrepreneurial journeys of all our associates are enticing, you see, at 21 Vinay was able to identify a market niche which wasn’t catered for in the area: Stationery. He did so without any training or experience; he used his savings from newspaper distribution to open a stationery shop on the outskirts of the village.
1Bridge identified him in Tumkur and decided to onboard him in 2016. However, Vinay was a tough nut to crack, he was apprehensive about the technology, its intricacies, and the payment system. His commitment to his consumers was evident in his questions.
He was extremely thorough, he said, “Money is a big thing in our village, the people trust me, I want to deliver their money’s worth. Here we don’t have a lot of information and that’s why a lot of people have lost a lot of money which they thought was for comfort but ended in a scam”
After training and a scrutinizing q&a, we were successful in onboarding Vinay as our entrepreneur for Kora. Once he understood the scope of the services, he shut shop in his village and moved closer to the main Tumkur highway, while remaining a mobile resource for his village. He has vision – he figured that if he moves to a more accessible place, the shop would become the hub for PAN card services, online purchasing, MiniATM, and digital services for at least 4-5 villages around the highway. He added a Xerox machine to make his shop a one-stop-shop for all documents and digital requirements.
“Vinay spoke to me about opening a bank account, he knows how everything works, so I ask him for advice. I haven’t ever used a touchscreen phone, but I now know the things we can do with technology are boundless”
Geeta, owner of a chai shop opposite Vinay’s shop
At 29, Vinay has been able to expand his business on his merit, handwork and astute perspective. In fact he has been principle to our market insights at 1Bridge, for example he advocated for an ATM system based on feedback and consumer insight. He shares a tight friendship with his regular consumers, so much so that and makes it a point to ask them about other services they might need which would ease their lives in remote areas. Moreover, he has taken the young son of his landlord under his wing to mentor, they observe him while he goes about his business and learns how he conducts himself while expanding his network and onboarding.
His modest and unstoppable spirit have earned him a promotion, Vinay now overlooks the BA’s in his districts. We believe that his attitude will teach the youth who work under him the personal life of a business.
In our journey to build a broad network, we emphasize on the overall development of our entrepreneur, by providing them with better opportunities and training to grab those. We want to provide role-models to the rural youth who encourage them to think out of the box and evolve their perspective of success.